How to get the best deal on airline tickets

I’ve got a trip planned for August. I’d like to get the best price on airline tickets.

Are there any automated services for getting the best price? is a search aggregator that looks at all the big airlines and (I think) the online travel agents. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t show prices for Southwest, so you’ll have to check them separately.

If your dates are flexible, will show you all the special rates that are out there, and what kind of restrictions they have.

Thanks for that information. In re-reading my OP I see that I wasn’t very clear about what I wanted.

I’m trying to find some tool that will do that kind of searching (and preferably include Southwest) that will email me with weekly updates or when the price changes.

I think travelocity lets you set email alerts. has alerts.

I have about 10 cities that I am interested in, and I enrolled to have a daily email alert for those cities. It’s been very helpful.

First off, if you’re especially interested in SouthWest, you should sign up for their “Ding” application from their website.

For the more general case, I really like

You can set your favored airport, and they’ll send you daily e-mails highlighting especially good fares from that (and nearby) airports. For example, if you enter Providence, RI, you’ll get listings for US Domestic deals, US domestic weekend deals, (usually) international airfares, and international weekend deals. Then you’ll get the same things for Boston, MA and Hartford, CT.

They do include SouthWest.

They do sometimes have listings for fares that are so limited that they won’t have any more for most days, but if you are flexible about dates you can often do quite well.

The other bad part is there’s nothing worse than sitting in your office and getting an e-mail that you could go to Aruba for $363 RT.

Recent thread on the subject: Cheap plane tickets. How?

My suggestions- and