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ita Apr 5th, 2007 10:37 AM

method of obtaining best air fare
Do Fodorites find they get the best airfares by searching on their own or with a travel agent? I have tried to use some of the cheap online sites, but they don't seem to work if your starting point is in Canada. Also how far ahead should one book to get best fares?

AisleSeat Apr 5th, 2007 10:59 AM

I look at several sites frequently to find a decent fare but I ususally start with and

ira Apr 5th, 2007 11:00 AM

Hi ita,

>Do Fodorites find they get the best airfares by searching on their own or with a travel agent?<

There have been mixed reports.

Also try


jdraper Apr 5th, 2007 11:04 AM

I start looking early, nine months or more in advance, and look often until I have a good idea of the various fares and know a good deal when I see one. When you feel your pulse quickening and you start to perspire you know you have found that great fare so buy it immediatly. I say that only somewhat tongue in cheek because that is usually what happens when the great fare is found. I usually find the best deals on Expedia but I check numerous sites in the process of looking. The worst place I have found to look is directly on the airline website as those prices seem to be the highest.

alyssamma Apr 5th, 2007 11:07 AM


First, check out Look for the Mileage forums. You can find amazing deals there, but need to look daily as they don't last long.

For example, I just got a business class fare to London for $401 (total...incl. taxes).

Also, try This will show you when (i.e., what time of year) is cheapest.


missypie Apr 5th, 2007 11:08 AM

Funny method is the same as yours, but I typically find the best fares on

I look and look and look, so that I know a "good" fare when I see it.

jdraper Apr 5th, 2007 11:11 AM

missypie: You sound like you know that feeling that comes when the great fare is found. You should have seen me on Christmas day booking the tickets from Charlotte, NC directly to Munich round trip for only $258.00, including taxes and fees. That was the best Christmas gift I got that day and I was on a high for a week after I booked the tickets. The price was so good I bought four and called the SIL and told her they were going with us, Merry Christmas. Talk about your last minute Christmas shopping!

mari5 Apr 5th, 2007 11:18 AM

While the internet is good........I'd certainly give the 800 number a try for different airlines. or which Hub is closest to where you live.I usually start with them, get a "base" and feel of a price. TAlking with a human ,one can often get them to DIG around and come up with routings, non stops etc.
I wouldn't use a travel agent....some do, and that is their business,but one can often do better on their own.
REmember, you can fly open-jaw...into one city and out of another,,,not usually costing much difference.

missypie Apr 5th, 2007 11:28 AM is a fun toy! Thanks for the reference. It is amazing to see the seasonal rises and falls in some markets - Zurich, for example, increases very markedly, in the mid-late summer. However, Buenos Aires stays the same year round.

nyse Apr 5th, 2007 01:01 PM

And seems to be the same site as -- which surprised me. My kayak password works for farecompare. As mentioned above, it's very interesting!

Christina Apr 5th, 2007 03:18 PM

I just prefer to use Expedia or and then when I find something, I check the airline's own website. I also use for some discounts, but their offerings are limited. does have a few cheaper, it seems, not listed elsewhere, but most of their stuff isn't any good, I've found, or even higher. I

But my question is that I find that mobissimo (which I just tried, that's new to me) just seems to be, it just transfers you right to that website to do the search if you have a "multicity" search, or open jaw. I guess it does something different if you have a regular RT.

katzen Apr 6th, 2007 10:52 AM

I start looking for airfare at around 9 months out. I look at the airline sights as well as expedia, orbitz and travelocity. There are a ton of sites like expedia, etc, but for my trips they don't work because I'm usually looking for direct flights. I can usually find a cheaper flight on one of the consolidated fare sites but they are either connecting or horrible times.

I've had the best luck on the actual airline site. Last year I checked United daily which became cumbersome but paid off in the end when I found $700 r/t direct to Frankfurt for the dead of summer.

andasamo Apr 6th, 2007 05:23 PM

I live in eastern Canada and do not have nearly as many options as many folks. I checked my local airport website to find out which airlines fly from there, and now monitor those airline's sites for sales.

I use kayak and expedia to get a feel for prices, but those sites do not always include charter airlines, such as Zoom, Condor and Canadian Affair, which offer the cheapest fares from Halifax to Europe.

mkdiebold Apr 6th, 2007 06:08 PM

I'm curious. To those of you who "find good fares," where is your departure airport?

I live in Louisville, KY and although our airport is billed as international, the only planes that fly overseas are the UPS ones. We always must connect through another airport. Seems like our fares are always higher and options fewer.

The last 2 times we've flown to Europe we first drove to Cincinnati, which is really in northern Kentucky (maybe 75 miles)and flew direct via Delta/Air France. I don't think the prices were all that great, again because there is no competition in Cincy.

I don't regularly watch the fares from Louisville, but I strongly suspect that we never get the really good fares that some of you enjoy.

Any suggestions?

jdraper Apr 6th, 2007 06:21 PM

I have two international airports to choose from, Charlotte, NC is a 1 1/2 hour drive from home and Atlanta is a 3 hour drive from home. Once in a great while I get lucky and find the cheapest fare from my home airport of Columbia, SC but it usually has a connection in either Charlotte or Atlanta anyway and sometimes the flight and connection times far exceeds the amount of time it would take to simply drive to the other airport. I wish I was one of the lucky travelers in New York of Philly but I can't complaint with Charlotte and Atlanta available either.

mkdiebold Apr 6th, 2007 06:28 PM

It's a real bummer to be off the beaten path. I guess we could drive to Nashville which is about 3 hours from here. I find that a little scary since road work or an accident could tie up traffic and we'd end up missing the plane. Like I said, the folks on the east coast are very lucky indeed.

alyssamma Apr 6th, 2007 06:32 PM


Finding the right airport to leave from makes all the difference :)

Depending on how far you are willing to drive, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Dayton, and St. Louis are all possibilities.

Another thing to check is booking the air seperately. For example, Louisville-Paris might be $800, but Louisville to NYC is $200 and NYC to Paris is $400.

parisnow Apr 6th, 2007 07:12 PM


hopscotch Apr 7th, 2007 01:35 AM


Travelnut Apr 7th, 2007 08:01 AM

My experience between January and yesterday (looking for Florida-Italy tickets for Sept, fixed dates):
1. prices go up over the weekend, then usually back to set-point Mon or Tues.
2. be flexible enough to look at different connecting cities
3. check every day, sometimes more than once
4. consolidators may have some routes with lower prices, but less attractive times/ too-long or too-short layovers, or use a partner that you don't want. Some concern about problem resolution.

In my case, I wanted JAX or MCO to Rome, Venice return. Attracted to a flight connecting in Atlanta both ways at $1057 total/pp ( Saw it go as high as $1161, never lower than $1057. Preferred seats slowly dwindling (win/aisle over wing)

Noticed a flight connecting thru Cincinnati, prev. ignored b/c I thought that was going backward a time-zone, but it isn't. Saw it at $1050 while the Atlanta conn. was at $1100, but didn't have time to buy it. Gave it another look the next evening and it was now <b>$950</b> !! Jumped on that - so saved my family $107 each :) I'm happy.

pdx Apr 7th, 2007 08:17 AM

&quot;When you feel your pulse quickening and you start to perspire &quot;
Excellent, jdraper. That's the sensation we're all jonesing for.

Gunny Apr 7th, 2007 08:36 AM

We used a travel agent and she saved us $200 on each ticket (4 people going). I looked many times and continue to look but still haven't found a better rate than the one she got.

Gunny Apr 7th, 2007 08:38 AM

Sorry, hit the post button too quickly. I searched Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. I agree that the airline sites tend to pricier than the other sites. Kathie

_jinx_ Apr 7th, 2007 08:47 AM

When attempting to use airline miles for a ticket, call the airline directly rather than use the internet. I got a roundtrip from Austin to Glasgow from the friendly folks at American who routed me through Dublin where I connect with Aer Lingus on to Scotland. This for 60,000 points.
This itinerary did not even show on their internet site. Instead they offered roundtrip Austin/Glasgow for 100,000 points! A friend also had the same experience.


Jinx Hoover

kwren Apr 7th, 2007 09:49 AM

Prices can vary between calling an airline and using its website. I check both of those in addition to the sites listed above. I never get the best rate on one specific method, which is what makes this all so time-consuming.

I live near Harrisburg, PA. That is always the worst airport pricewise to fly out of, despite the claims that the new airport has brought prices down. We are always willing to drive to Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, or perhaps Newark if the price is waaay lower. It takes a long time to check all the sites for all those airports, but I have found good deals by being flexible.

mari5 Apr 7th, 2007 03:26 PM

sometimes: if one has to drive 3 hrs or more for a good price on a can factor in the price of an airport hotel the night before and still come out ahead....
This is certainly worth it, for the worry of driving more than 1-2 hours.

Time of year plays such a big part, so if one is flexible often one can &quot;fish around&quot; with the rep for a good fare...(OR trying different dates on the internet)
The idea of 2 separate flights (one to NY, another on overseas) is a good one farewise (sometimes),,,but you also have to consider that your luggage would not be checked through, and/or if you would be arriving and leaving from the same airport.

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