Friday, April 22, 2011

Booking Cheap Airfares Like A Pro

With the sun peeking out, is it time to book your summer getaway?  Pauline Frommer, a budget travel writer (and daughter of Arthur Frommer) thinks it's the perfect time for June.  As for July or August, you should watch and wait.  Her tips for finding the best airfares include:

1) Book on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the lowest fares.
2) Include a Saturday night stay for the best deals.  Business travelers don't want to stay the extra night.  Airlines know this, and charge accordingly.
3) To get the cheapest fares, book from 24 days up to 2 months in advanced.  If you book too far in advanced, for example, 10 months before a trip, you are less likely to get a discount.
4) Avoid booking on weekends.  Prices can be slightly higher, and since decision-makers are off, fares rarely drop on Saturdays and Sundays.
5) Some hotels will reimburse your “checked baggage fees,” so remember to ask.
6) You pay an extra $25 for booking over the phone, therefore go online to save $25, instantly.
7) Usually you get lower fares by booking on aggregator sites versus the individual websites of airlines, or 3rd parties.  Aggregator sites search for cheap fares on multiple travel sites simultaneously -- including airline and third party sites -- without charging booking fees.

Travel experts stress:  Compare several aggregator sites for deals.  And be persistent.  Check back often for drops in ticket prices.

Here is a consensus of reliable aggregator sites to check.  The following 3 appear on everybody's list:

Other websites give you great budget travel advice:
AirplaneBing Travel – Tries to predict the best time to book airline tickets.
AirplaneTrip Advisor – Is user-generated content; fellow travelers post information and reviews.
AirplanePauline Frommer's “Spend, less, see more”page – Is an overview of helpful hints.

Armed with tips from the pros and the ease of the internet, you can book your flight and still have money left to spend on vacation.

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  1. Lots of useful info. I just told my wife about booking it on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for her next trip to visit her friends and relatives.

  2. Sailor, I hope some of the information helps your wife get a great deal. Although not mentioned by travel pros, I always check Cheaptickets. com too. Also good.

  3. Also use two different computers, with different IP addresses and also different repository for cookies (digital variety, not oreos). I have found on airline websites, if you come back a second time, ie you are browsing / shopping, they raise the fare. With two different computers, when you re-visit, you will get the lower fare.

    My evidence is not scientific, anecdotal only, from JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines.