New York City
How do you search for flights and how do you find flight deals?
Skip a travel agent, they never get you the best deal.
I like google.com/flights or google.com/flights/explorer or skyscanner.com to get me an idea of when the cheapest time to fly is. Expedia.ca or the actual airline you saw a deal for are usually the best places to book once you've found the cheapest times/dates on the other sites.
Usually flying on non-peak days at non-peak hours is beneficial as well. Tuesday and Wednesday tend to be cheapest days. It's also sometimes cheaper to do a multi-destination trip, which also helps if you're somewhere like Europe and you want to roam around and not worry about getting back to the first place you landed to get home. Surrounding airports are also often cheaper. It can sometimes also be beneficial to package some of your hotel stay with your flight.
Depending on where you want to fly, the tricks differ a bit.
Airfare Watchdog is an excellent service. You can enter info like your destination or preferred departure airport and it will let you know when hand checked low flights are available.
These aren't bots either, it's real people checking real flights. Great service. I'd check them out, for sure.
A good website is www.secretflying.com. They seem to have a lot of the error flights deals, and it's a good idea to check it daily. It is divided into deals from U.S or Europe. They also have hotel deals. I haven't been able to take advantage of any, but l know people who have.
Hey Johnny, Jake did a good job naming the best sights for research: Kayak & Hipmunk are my go to. If you're not sure where you want to go http://www.kayak.com/explore is always fun to play around with! You put in your home airport, and it gives you prices that other users have pulled up recently to different destinations.
I also check the airline website, for any additional deals. Sometimes you can book flights through the airline website direct that you could not get from one of these many sites. Southwest & Jet Blue don't list any of their flights on discount sites.
I go to a Travel agency and they do all the work . They don't charge a fee as they get $$$ for booking a trip .
There's no one service that I use over the other. I'm a bit of a hack, I guess. I use generally use Expedia pretty regularly for points, so that's where I often book. However, I typically always use Kayak and Skyscanner for comparing prices, especially since the search functionality is a little bit more robust since you can do broader searches. I'd recommend signing up for alerts, too, for Airfarewatchdog and TheFlightDeal.com. You can put in your home airport (or airports) and choose frequency of flight alerts.
The best way to find the current deals is to go to this thread in flyertalk (FT):
Many of the deals talked about in blogs will normally be discussed in this FT thread. In fact, many deals featured in blogs were actually found by members of flyertalk.
If you have a specific route in mind then I recommend you check the following:
#1) hopper.com and enter your route then signup for your origin city.
From NYC it will be http://www.hopper.com/deals/from/NYC
If you simply want to find out which dates are the best to travel for your known route then ITA Matrix and Google Flights (calendar) are very helpful.
If you really like to find and discuss travel deals often, the JOIN A FORUM.
A good place to start is the travelcodex forum.
Learn to analyze a deal instead of simply reacting to them.
YAPTA!!! Sign up for an account, do your flight search well in advance of your trip, click the flights you want to track and it will send you an alert every time the prices drop. Then get ready to pounce when you get the email.
Some of these were covered already but this is what we use:
I use this high-powered search tool, created by Google, to research possible flight itineraries. You can't book tickets from the site, but it has highly customizable search options and covers just about every flight out there. If you want to patch together a complicated route from various airlines, or find the best deal on business class for a six-day trip any time in April, you can do that and more with this site.The Flight Deal
If you want to keep tabs on unusually low airfares, this site publishes deals as soon as they become available. You can filter the posts for departures out of major cities. If you have an upcoming vacation and haven't decided where to go yet, this would be a good place to find inspiration and savings on your next destination.Kayak Explore
For simple travel itineraries, we like Kayak's search tool. And their Explore page is a fun way to find the cheap fares from your local airport when you don’t have a particular destination in mind. Want to go somewhere sunny in December? You can search by month and by weather on Kayak Explore and compare prices.Frequent Flyer Master
Hands down, the biggest way we've been able to exponentially increase our travel is through the accumulation of reward points and frequent flyer miles. It's often referred to as "travel hacking" (though I can assure, it is a legitimate endeavor completely unrelated to actual hacking!). Starting small with the Alaska Airlines award program and two credit card sign-up bonuses each, we learned the ropes with the Frequent Flyer Master guide. Created by Chris Guillebeau, a young author and entrepreneur who recently finished his quest to see every country in the world, this e-guide showed us everything we needed to know to quickly earn free flights.
Travel hacking does have a learning curve and takes some work, but a little extra effort goes a long way. If you can stay organized and are responsible with credit (i.e. pay off your credit cards in full every month), then I highly recommend this method for making your travel dreams come true. To learn more about how we got started in this "hobby," see our post on travel hacking with the Alaska Airlines award program.
In addition to all the tips given already, I set my browser homepage to TheFlightDeal.com (specifically the LAX page since I'm based in LA). When I open Firefox every day I get to look and see what the deals are.
Norwegian Air is a discount line that offers reallyyyy inexpensive flights (specifically to Europe), but they only depart out of a few US cities currently.
I answered a similar question here...
1. The best way I know to find the cheapest flights every time (especially when flying domestically) is to use the Google ITA matrix.
If you want to learn how to use the ITA Matrix (its fantastic and not that hard to use), check out this video we created. It's helped a lot of people already!
You can always double check what you find against:
and a host of others...
2. Sometimes the best deals are airfare sales. You can sign up for email alerts for the sales at:
3. And sometimes, there are "mistake fares" that come and go in a flash. Sometimes they're honored, sometimes they're not. But as an example, I'm flying round trip to Abu Dhabi in April for $178 round-trip thanks to a mistake fare and it IS being honored!
To catch them right when they happen, it's best to follow these guys on twitter and keep their SMS notifications on, so you will see when they find one!
Twitter handles (with that *at* symbol in front):
Or, subscribe to their websites and they will email it too. Unfortunately, by the time the email arrives at their given broadcast time each day, it may already be too late.
I highly recommend Priceline if you can be flexible and utilize the name your own price tool. I utilized a website through my job that was able to get us 10% off the cost of flights.
I would also recommend looking at package deals through Priceline, Expedia, etc. My husband and I were looking to get away for our honeymoon. An all-inclusive for three nights, 4 days including airfare is the same cost as just the plane tickets. If you have destination in mind, searching vacation packages can be a real bargain.
Lastly, I had heard the first week of October is the best time to buy flights. I tried it last year; I was able to buy my family of four roundtrip airfare from Atlanta to San Francisco for $1200 including insurance and taxes.
After trying many sites I now use www.google.com/flights and I always enter different airports nearby my hometown.
To search for different airports as a start and return destination I open two different pages and check on the calender "lowest airfare tab" to find the cheapest date - airline and airport combination.
Kayak is my starting point. Most of my trips are planned well in advance and are for a specific place and date in order to attend an event.. As soon as I know that information I start a Kayak scan with daily emails. Eventually a sale comes along, and I grab it.
Smaller airlines such as Southwest need to be checked separately, and tend to go on sale less.
I'm and travel agent and besides my usual tools, I love Skyscanner and Kayak. If it's an international flight we can often find lower fares with consolidators. The best thing about consolidators fares is when you do air and hotel together with one of my vendors you can make payments on the air and hotel as a package.
With domestic air, our rates are the same as you'll find on your own. So for most of my clients, I find the cheapest air and they book it themselves. airfare watchdog is a good site to help you learn how to find the best deals. I like Google flights but it's not my fav.
For flights bought in Europe skyscanner is a great search engine and I from there I buy directly in the airline site. Only if you are searching more specific flight you may have to do it only in the airline site, example were some flights I took in Indonesia between Java and Borneo, or flights within Ethiopia.
Most of the time I'm using Kayak to search my flights. You can add many filters and they are working with lot of airlines.
If you find an interesting flight I would advise you to search the same one but at different time of the day. Most of the time the price is based on who will buy it. For example for Ibiza, mainly it's young people who want to go there. So the price will be higher from 6pm to 2am for example as most of them will search for the flights around this time...
I subcribe to the newsletters of sites like expedia.ca, yulair.com, travelalert.ca. They give us the curent deals available.
You can most certanly find similar sites for US providers.
This is such a loaded question as you can see from all these great answers. I did a podcast episode outlining 8 tips for finding the best deals on flights. These are pretty much guaranteed to get you the best deal (without having the benefit of an airline discounted fare or something that is out of your control). These tips are the things you can control, and I highly recommend using them in combination - good luck! http://thebudgetmindedtraveler.com/best-deals-on-flights/