How to Find the Best Airfare Deals

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.


    On The Fly Travel

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?

Sites to Check for Period Good Deals

Air & Hotel Package Deals

Advanced Tools

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?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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