Websites to Use When Searching for Airfare
- Orbitz. I find to be the best general airfare site. Especially good at piecing together multiple airline trips to save money.
SideStep is a downloadable program that detects when you’re searching for travel and sends out whatever you enter into a website to the various airlines, searches their sites directly, and then collates the results.
Mobissimo is even more powerful than SideStep. It is also a metasearch tool. It goes out to the airlines and the other travel booking sites like Travelocity to get its results. It’s web-based rather than a software download. It even searches consolidators (such as onetravel) and international sites (like zuji and opodo). Powerful, but not good for searching over a range of dates or airports.
Kayak is similar to Mobissimo but with an interface that I like better. Another worthwhile web-based tool for the arsenal.
Get 5% Off from United’s Website. When their telephone reservation volume is high, they redirect you to the web with an offer of 5% off. The specific URL changes each time, but it just redirects to the link I’ve provided. You have to log into the site (with your frequent flyer number and password) in order to use it.
Checking Alternate Airports
Alternate airports often have widely differing fares, especially when one is served by a low-cost carrier and the other is not.
In my home town of Washington, DC the price from Dulles to Oakland is generally much cheaper than flying Dulles to San Francisco because of competition from JetBlue. Many flights departing Baltimore are cheaper than those departing Dulles or Reagan National because of competition from Southwest (though Airtran brings down the price on several East Coast routes from the other airports).
Whenever possible, check alternate airports both for departure and arrival: Oakland or San Jose rather than San Francisco… Santa Ana, Burbank, Long Beach, or Ontario instead of Los Angeles… Baltimore rather than Washington’s Dulles or Reagan… West Palm Beach or Ft. Lauderale instead of Miami.. just to name a few.
Expedia Used to Have Cool Tools, They Don’t Offer Them Anymore Not directly, anyway. But the direct links still work.
Where Can I Go Inexpensively From Where I Live?
Yahoo!’s Best Fares (This link defaults to BWI, reset to your own airport)
SmarterLiving Airfare Deals (This link defaults to Washington DC, reset to your own city)
Travelocity’s Dream Maps (This link defaults to BWI, reset to your own airport)
Sites to Check for Period Good Deals
Travel Zoo Top 20
Also sign up for Scott Carmichael’s Airfare Deals e-mail alert list which sends out alerts on pricing glitches and similar offers.
Air & Hotel Package Deals
Class Availability Tools
Mathias Metzger’s Availability Tool (Software Install, Very Powerful)
Where Should I Sit On the Plane?
Seat Guru offers seat maps and commentary on seats for a huge number of aircraft on different airlines. Indispensable.
Seat Expert is similar to SeatGuru, covering several international carriers not listed on Seat Guru.
How Can I Earn the Most Miles for My Trip?
Unofficial Guide to American Airlines AAdvantage
How Many Miles Will I Earn for My Trip? The “Great Circle Mapper” allows you to enter routes using airport codes and it will tell you how many miles from each airport and display the route on a world map.
Free Frequent Flyer Miles. Gary Steiger compiles a great and well-organized resource with the best frequent flyer mileage offers for various activities — from flight bonuses to the best frequent flyer credit card signup offers.
Flyertalk.com is a huge bulletin board with over 2.5 million posts focused on miles and points. Everything you could ever want to know can be found here.
Miletracker is a great free downloadable program to track all of your miles and points programs.