How To Find Cheap Airfares
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
By Laura Lippstone
Looking to escape to anywhere right now? Paradise can be found, but there’s no reason to pay top dollar to fly there. In fact, with the extra luggage and legroom fees that travelers are paying for airline tickets these days, saving money on fares is even more crucial.
Doing so can be as easy as knowing how to shop. George Hobica, founder of www.airfarewatchdog.com, an airfare alert site that seeks out and lists the lowest fares, offers some tips.
— If you’d still like to get away this summer, there are definitely last-minute summer fares to be had. Good places to start are www.Priceline.com, where you name your own price by bidding, and www.lastminute.com.
Also be on the lookout for the weekend deals offered by United, Delta, US Airways, and JetBlue Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And there may be some three-day advance purchase fares here and there.
— Cash in on fall savings with some great sales for travel through November 17. Some airlines are offering savings from October 1 to November 17. Others have deals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from August 1 to November 17. Check www.airfarewatchdog.com for more details.
— Hobica predicts holiday fares may be higher than they were last year. For that reason, he suggests booking peak holiday travel now to get the seats and flights you want.
— When booking in general, Hobica says a fare can go down any minute on any route, so sign up for free airfare alerts and pounce when fares go down. AirTran does have weekly sales on Monday nights and other airlines tend to match by Tuesday morning. And again, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are when the weekend deals come out. But airfare alerts are your best bet — just Google “airfare alerts” to see which sites offer them.
— Having more flexibility with airports and schedules may also save some cash. Depending on on the route, and when you buy, alternate airports can be cheaper. For example, there have been recent flights from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to San Francisco for a roundtrip price of $268.
Nonstop flights from JFK have been much higher — more than $400. So consider taking flights with connections, and travel at odd hours — consider taking “red eye” overnight flights or the first flight of the day to save money.