How to Score Cheap Airline Tickets

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The best price in airfare can be yours!
The best price in airfare can be yours!

Cheap airline tickets - everyone wants them but how do you go about getting them? The multitude of web sites touting cheap airfare is not your only option. Yes, the airfare ticketing system is tricky, but if you learn some of the ins and outs, you're more likely to locate airline tickets at a decent price, without killing yourself trying.

Start your search for cheap airline tickets 4 months before your trip IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. Experts believe the airlines start to tighten up their schedules at this time, attempting to get the most seats sold. Clearly, waiting to buy airline tickets 14 days or fewer before the flight is a bad idea because fares will be steep. Airlines know last minute flyers are their bread and butter, and they'll always be around bringing in the big bucks.

Visit the popular travel discount web sites like Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, and the popularly named Cheaptickets. Just remember, once you purchase an airline ticket on one of these sites, good luck making a change on it without incurring a hefty surcharge. These sites used to be the one stop shop for airfare, but they've stopped offering the deep discounts of the past. A stop on these sites is worth your time, however, in case they have some type of special running.

Go to the individual airline web sites. Most of the airlines are desperate - some are even filing Chapter 11, while others are barely making it month to month. The airlines want your business, and they'd rather have fliers come straight to them, instead of hiting the discounters first, so they are offering the lowest and best prices directly on their web sites. In addition, you are in a better position to change your flight for a minimal fee if you buy directly through the airline. In fact, Southwest charges nothing! (As an aside, many hotels are doing this as well.)

Search the airline sites on the weekend. In general, airlines tend to update their site content multiple times during the week, but only once per day on weekends, and many times sales show up on Friday nights. If you search early Saturday morning, you'll find that elusive deal you've been searching for.

When searching, leave the dates you want to fly "flexible." Of course, your dates are probably NOT flexible, but you need to do this so you can see the lowest fares possible. You will waste time if you've already found the rock bottom price, yet you continue searching and searching.

Pick a flight that leaves on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Also, make sure you extend your stay long enough that you are at your destination overnight on a Saturday. This one change to your trip can save you mega cash on airline tickets.

If nothing seems to turn up a cheap airline ticket, speak to a travel agent. Many times, they can drum up a deal that the average joe can't even get near. As a plus, they are lightening fast - travel agents know the airfare system since they deal with it daily. Use this valuable resource to your advantage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Airline ticket prices change frequently, check back often for the latest fares.
  • Save time and energy by finding a site that compares the fares found on multiple discount sites all at once.
  • Make sure the name printed on your airline ticket matches your passport (or ID) exactly, or count on paying a huge fee to change it.

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