What website has the cheapest/best airfare packages?

I’ll be taking a trip from Detroit to Dallas next month for a week-long job interview. I’m not too familiar with the different travel websites, and I am on a budget. So far I’ve checked Expedia, Travelocity, and Student Universe (Expedia had the best deal so far).

Are there any travel websites I am missing that I am likely to get a cheaper package price? I could care less which airline I fly on or what rental car I end up with, and my only request for a hotel is that I not get killed in my sleep.

The last few times I’ve flown, or helped people buy tickets, I ended up finding the cheapest price from the airline Web sites. Some of them, like Continental and Delta, are running ads now saying you avoid extra fees by going directly through them. They also have car and hotel packages.

By far the best I have seen, and someone told me about it on this board, can’t remember who.

Sign up for the daily fare alerts by email, that’ll help.

Also, sign up for any frequent flyer programs on all of the airlines that service your airport, sometimes they’ll only email their members.

I just got back from San Diego, took my husband on a surprise trip for his birthday that I had booked back in February, tickets were $120 RT each from Minneapolis. Good time of the day, no layovers, Sun Country.

Delta just had a sale a couple of days ago, same price range, but nothing I wanted.

I’ve heard hotwire is the best for hotels, if you know where you want to go, but not sure.

Tripadvisor is a great resource for finding places to stay, you get vacationers reviews, and pics.

I’ve got this theory that I’m just beginning to test. I look at Travelocity and Orbitz and see which airlines are the cheapest. I then check the airlines themselves because many claim that they offer the lowest fares on their own site. I happen to live in a town without any discount airlines, so I don’t bother with airlines like Southwest which are not available on the airline travel comparison websites. I glance at them if I happen to go to NYC or some major destination because under the right circumstances, it can be cost effective.

Recently on some news show, a professional travel agent stated that new fares are released 3 times per day and it would behoove you to check immediately after the fares are released. I don’t remember what the times were, but if someone can enlighten me, I’d appreciate it. He also said that travel on Tuesday or Wednesday is the cheapest.

Check Southwest.com before you buy. Their prices are quite competitive, and if you need to change your ticket for any reason there aren’t any change fees, and you can do it online instead of sitting on hold with customer service for an hour.

Avoid third party sites if possible. Buying directly from the airlines through their websites is typically the cheapest route to go.

Cheapest travel is typically on the lighest days – Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Go to this web site, login as Guest, select your airports and dates, and the results will list all airfares and times, regardless of airline.

Our daughter-in-law, who flies a lot for work, gave us this tip: The airlines release the “cheap seats” at midnight each night (which time zone depends on where the airline HQ is, I guess.) My wife claims she got the best rates ever by staying up until midnight one night, logging onto the airline’s web site (America, I think) and getting the discount tickets. Worth a try, and all you lose is a little sleep.

I second kayak.com, it searches other websites including those of airlines.

hijack/

Hey, madmonk28, I’m still tapping the fuselage every time I fly thanks to your advice in some long ago thread.

Haven’t dropped 30,000 feet from the sky in a tangle of burning fuel, flying metal, and miscellaneous body parts, so thanks for your tip!

/hijack

Tapping the fuselage?

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=398962&page=1&pp=50&highlight=fuselage

Original thread.

I’ve gone on 5 trips since then, it is comforting. Interestingly enough, when I do it, there is obviously a double tap metal on metal noise from my ring and the fuselage. I have NEVER seen anyone look around inquisitively. I’m not doing it loudly, it’s a small double tap, not a BANG, but this non-response leads me to believe that it’s a very common phenomena.

Oh, and the search feature at the 'Dope sucks ass.

I use Farecast. I think it is basically a search engine of airline and other sites. Once I’ve found the cheapest option I’ll either click through or go directly to the airline site in question and book there.

For domestic flights it also does some analysis to determine when the best time is to buy (so it will tell you that you should buy now, wait a little, etc).

I use www.kayak.com and www.sidestep.com

Glad to be of service. BTW, I had mentioned that when I board a plane I like to touch the fuselage as kind of a good luck talisman. I’ve passed the tip on and have apparently saved countless lives.