General Question

kenmc's avatar

How do you go about getting the cheapest airfare possible?

Asked by kenmc (11763points) July 6th, 2009

What’s your method of cheaply obtaining airplane tickets?

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16 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Check online and don’t be afraid to sit down and make phone calls. Make plans as far ahead as you can.

Deepness's avatar

You are asking only about airfare so here it goes. It depends. Are your travel plans domestic or international?

If your plans are domestic, you can usually get awesome deals online.

However, if your plans are international, you would want to buy from a consolidator. Consolidators rates cannot be beat for international airfare. You would have to call the administrative department of your carrier of choice to your destination (Russia) and ask them who their consolidators are for your specific destination (Moscow). Get in touch with the consolidator and you are on your way.

kenmc's avatar

@Deepness @The_Compassionate_Heretic

How does one go about getting these online deals? Just straight-up buying the ticket from the internet?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@boots I fly southwest so they have a task tray app that runs in the background and lets you know when deals come up

YARNLADY's avatar

I find the best prices on the actual airlines website, but it involves going to all of them. The airline I use the most sends me the specials, so I don’t even need to look.

susanc's avatar

@boots: Deepness:“You would have to call the administrative department of your carrier of choice to your destination”, etc. Maybe you want to back up
one step? Maybe try this: go to the websites Kayak or Orbitz or CheapTickets, which market low fares from many airlines. Fill out a travel plan and let them suggest flights to where you want to go. Then choose one of those carriers and do as Deepness suggests. You can try this with a number of carriers to do your own comparison. If the carriers are unfamiliar to you, you can google them and find evaluation sites to see if they’re horrible. Good luck, good flying.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Experiment with days of the week to fly. Also, check out http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/

jrpowell's avatar

Keep in mind the amount of time you will spend saving a few bucks. If you spend 5 hours on the phone and on the internet to save 10 dollars that is kinda a bad deal.

My sister does this with gas. She will drive across town to save a few cents per gallon. But she spends more then she saves to get to the gas station (the expensive one is ten blocks away). So she pays more and wastes an hour.

minolta's avatar

sidestep.com is a site I have found to bring the cheapest results, compared to expedia, travelocity, orbitz and such.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I compare as many online sites as possible and priceline.com usually will beat them all by about $25. (the price of taxes & airport fees).

Book the cheapest flight offered for the date
Write down the desired flight times for that date
Show up to the airport and ask to be bumped onto the desired flight
9 times out of 10 they’ll add you at no extra charge
avoid at all costs any transfers going through Chicago, ask ahead of time if your connecting flights will be coming from there because they often have weather issues, freaking doesn’t seem to matter which month of the year

Judi's avatar

I go to the common websites, (expedia, travelocity.) I look for the best price and itinerary, (making note of the flight numbers) then I go to the specific airlines website. Often they have a price a few bucks cheaper. If I know that a particular airline goes through a city, and don’t see it on expedia or travelocity, I will check their website too.
I just got a cheaper fare from Orange County to SFO by buying it from united.com instead of usair.com, even though it is a US Air flight. Don’t know why, but I’ll take it.

Dorkgirl's avatar

If you are planning for a future trip and your dates are flexible, start watching fares on the sites recommended (kayak, orbitz, etc.). Sign up for fare alerts so you know when fares are going down. When the fare is at a price you are comfortable with or if they start to inch up in price, buy.
The day of the week that you fly on can make a big difference.
Often airlines will post discounts on Sundays, so that can be a good time to do your searchs.
Try different airports if you have options—LAX vs. Orange County or Berlin vs. Frankfurt.

J0E's avatar

I remember something Craig on Malcolm in the Middle said, he pretended to be young girls in chat rooms and would eventually get people to send him money to fly out and visit. I doubt it would work in real life but it’s kinda funny anyway.

jeanna's avatar

Definitly don’t listen to what Joe said! :)

deni's avatar

i’ve heard good things about the whole priceline negotiator thing but it has never worked for me since i’m usually buying one way tickets.

another thing you could try if you wanted to be adventurous was to fly stand by. i’ve never tried it but apparently you can fly for pretty cheap. but its not always available, there can be a lengthy wait, etc.

lfino's avatar

If you’re waiting for your flight and they make an announcement that they’ve overbooked and will someone give up their seat, give it up! My husband and I each received a free flight after giving up our seats. It’s a great deal, as long as you don’t have to be home at the original time. If you have kids with you, don’t do it. They will tell you right away when the next available flight is, and while there’s a chance that there might not be room on that flight, we made it on the first flight available. That chance doesn’t always come up, but it pays to be paying attention about 30 minutes before flights go out.
And also what @PandoraBoxx said about trying different days of the week – that is so true! There can be a huge price difference depending on the day you leave and the day you come home.

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