Getting a Good Deal on Airfare
Once upon a time, airlines published their flight deals in a telephone-book-sized pamphlet every few weeks and your travel agent could simply look up the advertised rate and make a phone call to reserve your space. Now that the internet has revolutionized travel, airlines are selling their seats in a variety of arenas and offering momentary discounts to sell all their unused seats. Finding a cheap flight can be confusing and downright disorienting for the wayward traveler, but here are some tips to help you find the best flight deal. The wise traveler in search of a cheap flight checks his bookmarked travel sites around three times per day. This person has found out that mornings are commonly the best time of day to look around because costs are fast changing in relation to what the compe tition is up to on that date. This person also has found out that Saturday and Wednesday mornings are the best days to check for new rates since that is when new fares are likely to be released. Since bookings increase just afterpayday, it's best to look after the 7th of the month when things have calmed down a little. All airlines are different, but normally once you reach 15 days ahead of the flight, the cost starts to go up, then it goes up again at the seven-day point. So if you would like a retail ticket, purchase it at least 21 days out for the best price. It's always a good idea to buy your flight well in advance if your travel dates are not flexible or are during busy times. The time you choose your cheap flight is important. People generally like to travel the day before a holiday, so you could book your ticket the morning or afternoon of the holiday or the week before the holiday to get cheap airfare. Weekdays offer lower prices than weekends, although you should cross Mondays and Fridays off your list as these are peak business travel days. Choosing different flight times can also affect the cost of your airline ticket. For instance, very few people want to take a "red-eye" flight between the hours of midnight and 6 am, but if you don't mind, then you'll save. You can also get cheaper tickets if you don't mind flying between 5 am and 8 am. Another good site to bookmark in your cheap flight search is www.airfarewatchdog.com, which lists the lowest fares, unadvertised sales and deep discounts posted on airline websites. Last March, this site listed July round-trip flights from Los Angeles, California to Columbus, Ohio for $271 (including all taxes and fees), while travel sites like Kayak were advertising the same itinerary for $400. You can also sign up to receive email alerts on deals from your closest five departure airports or you can visit the site to look up the lowest priced airlines flights to or from your city.