Here's a video about finding cheap airfares from cute CNETnews reporter Kara Tsuboi.

Here are the best travel news websites:

CNN Travel - http://www.cnn.com/travel/

BBC Travel News - http://www.bbc.co.uk/travelnews

USA Today - http://www.usatoday.com/travel/

New York Times - http://www.travel.nytimes.com

International Herald Tribune - http://www.iht.com/pages/travel/index.php

The Times - http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/

Guardian - http://travel.guardian.co.uk/

Michael Bluejay suggests:

#4  Fly mid-week if you can.

Weekend flights are usually more expensive because that's when most people fly. Flying midweek usually means a cheaper fare.

Sample fares we just checked:

  • $412 - Leave Sunday, return next Sunday
  • $337 - Leave Monday, return next Monday
  • $337 - Leave Friday, return next Friday
  • $314 - Leave Tue/Wed/or Thu, return next Tue/Wed/Thu

#5  Using neighboring airports sometimes gets you cheaper airfares.

Several times we've saved a lot of money by flying into the Newark, NJ airport instead of into a New York airport, even though each was about the same distance from our destination in New York City. Once we saved $200 by flying into Philadelphia instead of Atlantic City, then took a $6 train ride (1.5 hours) to Atlantic City. Travelocity and Orbitz can automatically search neighboring airports for you.

Kayak is nice by assuming you want to search nearby airports, and giving you a nice list of the prices for each airport it finds (rather than dumping all the results together). It's kind of slow, but not only is the nearby-searching feature nice, it also found our sample fare for $12 cheaper than Orbitz.

#8  Book multi-city trips using the special search

If you're traveling to City A, then to City B, then returning to your original city, use the special multi-city search provided by both Travelocity and Orbitz, instead of searching for three different one-way fares.

#9  For U.S. to Europe, fly to London first

Kelly Fine of Alternative Wedding Ceremonies writes: "We found that it was much cheaper to fly to London on one airline and fly from London to the Continent on another airline. This seemed to be true no matter what city in Europe we wanted to go to. And it was impossible to find a cheap flight from anywhere to Bratislava, so we found a flight to Vienna, which is only a little over an hour by bus from Bratislava. Flying into central and eastern Europe is much more expensive than flying to western Europe."

#10  Use the proper website to search for airfare

To get the best fare you need to use the airfare search sites tailored to your situation, as listed below. You should also check at least two of the sites listed because no one site consistently gives the best fare.

For U.S. fares here's what I usually do:

  1. Check Sidestep if I need specific dates (otherwise skip this step).
  2. Check Travelocity.
  3. Check Orbitz.
  4. See if Southwest or Jet Blue can beat any of the above.
  5. If not, then go directly to the airline's website for the cheapest fare that Sidestep, Travelocity, or Orbitz found, and see if the airline will give a better price directly.
  6. Go with whichever of the above is cheapest.

Michael Bluejay has a great post comparing travel search engines for cheap airfares.

Michael Bluejay has great tips for cheap airfares (domestic U.S.):

Fare Watchers

Fare watchers constantly monitor the lowest airfares to a particular city (or to a bunch of cities) so you always know what the best deal is at any given time. We prefer Yahoo, which shows you this information on your My Yahoo page (which we check every day anyway for news, weather, and stock prices). Once you've chosen your cities, the lowest prices are listed there for you every time you go to My Yahoo, with no extra clicking required. This is a good way to stay on top of cheap airfares to given cities. One catch, sometimes My Yahoo doesn't always show the lowest fare right away. (Once, My Yahoo showed the cheapest flight to Vegas was $260, but when I clicked it to find actual flight times, it found a $198 flight. The $198 flight didn't show up in My Yahoo until three days later.)

Weekly Internet Specials

Sign up at an airline's website and they'll send you an email every week listing what space-available flights they have for the upcoming weekend. It's certainly more convenient to use Travelzoo if you've decided to travel on a particular weekend, rather than looking through various weekly emails from the various airlines. But if you want details on great airfares to come to your mailbox every week so you don't have to go surfing for it, then this is what you want.

American   Continental   Northwest   Southwest   United

Northwest has these tips for securing cheap airfares:

Booking process
Usually online booking only, so no "person-contact".  You will want a web site which offers excellent security and privacy.  You will also want a web site that is user-friendly.   For example one that gives pricing information before you need to make a selection from a series of flight choices.  Or, one that saves your searches and allows easy changes of itinerary.   Economy Travel has a user-friendly interface.

Ticket type
Do you prefer electronic tickets, known as "e-tickets" or traditional paper tickets?  Tickets are often only issued electronically.  A way to see if paper tickets are offered is to check for home-delivery if that is your preference.  There are pros and cons with both types.

  • Paper tickets.  Need to be treated like cash.  Losing a paper ticket can be costly.
    They might attract a fee if you want to pick the ticket up at the airport.
    Not as readily available and convenient as e-tickets.
  • E-tickets.  Their main drawback is that the computer system in which they reside cannot always be flexible enough to deal with changing circumstances in the "real" world.  For example when a passenger cancels an e-ticket, it can disappear altogether before the passenger is reimbursed.
    Another problem is the computer systems used by the various airlines can't "talk" to each other, although the airlines are working to resolve this.   In the meantime passengers can have difficulty moving between airlines, for example in the case of delayed or cancelled flights, or even connecting flights.
    They still do not offer access to the full range of carriers and itineraries.

Time frame
Check whether there is a limited time frame between booking, paying for and using the ticket.   This is often the case with airlines posting last minute bargains.   For example, specials are often posted on the Wednesday before the weekend they are good for.   There might be certain required days of the week for departures and returns.  Make sure all these suit you.

Additional costs
Check whether quoted prices include additional mandatory costs.  For example:

  • tax charges such as US$2 on each flight segment
  • other airport taxes
  • passenger facility charges (PFCs) of up to US$12
  • ticket processing charges
  • fuel surcharges

Changing your mind
Check whether the ticket is refundable.  Online "specials" often are not.  How long will you have to wait for your money if you do get a refund?  If you can cancel a ticket, check whether there are penalties for doing so.  In the case of consolidators, this could be up to half of the ticket price. You can sometimes change flight schedules for an administrative fee; usually US$75.

Multiple specials
If you put several web specials together will they be ticketed separately?

Frequent flyer programs
Will the purchase go towards your frequent flyer account?  Sometimes bonus miles for booking online apply.  If using an airline's own web site, can you enroll in its frequent flyer program online?   Can you access your account online?

Here are some tips for cheap airfares:

How does $169 one-way to Europe sound? You can get ridiculously cheap airfares like this when you agree to carry a package as a courier. In fact, couriers sometimes fly for free. This requires a flexible travel schedule, but if that's you then you can score an incredible deal this way. Courier flights are usually only available for international travel.
  • AirTech. Offers fantastic rates to Europe, Mexico, and Hawaii.
  • AirCourier. They charge a membership fee but offer more services than AirTech. Unfortunately they sold our test email address to spammers.

There's a third site, AirHitch.org, but it's so incredibly user-hostile I wouldn't wish it on anyone. If you have a lot of patience you might be able to figure out how to get a good deal there, but when you have other alternatives I see no reason to bother.

U.S. to Bermuda, Cancun, etc.

USA3000 offers service between select U.S. cities and Bermuda, Cancun, La Romana, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana. In Sept. 2004 we checked and found a roundtrip fare between Baltimore and Bermuda for $160 (!), while the best Orbitz could find was closer to $400.

Other international sites

Other sites we found which have good international fares are:
  • U.S. to/from Canada: Air Canada
  • Canada to everywhere: Sears Travel
  • Australia to Australia: Fare Hunter
  • Europe to Europe: Momondo.
    • Momondo's flexible dates feature is awesome. It gives you a GRAPH showing the price for every single day in any month you choose. Sweet!

Tip for flying into Europe

Kelly Fine writes: "We found that it was much cheaper to fly to London on one airline and fly from London to the Continent on another airline. This seemed to be true no matter what city in Europe we wanted to go to. And it was impossible to find a cheap flight from anywhere to Bratislava, so we found a flight to Vienna, which is only a little over an hour by bus from Bratislava. Flying into central and eastern Europe is much more expensive than flying to western Europe."

Here are tips from about.com: