Booking airfare can be a tricky business. Fares can change by hundreds of dollars in a matter of hours, and with so many booking options it’s hard to know where to start. While calling an individual airline or going directly to their website are certainly options, this approach will limit your options of finding the best deal. The best way to begin is to access a website that pulls airfare directly from multiple airlines. A few to check out are:
- Bing Travel - http://www.bing.com/travel/
Bing pulls ticket prices from multiple major airlines and has a very user friendly interface. It also offers Farecast technology which utilizes past fare pricing data to predict if the fare is likely to go up or down.
- Expedia - http://www.expedia.com/default.asp
Expedia is a well-known interface that pulls information from most major airlines and is commonly used by businesses for their travel needs. Should you need assistance, their customer service is almost always prompt and helpful.
- Booking Buddy - http://www.bookingbuddy.com/
Unlike the other two sites, Booking Buddy pulls from the major travel sites like Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity, etc. You can access more information this way, but it can be less user-friendly.
Things to note:
- Mondays and Fridays are popular with business travel and often result in higher fares. Changing your travel dates by just a day can sometimes save you a bundle.
- Southwest Airlines (http://www.southwest.com/) often has great deals but their information isn’t pulled by other websites. It’s a good idea to check their website before committing to another flight.
- Priceline (http://www.priceline.com/) can save you money on airfare but is definitely a gamble. You enter your travel cities and dates and name the price you want to pay but once you submit this information, you’re committed to buying the ticket if your bid is accepted. You also don’t have control of the flight times or stops. If you’re a leisure traveler who just wants to get to your end point, this can be a great option.
Whichever route you choose, the most important thing to remember is that shopping around pays off. It’s easier to head straight for your favorite airline’s website but you never know where a great deal may be waiting. Best of luck and safe travels!