Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finding the best airfares

Step 1 - Choose the destination

The Sunday Journal recently ran a story on finding the lowest airfares. It lays out the process of finding those cheap fares, beginning with a site where the traveler can choose his destination. is a good first stop for leisure travelers with flexible travel dates or locations. You may want to visit the Caribbean sometime this summer, for example, without having a particular city in mind.
The Getaway Maps link mentioned in the article is located here. I started by selecting the airport I wanted to fly out of. I could also have chosen a city, and used all the surrounding airports as the starting point. Then I was able to select from a general region (Europe, Caribbean, Mexico, etc.) and get a list of the destinations from cheapest to most expensive. I chose New York as my starting point, and the Caribbean as my destination. Then I drilled down into Bonaire, and the site showed me what month of the year had the cheapest flights (January, February, March and April, which seems counterintuitive since that's the high season in the Caribbean.)

Step 2 - Choose how soon to go

After choosing the destination, the next step in the article is selecting when to buy the tickets. helps travelers time the ticket purchase once they've decided on a destination.


Travelers can get a graph showing fare history on a select route, along
with a prediction of whether they should buy now or wait a few days.
Farecast didn't have predictions on ticket price changes for a trip to Bonaire. However, it did list about 50 or 60 other cities where I could get predictions on ticket prices over the next 90 days. Most of the destinations were domestic. The site has a pretty straightforward interface. Having used many online flight search tools, it was easy to figure out.

Step 3 - Get a refund if the ticket price drops

Finally, after purchasing the ticket, the article notes a site that can help you get a refund if the ticket price falls. This is especially relevant for the leisure traveler who may be purchasing the tickets far in advance., launched this year, watches fares for specific flights. A handful of airlines, like United andAmerican, will sometimes issue credits if the fare drops after the ticket

Yapta keeps tabs on users' itineraries and sends an email when fares dip, so they can circle back to the airline and ask for a voucher or partial refund.
The link to check on refunds is here.

All in all, an informative article with some good tips.