PDA

View Full Version : Those who get incredible FLIGHT deals..please share secrets...


TnTWalter
06-21-2006, 09:37 AM
Is there a certain time of year that the deals are better?
Certain website or airline?

I remember getting $165 per person total roundtrip non-stop last year Ind-MCO and thinking I had scored but others were getting even lower...

Now I'm looking and can't find anything below $200 per person. This adds up for family of 5.

I do have ding installed.

Please share secrets [besides the free Wendy's cups...LOL].

Trish

MyGoofy26
06-21-2006, 09:44 AM
Airfares are pretty much constantly fluctuating. I check a couple times a week when I have plans on the horizon and stay somewhat flexible (willing to move my dates by a day or two) I'll check sites like Travelocity using a flexible search for the month I want to travel and just watch those fares that come up for the month. When they get to a reasonable price, I check to see which days are available to fly and see if they work with my schedule.

One thing that has NEVER failed me, but I understand why some people panic about waiting, is waiting until about 8 weeks before departure date. I start checking almost daily at about 10 weeks, but at around 8 weeks the prices bottom out and will at least match, if not beat, the best fare that was ever released for that flight. The price drops usually happen and last from 8-6 weeks before departure dates. I guess if I lived near a small airport that had a tendeny to sell out flight I'd be more worried, but there are so many flights out of Pittsburgh that I can always find open flights on sale so I never hesitate to wait it out. Like I said, it has NEVER failed me - I even managed to fly to Rome with just 1 stop (best you can do from Pittsburgh) days before Easter for under $400 round trip with all taxes and fees.

Oh and of course there is Ding if you're flying from an airport that has Southwest. I don't worry about the price with Southwest since you can keep cancelling and rebooking, never really losing your money (at worst it's a credit to use on your next trip)

MEM
06-21-2006, 09:45 AM
Ding worked for me as well as haunting the transportation board on disboards. I am fortunate to live within an hour or so of three major airports - Boston, Manchester and Providence. Also try searching on http://www.kayak.com for flights

ceecee
06-21-2006, 09:51 AM
My SIL told me to check at midnight on a Wed. I did get a really good flight last year by doing that. I would check the airlines website 3-4 times a week and waiting is hard but you can usually save that why.

Chicago526
06-21-2006, 10:18 AM
One thing that has NEVER failed me, but I understand why some people panic about waiting, is waiting until about 8 weeks before departure date. I start checking almost daily at about 10 weeks, but at around 8 weeks the prices bottom out and will at least match, if not beat, the best fare that was ever released for that flight. The price drops usually happen and last from 8-6 weeks before departure dates.

Generally, this is a good stratagey. Just be aware that it CAN backfire on you if you are traveling over a holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break) as those flights tend to sell out months in advance. Also, you need to be flexable with your times, popular flight times are the first to go and the good prices may be gone at the 8 week mark, leaving the good deals on less popular flights. If you need specific flights or you are traveling over or near a holiday, this stratagey may not be for you.

My best advice is to just keep checking (and checking and checking and checking) and make sure to use all sources of tickets, internet booking engines, the airlines individual website, and travel agents (who still can sometimes beat online sources, even with the service fees they charge). Be flexible, consider alternate airports, dates, and travel times. Once you find a fare you can live with, jump on it. While it may go down further, it may also go back UP, too. If you hold out for an even lower price, you may regret it.

justcantwait
06-21-2006, 10:27 AM
They're taking my 2 kids and my niece and nephew at the end of August. Flights were running about $290-$300 (and are now up to $333!). I'm signed up with Delta's SkyMiles program, and they send me emails every week with deals going on. I got one that said "$99 one way - Hartford to Orlando", checked the dates, and they worked, so I checked the price. It was actually $137 ROUND TRIP! So, they saved about $1200 on airfare alone. I don't know if it works for everyone (hasnt' worked for me...yet!), but it's another way to get information. Hope it helps!

Kathy

aclov
06-21-2006, 11:25 AM
Try signing up for the airlines newsletter, I get one from United. You can also try Travelocity Fare Watcher Alerts. You put in your criteria and they will email you. I hate shopping for airfare because there just isn't a right way of booking a cheap flight.

jeepgirl30
06-21-2006, 11:43 AM
No major secrets here but be sure to sign up for all the frequent flyer and guest accounts. You can earn miles and stays with Hilton. A lot of the hotels let you transfer hotel points to miles. USairways gives you bonus miles for online booking.

I'm amazed at how many people do not sign up for hotel and airlines because they don't think they'll use them enough. Most never expire so why not?

SarahKate
06-21-2006, 12:04 PM
If Southwest has your cities, you should download DING! It sits on your computer "shelf" (where you see the clock on your desktop) and if a new deal happens it will Ding at you. This is a much more timely way to get discount airfares, it's quicker than if you subscribe to their emails.

It really amounts to being diligent. I had to be VERY patient. I knew that there were good deals to be had and I had to stop myself when they opened up our dates. It was about 3 weeks after they released our dates and I got the Ding one day after lunch with a $59 each way fare from St. Louis to Orlando! It was worth every hour I spent checking. Total for 3 of us to fly was just about $350!!! The sales usually just last a short time (maybe 4-6 hours), so you need to be around to get the Dings. Luckily I have an admin assistant job and am on the computer ALL the time! And you can only get these fares through Ding - you won't see them if you just go to their website.

nicdanh
06-21-2006, 12:30 PM
We downloaded ding and just hoped for a great fare and for us we got 5 RT tickets for 107.00 a piece. We are going in Sept and are thrilled that we got such a great deal from Ding.

CheapMom
06-21-2006, 01:31 PM
I second DING! Also- you can sign up for Travelocity fare watcher when prices change from XXX airport to XXX airport. Travelocity automaticallys email me whenever fares go down $25 ( I chose $25- can be any amount you specify,) from my city to MCO

lnh'smom
06-21-2006, 02:05 PM
I just checked flights from IND to MCO for May 3 thru May 12 (that is where we fly out of too). Price including tax was $197.70/person with Delta. No discounts or anything. Also checked United and American and they were $300 something and $500 something. I didn't think that was bad at all.

TnTWalter
06-21-2006, 02:13 PM
200 pp is not good enough for me unfortunately. I received $165 TOTAL pp last time. I'm trying to get closer to the $100 RT deal that nicdanh received.

I guess I'll just hope to get DING'd with a good rate.

Trish

bahogg
06-21-2006, 03:09 PM
I like the website www.cheapair.com

It is best if you put in that your dates are flexible and check everything that is available. After finding the best fare I then go to that airline's website and purchase it there to avoid the service on cheap air. I am in Detroit and saved $600 to travel out of Indy last year, maybe you can do the same by checking out other airports. :sunny:

gottaluvdis
06-21-2006, 05:28 PM
I just got $165 pp r/t non-stop Manchester-Orlando for the end of August. That's actually pretty good. It was $265 when they fares were first announced, then $195, now $165. I'll re-book if they DING again, but I'm satisfied with $165. I paid $225 in February (due to school break time). Just keep constantly checking DING, and try to fly Tues or Weds.

Shagley
06-21-2006, 06:32 PM
I see that Airtran currently has some $49.00 one way tickets out of Detroit for some days in September. You may want to check to see if they have any cheap deals out of Indy.

Redwitch
06-21-2006, 07:31 PM
http://www.kayak.com/ and http://www.sidestep.com/air/ are good search engines for flights. However, they do not include Southwest.

ClarabelleCowFan
06-21-2006, 07:55 PM
http://www.kayak.com/ and http://www.sidestep.com/air/ are good search engines for flights. However, they do not include Southwest.

Actually I have found Southwest rates on sidestep before - not sure if they pulled from the SWA site or some other site with SWA rates like Travelocity or CheapTickets.

Trixiezzz
06-21-2006, 08:31 PM
1) I agree: Ding!
Last year we got 'dinged' with a $34 fare to Orlando and were able to change from our $89 fare to the ding one. Saved us a bunch.

2) AirTran Wendy's Cups!
I know the deal is over and there's no way to take part in it now. But I'm just so tickled with the great deal we got!
Collected 64 cups each for the 4 of us and just last month got back from flying roundtrip to Los Angeles.....4 people for $48 TOTAL!(that was the tax).

I didn't really believe it was going to work....right up until we boarded. Then, I'm pinching my DH saying, we are FLYING for FREE!!!!!

So, I guess the moral of the story is that SOMETIMES these "deals" really are worth participating in! :yay:

Now, if Wendy's would just come out with a deal for sailing on DCL for free, I'd really be excited! :boat:

suzannews
06-21-2006, 09:25 PM
I second or third or maybe fourth...sign up with DING!

We just booked $39 from Orlando to Detroit.

aka-mad4themouse
06-22-2006, 09:02 AM
Start you rsearch for the number of people in your party. For example, we almost always fly with 4 people. If I can't find a decent airfare for all 4 of us, I do a search for 3, then 2, then 1. Most websites are set up so that if you ask for 4 tickets and there are 3 available seats at a lower price, that price will not come up in the search. If a great rate shows up for just one person, I book an adult with that rate. If it's for 2, then I book one adult and one of the kids. This way, even if the reservations get changed (flight gets cancelled and passengers get rebooked on different flights), the kid are travelling with at least one adult.

Another trick, travel at off-peak times. This may mean catching a redeye flight into Orlando the night before or an early-morning flight out of MCO the day after your stay ends. Sometimes I've found it cheaper to book the inconvenient flight times and then stay in an inexpensive hotel for the night, than it is to fly in/out on the beginning/end of my resort stay.

Travel off-peak days. For MCO, Fri., Sat. and Sun. are the busiest days. Lots of cruise ships departing on Sat. & Sun. plus many people begin and end their vacations on those days. So competition for the "best" flights and fares for those days will be greater than trying to find a decent flight on a Tuesday morning.

Lastly, use frequent flier miles, even if it's for just one or two tickets. Paying $200 for two tickets and getting two FF tickets is like getting 4 RTs for $100 apiece. It softens the blow to your wallet considerably.

TnTWalter
06-22-2006, 12:09 PM
I figured out how to keep it active [my norton antivirus was messing it up] so maybe I'll get a $39! That would be awesome!

Trish

Barbers2005
06-22-2006, 12:19 PM
Like others said, check often for the best rates, and don't limit yourself to one carrier. Dh is a fanatic about getting cheap fares. He keeps an eye on the prices for the major discount sites (travelocity and priceline, mostly). Once a really low rate comes up, he goes directly to the airline website b/c they will usually beat the travel site rates. Also, make sure to check for codes for the airlines, both on their individual websites and on travel sites like mousesavers. If you live near a few major cities, check the rates for all of them, because one may be significantly less. Using this method, Dh got tickets for six from NY to Orlando for $125 each.

HM
06-22-2006, 01:20 PM
200 pp is not good enough for me unfortunately. I received $165 TOTAL pp last time. I'm trying to get closer to the $100 RT deal that nicdanh received.

I guess I'll just hope to get DING'd with a good rate.

Trish

You might not get as good a fare as you are used to.

I have always been able to get a fare of less than $100 pp for our flights using SWA to Orlando during Aug-Sept. This year I haven't seen the flight come below $189 pp for the dates I'm going. Currently they are around $211. I ended up booking on Delta for $117.20pp when it came up a few weeks ago (hasn't been that good since).

I agree that you just have to check every day at all your alternative and find a price that won't break your budget and go for it. I don't think you'll find the "cheap" fares without a lot of pixie dust!

gosoxb
06-26-2006, 08:39 AM
Anyone have any idea when southwest will release dec 2006 dates?

SarahKate
06-26-2006, 12:00 PM
Southwest typically releases 5 months, so probably in July sometime. Be sure to download Ding so you can keep an eye on them!!

gosoxb
06-26-2006, 12:09 PM
Thanks Sarahkate

princessjv
06-26-2006, 04:36 PM
When oh when will SW come to Minneapolis/St. Paul? I am lost in a sea of airfares that are ranging from 268-400pp :furious: for my January trip...yikers man!

crisi
06-26-2006, 04:51 PM
When oh when will SW come to Minneapolis/St. Paul? I am lost in a sea of airfares that are ranging from 268-400pp :furious: for my January trip...yikers man!

Yep, I'm in MSP too. And airfare is ludicrous from this city. Even having Airtran available hasn't helped. We are paying over $300 a person for October. We could have gone cheaper, but I'm not spending four hours in Atlanta to save $30 a ticket......

CJMZ
06-26-2006, 06:40 PM
Another good site to try for comparison is

itasoftware.com

It is a website created to include all possible flight arrangements,
and can be viewed weekly or monthly for best rates.
It does require a login, but it is the one I always check first.