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the flight from JFK to Dublin is 6 hours and 30 mins, while the flight from JFK to Barcelona on Air Europa is 6 hours and 50 mins, so there isn't that much difference in time.

Aw, time I should drink the coffee before reading flight times, instead of after.

It looks like they have a very limited long haul aircraft capacity (4 A330) and a pretty aggressive long haul schedule, so there isn't a lot of room for technical issues.

That is an interesting point. I will throw that into the mix as well.

Personally, I'd pay the extra $101 and take the direct Continental flight out of EWR for a flight time of 7 hours rather than having the long layovers and added travel time and hassle.

Hmmm...with the special thru Vayama, it's down to $573 vs $711, so $414 ttl with 3 tickets...

...yet Vayama change fees are astronomical...Continental's aren't much better ($250)...AerLingus is only $100 (plus diff in fare, if any, natch)...I did actually use that feature this summer <a first>. With the ongoing repairs/upgrades at the house, I needed more time there, as the contractors were behind schedule. Last summer, AerLingus was only charging $60, and I lucked out that the fare on the mid-September departure end hadn't changed.

Many pros & cons...

How is Continental on refunding fare differences? If I book the $711 now, and there's a fare drop in February for spring fares, are they easy to deal with? Is it worth it to book thru Orbitz for their fare guarantee? Or too gimmicky since the airline may do the same?

With the fares thru the metasearches often being the same as the airline these days, I more-often-than-not deal directly with the airlines, since it seems easier to make changes when necessary if there's no intermediary agent.


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