Finding cheap Airfare

Where can one go/what can one do to find the cheapest airfare? Is it any better to get the cheap airfare then fly without restrictions? In the past, I have gone through travel agents, but I still feel gipped after I talk to other people around me and find out that they still paid less than me.


My wife and I have had alot of success using Travelocity seems pretty decent too but I haven’t actually purchased anything from their website yet.

As a former travel agent, lemme break it to you gently. There will always be someone who paid less that you and they will sit next to you on the plane.

First, what I would do is call a travel agent and have them check out the best price and flights for what you want.

Then, I would go to Travelocity or the like and compare the same airlines and routing to see if they can beat it.

I haven’t bought a ticket thru any on line broker, but I have booked hotel and it wasn’t bad. It’s still very frustrating for me because the online stuff is not as fast as what my computer at work could bring up in a matter of a keystroke.

  1. If you can travel on short notice, go to individual airline sites and sign up for their weekly e-mail specials. It comes into your e-mail box on Wednesday and lists really cheap flights for the weekend about to hit. Often 50% or more off of the cheapest fares you can usually find even with the two weeks notice.

  2. Keep an eye out for internet specials. Subscribe to as many newsgroups, e-mail lists and sites you can. You’re bound to find something, usually before the next guy, and often it’s a deal for internet customers only (so don’t be squeamish about giving your cc# over the net!)

  3. If you’re more of a planner, but are open about your travel dates, go to the Yahoo travel section. In it, you can enter in your city or origin and destination, and it will come up with the cheapest posted fares. Click on the cheap ones and it will tell you what days are available and make sure you schedule withing guidelines to get that fare.

For some comparisons, I have had to travel or arrange travel for a friend in Detroit on several occassions recently. Needless to say, i avoided booking anything that was not within two weeks, but the results are as follows:

  • Cost when booking in advance but with a specific weekend in mind: $221

  • Cost when using Yahoo Travel and picking a weekend that worked for the cheapest listed fare: $155

  • Cost when replying to an internet special e-mail I got: $112.50

I have not yet seem a Raleigh-Detroit run on a late-scheduled e-mail, but if I did, I’m sure it would be in the $100 range from what I’ve seen…

Hope this helps, though I am still looking for ways to get even cheaper from any SDMB folk who knows something I don’t!

Brian O’Neill
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Get out your phonebook and call the airlines.
I did this very thing just yesterday.

American airlines wanted $1200.00 for a round-trip ticket from Chicago-O’Hare to St. Pete FL. They have to be nuts. I just called ATA and booked a nonstop flight for $278.00

I don’t hold with travel agents; I have been steered to their favorite airline at the expense of a cheaper fare elsewhere. (And I don’t just supect this, I caught them doing it by personally calling other airlines directly). I’m not saying all or even most travel agents are dishonest, I’m just saying I don’t trust them - I want to be secure in the knowledge I got the best fare possible, and going to the horse’s mouth is by far the best way to do it.

What I find often works well is to depart from a close city such as departing from KCOS instead of KDEN, where I live.

“The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.”

–Joseph A. Schempeter

Just a brief warning about comparing prices online. I saw this on a talk show. If you go to a website where you name your price for a plane ticket and give your credit card number, this is actually like an auction and that was your bid. If the airline accepts your bid then you’ve committed yourself to buying that ticket. So don’t do it unless you’re sure. The warning was “Never give out your credit card number unless you are prepared to be charged.”

Hope this helps someone.

Standby! If you are (like me) less than 23 years old, many airlines have special college fares. My favorite is Airtran’s xfare program. You can’t reserve in advance, but you go, pay $45, and if there’s a seat on the flight, you get it. If not, you get your $45 back. That’s $45 per segment, so if you have a layover, you’ve got to do it all over again.

try for last minute airfare hotel and car rental deals,

Try calling 1-800-359-2432 (1-800-FLY-CHEAp). They’re a travel agency that specializes in booking economy flights.

At least they have a phone number! Many of the web travel outfits only have e mail. Which helps you not at all when you are stuck at the airport.

If you want to hook into the airline computers for free & search for lowest fare & then call the airline, use

If you want to make your own airfare price, use

Web sits abounnd, just search, IE:

If you suddenly find that you simply HAVE to take a flight, then let’s hope it’s a business trip and your company is paying the fare. If it’s a personal trip because of a family tragedy, airlines will work with you for these.

Your best bet for airline fares is to plan in advance. By making a reservation two months in advance of the trip, no matter whether you use a travel agent, buy direct, or an online service, your best prices might guarantee YOU are the person bragging to your seatmate that you paid the lowest price. (Uh, beware the seatmate who suddenly sits down as the plane takes off…they got on via standby…and are heading to Muskogee…via Moscow.)

Oh…if you suddenly find that trip planned two months in advance is a bad idea, you still can keep your tickets for a year, and pay a pittance (usually $75) to go someplace else that’s a better idea…without having to pay the new, higher-priced fare.

“There will always be somebody who’s never read a book who’ll know twice what you know.” - D.Duchovny

Jophiel’s Internet Tip of the Day: Do not deal with internet companies that do not disclose a phone number and mailing address. Your credit card company will just love hearing “Well, the product never came. I couldn’t call them… all I had was this email address no one ever answered…”

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

You sure that wasn’t for a First Class ticket?

“Age is mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” -Leroy “Satchel” Paige

Are you sure $1200 is not for a first class ticket?
If you are traveling Monday-Saturday, the airfare on all the airlines is much higher. They want you to stay over a saturday night to fill up the planes and of course, to impose travel restrictions.

All major airlines follow these basis rules:

  1. advance purchase required for cheapest rate (or last minute email/cyber specials)
  2. Cheapest rates are nonrefundable, but the tickets are valid for one year from the date of issuance to be applied to the purchase of a new ticket.There is a $75 penalty. If the new ticket is cheaper than the old one ( Less than $75) you eat it. If it is more, then you should receive a voucher for the difference. Airlines and travel agencies hate giving out vouchers. Moreso because it is a pain in the ass to to the paper work on the damn things.

Shirley’s helpful travel tips:

  1. Always call the airlines or check their websight before departing for the airport to see if your flight is on time. Just because the weather is great here, doesn’t mean that it isn’t fogged in or bogged down with rain there.
    2)If you are at the airport and it looks like your flight is going to be cancelled, RUN to the nearest payphone and call that airlines toll free number (or whom you booked it through) and get a listing of all flight numbers and times for departures on that airline and other airlines.(Actually, this is a good idea to print out from your home computer so you have all the info and numbers at your finger tips in case you need it.) Tenatively book something as backup, hang up and go stand in the line. Chances are you will have protected yourself from being put on some really annoying flight later in the day or the next day.

3)Never pack more than you can carry.

  1. Unless you can afford first class, quit bitching about the size of the seats.

5)Even if you are not AAA or Government employee, ask what the rate is when you call to make a hotel reservation. It is very rare that they check, and if they do, tell them your ID is at the office or something.

6)Hotels in any major city are going to be expensive. NY, London and Paris are particularly high, averaging $225 and up without all the taxes.

  1. When traveling in Europe, double beds as we know it here are actually two twin beds pushed together over there. It is usually in American based hoteliers that you will find the double or king bed selection, but expect to pay for it. Comforters are de rigeur over there and folded down at the base of the mattress, so don’t think that housekeeping is shoddy.

8)There is no age limit for youth hostels. If you are young at heart and light of purse, it is a fabulous way to stay cheaply and meet lots of people.

9)Air conditioning and deorderant are practically non-existant in Europe.

10)Do you really need a Hard Rock t-shirt?

  1. Charters are a great way to get overseas or to Mexico ( in season) for sometimes half the money the regular airlines want. Yes, there is no first class, but you couldn’t afford it to begin with and you are packed in like the poor, just like the BIG GUYS and you don’t get frequent flyer miles. BUT you do save money. ATA (American Trans Air) is excellent and very reliable. One of the largest, if not so, charter companies in the world. I’ve flown with them on all my overseas flights.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.