Thursday, December 15, 2005

 

8 Steps to Cheaper Airfare

I found this article on the Seattle Times website, via the Washington Post. I'm not sure how long their links stay active, so I'm posting the entire article here, but all credit and copyrights go to the Seattle Times and Washington Post.

The Washington Post

It's not hard to get a fare deal these days, even with the surge in the
cost of jet fuel and the long list of airlines in bankruptcy. You just
have to work at it. Here's a primer on how to snare a decent airfare.

1. Go to an all-purpose travel site. The Big Three (www.orbitz.com,
www.expedia.com and www.travelocity.com) remain the dominant trio, since
you can book your flight/hotel/car in one spot. While all have exclusive
Web deals not available elsewhere, some airlines aren't represented on
the sites, fares can vary wildly, and the sites charge a $5 to $7
booking fee. Sign up for Travelocity's Fare Watcher feature, which tracks
fares to five destinations of your choosing; when the fare goes up or
down, you receive an e-mail alert.

Another useful tool is ITA Software (www.itasoftware.com). While you
can't buy online, it'll direct you to where you can book and offers
myriad info on different flights, including such warnings as
"long layover."

2. Check an aggregator. Booking aggregators -- including
www.sidestep.com, www.kayak.com and www.cheapflights.com -- scan numerous
booking sites and cull the results. Most also display hotel and car rentals.

Aggregators work in one of two ways: Either you download them or go to
their Web sites. SideStep works both ways. You can go directly to its
Web site and plug in your dates, etc. In the downloaded version, the
SideStep Toolbar pops up on the left third of your screen and runs a
concurrent search when you're on another site; when it's done, it directs
you to where you can book.

3. Look at individual airline sites. Go to airline sites to see if they
can match the lowest fare you've found. You can often snare extra
frequent-flier miles for booking directly with the carrier, and you'll
avoidthe service fees on some of the all-purpose and aggregator sites (as
well as the fees charged by some airlines if you call their reservations
numbers). Note that some discount carriers are not widely represented
among the discounters and aggregators. Sign up to receive the airline
e-deals that pop up each week (usually midweek) and download such
features as Southwest's "Ding," which provides instant notification on your
computer of special fares.

4. Check Priceline and Hotwire. Though www.hotwire.com and
www.priceline.com provide regular flight-booking services (showing airlines and
flight times along with prices), both offer potentially money-saving
twists. On Priceline, you can still bid for a flight, then discover the
airline and times after you pay; check www.biddingfortravel.com for bidding
pointers. Hotwire works a little differently: It shows you the price up
front, then reveals the carrier/flight times after you've forked over
your credit card (it does give you helpful hints like "not a redeye"
when listing fares with the veiled flights).

5. Check other budget sites. A number of sites -- including
www.cheaptickets.com and www.travelzoo.com -- are frequently updated and
full of bargains.

6. Consider last-minute specialists or auction sites. Check out the
packages at services such as www.site59.com, which offers late- breaking
air/hotel combos from just a few days out to weeks in advance. While you
may not need the hotel, the package price could very well beat the
no-advance-purchase fares being offered elsewhere. Or go to a site such as
SkyAuction.com (www.skyauction.com), in which you can bid for an
airline ticket -- just remember that once you buy, you're stuck with the
ticket.

7. Check with a consolidator. For complicated, costly international
flights, consider using a consolidator, which purchases blocks of tickets
and passes the discounts on to consumers. Many don't deal directly with
the public, so you'll have to book through discounters or retail travel
agents. Check www.moffits.com, a good online resource geared toward
consolidators and travel agents who work with them; registration is free,
and you can search its database. Or try an online consolidator such as
www.1800flyeurope.com, which specializes in Europe. Beware that
consolidators come and go -- protect yourself by purchasing with a credit
card.

8. If all else fails ... let someone else do the work for you and
contact a travel agent. Remember that many charge fees for booking a ticket,
but a good agent will know where to look for cheaper fares. Check for
an agent's good standing with the American Society of Travel Agents,
www.travelsense.org.

1 Comments:

Blogger lokesh said...

Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!

Cheap flights to Dubai

12:40 AM  

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