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rated:
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.com 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.

    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.

    FareChase

    OnTheFly Travel


Searching 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.


When Should I Buy My Ticket? Or, Fare Goes Down After I Purchase...

    There's no perfect way to time a ticket purchase. If you see a great deal, grab it. It might be gone tomorrow.

    Generally the lowest fares are available with at least 14 days (30 for international travel sometimes) advance purchase and a Saturday stay... and no more than a 30 day stay. But sometimes the lowest fares are available right up until the day of departure.

    A very frequent question at FatWallet goes something like "My trip to XXX is 6 months away, should I buy my ticket now or wait and see if the price drops?"

    Several domestic airlines have a little-known policy that may allay the fear of losing out on a better deal. If you buy a ticket and notice that the price drops later for the exact same itinerary on the same dates of travel, you can call and the airline will issue a voucher towards a future ticket purchase.

    United, Delta, American, Northwest, and USAirways all offer this for sure. Check with the airline you're considering purchasing from. There's often some fine print, such as Northwest excludes web fares from this, but I've found it to generally work well.

    Whenever you purchase a ticket it's a good idea to check whether the fare has dropped even a little as that's a free money towards your next trip.



Where Can I Go Inexpensively From Where I Live?


Sites to Check for Period Good 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?



I'd love comments/feedback/additions/modifications! Let 'er rip!

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Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Excellent list. Thanks!

philbertpaul (Jun. 05, 2014 @ 4:09a) |

It's better to use Kayak in order to find the best airfare deals. I've been using it all the time. Try it! It's really g... (more)

richardconklin (Jun. 25, 2014 @ 2:17a) |

Hi this is great post and share nice information . thanks for share this view

seobacklink (Jun. 27, 2014 @ 7:25a) |

There are two ways to book your itinerary: directly from the airlines' website or from a aggregating website/agent/consolidator. For short trips for which nonstop flights are available, the two methods are will yield itineraries with the same schedules and flights. The advantage of the fare search websites in this case is that they will report the fares from several airlines on the same page thereby saving you the effort of having to visit multiple airline websites and doing a search on each and having to note down the results to compare them later. Nevertheless, for some airlines, you might get a better price directly from their website/search tool or through a discount coupon, an example of this being Southwest.

For longer itineraries, there can be various combinations for flights that will get you to your destination. These flights can be from different airlines and so it may not be possible to get your entire itinerary from the website of a single airline and you may have to book parts of your journey individually from different airlines. This is where the aggregating websites come into their own. They will consider various possible combinations of flights and stops in an attempt to present you with the best possible fare and you can book your entire itinerary in one go. This is even more important for long/international trips because as the length increases, the number of possible combinations rises exponentially.

TOOLS
To get an idea of the capabilities of the various airfare search tools available, see the airfare consolidation tools feature wiki page [dead link]. Among them, you will find ITA Software is the first place to search for fares. This is not a booking service. It's the software engine that major airlines use to build their booking services. You'll frequently find fare combinations that no airline or travel agent would be able to find for you. It gives you the specific flight codes to ask for. The only drawback -- you may have to pay an agent or phone booking fee in order to get somebody to book the low fares it found. Also note: [l=ITA does not find inventory for most LCCs (e.g. Southwest) [dead link]] ]][/l] http://travel.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Airline_Inventory_Searching .

Sometimes fares here appear to be really good and what you may want to purchase right away but no travel agent or airline reservations specialist will ever be able to get them for you. Remember, it's a beta and has quirks in the system! (shared by ridiculo)

Fare Aggregating Search Websites - You Can Book Your Tickets With Them Directly
(Take this section with a grain of salt because these usually are much more expensive than engines that lead you to the best fares such as Mobissimo and Kayak).

  • Orbitz.com seems to be the best of the lot. Can search nearby airports and for US/Canada flights, it can also search for the next/previous day.
  • Expedia.com another standard search and aggregation website.
  • Travelocity.com another standard search and aggregation website.
  • Priceline.com another standard search and aggregation website.
  • American Airlines you might be surprised to know the American Airlines website probably has more sophisticated search tools than any of the other better known search website. Remember to select the option that says "All Carriers" to get results from other airlines. You can get itineraries that include flights from other airlines and book them here and earn miles for them too. For the international flights that I searched for, the results returned were less expensive, had fewer stops and more options that the other aggregators. You can search for flexible dates and get results in a matrix form that makes them easy to compare.
  • Southwest doesn't share its deals with aggregators, so to get their best deals you need to use their low fare alert application Ding! , or use a search tool that goes out and scrapes inventory from the Southwest website . As of 3/20/06 Ding is available for PC and Mac.

Fare Search Website - Plan Travel Here and Then Buy From Other Places

  • Try Bookingbuddy.com to quickly search on almost all individual airline sites and other search engines. It's really easy to use and saves a lot of time.
  • Travel HUB , Good consolidator search engine, can sometimes find excellent deals on international flights.
  • AirlineConsolidator.com , another consolidator engine. It's always best to search multiple consolidators to find fares that aren't published elsewhere.
  • Farecast.com predicts airfares for most major US routes and offers a metasearch like Kayak, Farechase, etc. This answers the question above on "When Should You Buy?".
  • FareCompare - For new fares several hours before the main sites (Expedia , Orbitz , and the like) get them and before anyone can buy them. Also email alerts. Has historical price data every day for the previous two years , showing high/average/low prices, so you really know if a certain fare is a "good deal."
  • Yapta.com is also a newcomer and has an application that monitors the fares for your specific flight and helps you determine whether or not you can get a refund from the airline.
  • Kayak now has a flexible date search.
  • MileMaven Miles promotions by route
  • Ticketspotter.com
  • Mobissimo.com
  • AirfareWatchdog
  • Had some good results here CheapAir
  • Found fares that even ITA missed! TravelFusion.com

International Airfare

Last Minute Travel

  • LastMinuteDeals.com: Offers Air/Hotel or Air/Car Rental packages. The package deals can sometimes be better than the best prices you can find for just flight only (at least that was my experience for a next-day flight returning on Memorial Day weekend). They show you at the searching which airline and rental car company will be used. Times are also known before purchase. Frequent flyer miles can also be earned. Email confirmation with airline and rental car confirmation numbers was sent nearly immediately. (shared by Dajabon)
  • LastMinuteTravel.com: Offers deals on Hotels, plus they don't charge booking fees on flights. (shared by CardFrog)
  • LastMinute.com (was site59) (a Travelocity site) can be a great source for low-cost last-minute airfare lodging or airfare car. I have know situations where friends have booked trips and never checked into the hotel or never picked up the rental car... or even used a round trip in lieu of a more expensive one-way ticket.

Airfare Class Inventory

Airport Parking:

Students and youths (under 26)

  • STA Travel They make you buy a $22 discount card similar to Student Advantage, but their fares can still be cheaper sometimes. If you don't see anything good online, call them. Also call/e-mail local branches - you'll get a different answer each time. Sooner or later you'll find one you like.
  • Student Universe no membership fee. Some of the airfare offered is refundable (minus a fee).
  • Delaycast.com - currently dead.

rated:
Very nice and comprehensive compilation! I've also found that you can get some pretty good package deals from America West Vacations if you are going to Vegas or Reno/Tahoe from the east coast. I've gotten 5 night hotel/airfare/car deals for as little as $335 per person. Also, if your airport is served by Southwest, don't forget to check their web site. Some of the "all purpose" sites don't include their fares.

rated:
C'mon folks, give me some more feedback so I can add to the original post.

An issue I certainly need to add is checking fares to/from alternate airports... Oakland or San Jose rather than San Francisco... Santa Ana, Burbank, Long Beach, 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. Alternate airports often have widely differing fares, especially when one is served by a low-cost carrier and the other is not.

rated:
This is great and Mobissimo, which I had never heard of, has great fares.

I also like site59 for last minute stuff. Sometimes it is cheapear to get a flight and rental car or hotel than the flight itself on any other site.

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Added "When Should I Buy My Ticket? Or, Fare Goes Down After I Purchase.."

rated:
Ok you asked for it, you got it:

Add Faremax.com to your list they have lots of Unpublished fares.


Sidestep.com has spyware with it. So take it with a grain of salt. I have yet to see a difference in fares from them.

Searching Alternate Airports

I live near Newark Airport (NJ). Before it was international I used to fly from JFK for international flights. Going through NY to get to JFK was a nightmare. For anyone living in NJ, I would most likely say that they would rather fly from EWR than JFK. Plus the price difference in flights is minimal if none. I'ld rather pay an extra $50 to fly from EWR than JFK. 15 minuite ride, lesser hassle, and easily accessible by car, train, etc.

When Should I Buy My Ticket?

Why weren't seasons mentioned??? HIgh and Low seasons depending on destination. New years eve, christmas, summer, are the high seasons for Europe for example. Difference between traveling to Europe at the End of August with travelling to Europe in early September is easily several hundred dollars!

Sites to Check for Period Good Deals

Travelzoo.com's main link is better IMO than their top 20 deals. At least on the main page you can see a wide variety of deals rather than thei top 20.


Where Should I Sit On the Plane?

Put a Disclaimer that says: Coach Extra is not the same as Coach when compared to price, and legroom.

How Can I Earn the Most Miles for My Trip?

Where is the info for Delta Skymiles ?

Current Delta Skymiles Promotions

As for how many miles will I earn. I suggest you get that info from the actual airline site itself. For example Delta has its MQM calculator which will give you an exact quote of how many miles you'll earn.


Miles

Points.com<--Points Exchange program

Miles4Sale <---- At 4 a mile when you desperatly need an extra 500 miles or so.

There are also auctions on eBay where people are selling their miles (technically their selling you a white envelope and "gifting" you the miles) you can get a good deal if you eye the auctions.

Remember: if someone is gifting you their miles or you are claiming an award ticket with your miles that you have to check if the miles are valid for that flight. And also you will not gain any miles on an award ticket.


-----------------------

That was just my 2 OP, hope it helps

rated:
Great compilation, gleff, thanks!

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I've been using www.itasoftware.com looks like they'll have some competition now, thanks gleff!!

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This is an excellent list. This should be pin-tacked. Thanks for all your work!

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MSNBC: 11 ways to find the best airfares
Start with a general Web search
Use consolidators
Offline or online, consolidators have long been a good source for travel deals. Some of the top consolidator Web sites include Hotwire, cheaptickets, Onetravel and Travelhub. (Online travel agents Travelocity and Expedia also include them in their inventory, but they don't specialize in consolidator fares.)

Use farefinders
Don't overlook airline sites, especially Southwest
Know when to fly
You can reap big savings by flying on low-demand days of the week. If you're going on a weekend trip, flying Thursday and Sunday is reportedly cheaper than Friday and Monday. For trips of any length, Hotwire recommends flying midweek, Tuesday-Thursday. The time of day you fly also can dramatically change the price of a ticket. By selecting "anytime" (when given the option) for your preferred departure time, you'll increase your odds of finding the best deals.

Fly into less popular airports
Like flying midweek, flying into alternative airports can increase your savings. As Hotwire.com co-founder Gregg Brockway always says: "If you're heading to Los Angeles, think Burbank (airport). Heading to San Francisco? Think Oakland or San Jose."

Use local carriers
If you're traveling to Europe, consider some of the European airlines and travel sites for the last leg of your trip, rather than trying to make it all the way to your destination city on the same U.S.-based airline. A Seattle-to-Rome roundtrip ticket would have cost me $655 (excluding fees, and including one layover in Philadelphia) on US Airways.

But by flying to London and then booking a London-Rome ticket at eBookers, I saved about $130 before fees.

Try auctions, but bid smartly
One way to improve upon this is to do your research first, then try bidding at 25%-30% off the lowest published fares you've found elsewhere online. Or, for even more informed bidding, troll message boards such as BiddingForTravel.com, where members post information about bids that were accepted.

rated:
DaMadIzms said:

Searching Alternate Airports

I live near Newark Airport (NJ). Before it was international I used to fly from JFK for international flights. Going through NY to get to JFK was a nightmare. For anyone living in NJ, I would most likely say that they would rather fly from EWR than JFK. Plus the price difference in flights is minimal if none. I'ld rather pay an extra $50 to fly from EWR than JFK. 15 minuite ride, lesser hassle, and easily accessible by car, train, etc.


It's much easier for most people in north Jersey to get to JFK on public transportation than to Newark Airport --except you, since you live nearby. International fares are cheaper from JFK than from Newark. Best of all, once you take the bus or train to Manhattan, it costs $1.50 to take the A train [subway] to Howard Beach in Brooklyn where you get a free shuttle bus to any terminal at JFK airport.

BUT driving is a nightmare, unless you don't value your car or your sanity. Go to Newark.

rated:
Just to add....Last night I was looking for a roundtrip ticket from sac...to det.....check tons of sites...all wanting $529-$656....gezzzzzzz...so I decided to make my own price at Priceline.....$300 accepted ...happy camper here

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gleff great post thanks

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neutron40 said: Just to add....Last night I was looking for a roundtrip ticket from sac...to det.....check tons of sites...all wanting $529-$656....gezzzzzzz...so I decided to make my own price at Priceline.....$300 accepted ...happy camper hereAh, but did you check alternate airports? I've recently seen Spirit Air running ~ $175 from the Bay Area to DTW.

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g00lag said: This is an excellent list. This should be pin-tacked. Thanks for all your work!

I second that!

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amszyh said: g00lag said: This is an excellent list. This should be pin-tacked. Thanks for all your work!

I second that!


I third that!!

Its very very informative.
Thanks

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aprince1 said: amszyh said: g00lag said: This is an excellent list. This should be pin-tacked. Thanks for all your work!

I second that!


I third that!!

Its very very informative.
Thanks
Who do we see about that?

rated:
The excellent MileTracker software mentioned in the OP has been discontinued. Few have found DeskPort, the recommended successor to MileTracker, to meet their expectations. MileTracker interrogated airline and hotel websites to learn your current mile/point balances every time you launched it, then presented the information in a clear, concise manner. All your user names and passwords were kept on your local computer.

Yodlee.com seems to be the best successor to MileTracker. It keeps your user names and passwords on the Yodlee website.

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Thanks, austex, you are 100% correct. I've updated the OP.

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Thk u.
Just perfect time to make the plan with awesome no way good deals to go north for family gathering.

rated:
Bump - when will this get pinned?

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amszyh said: Bump - when will this get pinned?

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just a note, the program sidestep contains adware and will not work without it. downloader beware.

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Expedia Used to Have Cool Tools, They Don't Offer Them Anymore
Not directly, anyway. But the direct links still work.


There are some awesome deals on these lists, however, I can't seem to book any of the flights. Does anyone know how to use the rate code provided? There's probrably a really obvious answer that I'm missing. Thanks.

rated:
so tired of bumping...maybe if I bump really good like when you hit those bell things at a fair the thread will go up, ring the bell, and get stuck (instead of come back down)

BUMP!

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*edit* -- found the answer to my question..

great thread, though... and free bump!!

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this is a good site to find alternate city fares
-
Bestfares

rated:
"
Expedia Used to Have Cool Tools, They Don't Offer Them Anymore"

Not sure about that. True I found it to be $600+ RT, but when I added a hotel, the package of hotel (suite, king bed) & airfare was just $300.77 & that includes airport fees of about $50.

Travelzoo.com, once thought to be sort of a joke, has really taken off & seems to be very successful. They list travel deals from 300 companies but don't make deals themselves.

rated:
The reference to cool tools has nothing to do with 'good deals' .. it meant the ability to list airfares by city pair, shop for the lowest fares found by others, etc.

rated:
ravenmaniac said: It's much easier for most people in north Jersey to get to JFK on public transportation than to Newark Airport --except you, since you live nearby. International fares are cheaper from JFK than from Newark. Best of all, once you take the bus or train to Manhattan, it costs $1.50 to take the A train [subway] to Howard Beach in Brooklyn where you get a free shuttle bus to any terminal at JFK airport.

BUT driving is a nightmare, unless you don't value your car or your sanity. Go to Newark.


I really don't know where you're coming from with this.

Let's see here:

1) Newark is closer than JFK for people in Central, Southern, Western, Northern, and specifically Eastern (i.e. Newark) Jersey.

2) I don't know about you, but unless you're going for an overnight business trip, there's gonna be some sort of luggage to lug arround. I preferably would never lug around luggage transferring between busses, trains etc.

3) Even I lived in Hoboken or Northern Jersey by the GWB for example, I still would go to Newark because A) it's closer (mapquest it), B) Newark airport is also accessible by New Jersey transit from anywhere NJT travels, if you wanna do the mass transit thing. So all I have to do is hop on a train and take the monorail and I'm in Newark Airport.

4) As for cheaper fares, when I talk about cheaper fares I'm talking about $100 or more cheaper, not $20. Plus the fares are occassionally cheaper. Usually they're the same price.

5) The only reason I would take JFK is if the airline doesn't fly to/from Newark. Ever since EWR became international the idea of finding an airline that doesn't fly from JFK is becoming obsolete (don't get me wrong, there are still a good amount of airlines that don't fly from EWR, but that number is decreasing).

rated:
WOW THANKS

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Thanks!

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If you can purchase a ticket with firm departure then use Southwest. Their 'Fun Saver' prices are 1/2 of the regular fare. Of course if your plans change then you are out some money.

Only available thru internet and they stick to the 14 day rule.

Example: Las Vegas, NV to Oakland, CA $80 each way plus 911 surcharge plus tax.

rated:
is the price on Orbitz round trip or it's one way tickect?

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Orbitz can be RT or one way.

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Thanks to all who posted- came across several sites I hadn't seen

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does anyone have any tips for changing reservations on flights? like trying to find a better deal?

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Does anyone know of any southwest promotional codes?

rated:
Great thread!
For Student tickets don't forget:
www.sta-travel.com
and
http://www.studentuniverse.com

Skipping 544 Messages...
rated:
Hi this is great post and share nice information . thanks for share this view

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