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Flight purchase advice

cbarr0288 49 16 November 27, 2015 at 06:37 AM
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Hi, would like to talk about your general practices in finding a good price on a flight. I've searched the kayak mobile app, but could only find a round trip for 550 from ROC to SAN 12/29 to 1/5.

Is that an ok price? Kayak doesn't support specific airlines like southwest maybe I should search individual websites? Any advice would be appreciated .

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#2
Check out these tips on how to book the cheapest flight possible: http://www.thriftytraveler.com/ho...-possible/

Google Flights is the best tip.
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#3
i agree the good flights is better
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#4
Kayak is a great starting point for any kind of flights. Also Google Flights. Also SkyScanner. Generally speaking, your best prices are going to be around 6 weeks out, or if the flight is undersold, about a week or two out when they try to fill it. Also if possible, try to fly off-peak - can make a huge difference. For example, the cheapest flights from ORD to LAS are on Mon, Tues, Wed. Cheapest return flights are Wed, Thurs, Fri. So if you're gonna do a week in Vegas (I don't know why you would, just an example) do a Wed-Wed, not a Sat-Sat. Also keep in mind hotels are most expensive on Friday and Saturday nights.

For domestic flights (and if your home airport is good for this) - sign up for the discount airline emails (and maybe even join their club). I am a Frontier Discount Den member (Spirit $9 Fare Club also a solid option) and the $49 membership price already paid for itself - a month ago I (+1) went to Denver for $30 round trip. Flying to Miami for $50 next week. Yes these discount airlines suck and everything costs extra but remember you don't have to buy the extras - get a good under the seat bag or backpack, bring your own water bottle, and don't pay the $5 fee to choose your seat, let them assign you a random one for free.

For international flights, don't forget to check the other country's airline for deals. Not only are European and Asian airlines better in terms of customer service - if you can do ORD to HK for $650 on Cathay Pacific vs $800 on AA....the choice is obvious.

And just on a personal note - always check the airline's website directly. There might be additional promotions that the big travel sites (Kayak, Orbitz, etc) don't catch. Typically the price is the same. Book directly with the airline if there is no price advantage to book elsewhere because from what I've read, if there are problems, you will have an easier time getting customer service than if you booked through a discount site.

Also don't forget about SkipLagged. I've never actually found it to give me the cheapest deal with a hidden city, I bet it has something to do with ORD being my home airport and it's literally a hub for everything, but YMMV....
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Last edited by munkymonkjr December 3, 2015 at 08:27 AM
#5
I usually check http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

You can't buy a flight there, but you can compare prices. You can look at flexible dates and nearby airports. Do be careful that the flights are round trip to the same airport. If Southwest is an option for you, you will have to check it at their website.

Good advice from Munkymonkjr -- when all is equal buy from the airline. We bought tickets through a travel site and expected to hit heavy traffic getting to Logan airport in Boston, but we sailed right through. We were over 2 hours early for a flight to NY. Even though there was plenty of room on the earlier flights, we were told that we could have flown standby only if we had bought the tickets direct.
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#6
There are too many variables to generalize.
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#7
I guess my mentality towards the "cheapest flight" is completely different from the OP. I don't like or trust any of those services. Kayak, Orbitz, Cheap-O Air, they are all the same to me, I think they are a joke, their prices aren't even that different. I just stick with Southwest and use their frequent flyer program. I get free flights all the time, justifies the few tickets I buy every year. You can't beat free. This is more of a long term mentality, but in my opinion, long term strategies trump short term almost always.

I just redeemed my United flight miles for free flight to Amsterdam in September. I booked it with 2 weeks notice. That ticket would have been a lot more expensive if I had purchased through Orbitz or one of those services. My Chase credit cards allow me to get points and apply them towards free flights.
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#8
Quote from Ayahuasca View Post :

I just redeemed my United flight miles for free flight to Amsterdam in September. I booked it with 2 weeks notice. That ticket would have been a lot more expensive if I had purchased through Orbitz or one of those services. My Chase credit cards allow me to get points and apply them towards free flights.

Very happy for your award tickets, but your experience is probably a once in a lifetime fluke - to have an international award seat available so soon to departure date means you probably caught the right window for a cancellation
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#9
Quote from megakimcheelove View Post :
Very happy for your award tickets, but your experience is probably a once in a lifetime fluke - to have an international award seat available so soon to departure date means you probably caught the right window for a cancellation
Not really. There were many MANY openings to Amsterdam. In fact, I was only planning on spending 3 days in Amsterdam so I didn't bother to book it. When I finally decided, someone took the last ticket on Thursday so I had to take Wednesday which forced me to spend 4 days in Amsterdam instead of 3. It was pretty much wide WIDE open.
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#10
I found award availability to Lisbon just a couple of weeks before departure. This was on United, as well. I've done well with booking award trips for European travel on United.
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#11
Quote from thumper1 View Post :
I found award availability to Lisbon just a couple of weeks before departure. This was on United, as well. I've done well with booking award trips for European travel on United.
My problem is that we've thrown our lot in with American and OneWorld... which means the only award ticket availability short term goes through Heathrow, and you know what that means for fuel surcharges.....Mad
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#12
Quote from megakimcheelove View Post :
My problem is that we've thrown our lot in with American and OneWorld... which means the only award ticket availability short term goes through Heathrow, and you know what that means for fuel surcharges.....Mad

IIRC Aer Lingus was joining oneworld pretty soon, which'd give you a way into Europe that avoids London
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#13
Quote from Knightshade View Post :
IIRC Aer Lingus was joining oneworld pretty soon, which'd give you a way into Europe that avoids London

I know - we're very excited for that - can't be believe I'm actually thanking BA for something! (buying AerLingus). It can't happen soon enough, but still no firm dates have been communicated yet.
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#14
See if you can get any sort of ticket price insurance - I don't know if you can for international flights etc but I purchased two seats in a sale that ended up being $1400 less a month later in the carriers 'none' sale.
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#15
Quote from megakimcheelove View Post :
My problem is that we've thrown our lot in with American and OneWorld... which means the only award ticket availability short term goes through Heathrow, and you know what that means for fuel surcharges.....Mad
Yes. Certainly does add to the cost of trip. We were lucky we were able to avoid Heathrow.
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