Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tips for Saving on Airfare Cost

As we all know, flight costs vary greatly depending on how early you shop for your flight, where you’re from and where you’re going, and your arrival/departure dates and times.  The costs change so much and so often, it makes it nearly impossible to gauge how to scout out the best deals.  Luckily, airfare expert, Rick Seaney, CEO and Co-Founder of, has devised complex software that searches fares for 500 airlines and 270,000 markets around the globe for over a billion combinations of flights per query.  Now we can all become travel experts!

So what's the best cost saving strategy?
FLY ON TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS! It boils down to the popularity contest we call supply and demand.  Vacationers are looking to max out their trip by leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday.  Alternatively, business travelers want to max out their time at home by departing Sunday night or Monday morning and returning Friday.  Airlines still have to fill their seats, so the do so at a reduced price, making Tuesdays and Wednesdays (and sometimes Saturdays) your best bet.

What other tips does Rick have for us?

Fly early February. This timeframe is not a popular vacation or business travel period.  However, avoid the host city for the Super Bowl (this year New Orleans) and Las Vegas (the next best destination for the big game).  Also avoid flying on or near Valentine’s Day especially in years when it lands on a weekend.

Fly late spring to Europe. The weather is beautiful but peak pricing does not kick in until May 15!

Fly on holidays. We already know you can get a cheap seat on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, but the same is true for July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day while everyone is out barbequing.

Fly the “dead weeks” of November and December. All the holiday travel around Thanksgiving and Christmas leave so called “dead weeks” during November (the first two weeks of the month) and December (the two consecutive weeks beginning the Tuesday after Turkey Day).

Shop on Tuesdays at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. Airlines run specials from Tuesday through Thursday so avoid shopping on the weekend.

Shop individually when flying together. Online reservations systems have to sell everyone in the group at the same, higher price.  If you shop for each ticket individually, you stand a much better chance of scoring the one-off pricing airlines use to fill as many seats as possible.

Don’t forget to check Southwest. This low cost airline does not allow its prices to be advertised on flight comparison sites like Kayak, Expedia, Travelocity, etc. so it is easily forgotten when searching for the best rate.

And if you’re really interested in scouting out the best deals, follow Rick and the FareCompare team on twitter.  Use ‘FlyFrom’ + your nearest airport code (e.g. FlyFromSFO for Bay Area travelers) and let the experts tell you the best deals around the country originating from your airport.
Safe Travels!

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