How to Get the Best Rate on Airline Tickets

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When you book airline tickets, do not just accept the first rate that you are quoted. It is possible to find the deals on airline tickets, but it takes time, patience and access to the internet. It is not necessary to contact the airline directly anymore. There are tools to bid and shop for flights as well as tips, like knowing when to buy, that can help you find the best rate on your airline tickets.

Things You'll Need

  • Access to the internet
  • Buy Early
    If you know your travel plans with enough notice to buy before three weeks in advance, buy. Statistically, airline rates are known to go up at three weeks, two weeks, one week and three days before the flight. For an overseas flight or end of the year, holidays it is best to purchase tickets months in advance.

  • Check Last-Minute Deals
    If you were unable to book your flight in advance and you are flexible with your schedule, you might benefit from deals on unfilled seats.Check directly with the airline to see posted deals. Next go to an aggregator like Priceline to bid on your flight. Check booking engines to compare rates or check posted last minute deals on Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and Cheapfares.

  • Fare Predictions
    Know the best times to book. Be mindful of off seasons and peak travel dates. For the northern hemisphere, the off season for travel is October through March; the shoulder season is March through June. A good reference for fare prediction is found on Bing Travel fare predictor. Check this site for specific predictions for your destination.

  • Compare
    Use the search engines to compare the cost of different airline flights such as Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Cheapfares and Priceline.

  • Be Flexible With Dates
    When you search booking engines, if possible specify that your dates are flexible. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the best days to fly typically. Flexibility will help you get the best rate.

  • Deal Alerts
    Booking engines will often notify you of airline deals with destinations that you specify as an interest. You can also register for weekly updates from booking engines like Kayak and Travelzoo for their top 20 deals.

Tips & Warnings

  • Utilize frequent flier miles.
  • Consider shopping for a package deal through a booking engine. Often, if you reserve a hotel room or rental car in addition to your flight, you can get a discount.
  • Bid for your best rate through a booking engine.
  • Ask for a refund if the price of your flight goes down, some airlines will redeem the difference.

References

  • Photo Credit figure of plane image by Petr Gnuskin from Fotolia.com
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