Comparing prices on airfare is a daunting process. It always has been, and while the Internet has given us access to more affordable flights, the number of options out there can be paralysing. Having a systematic method for comparing flight prices is extremely helpful in making you feel confident in your purchase. By checking many sources, communicating directly with the airlines, and carefully choosing your flight dates, you can be sure you're getting the best deal available on your flight.
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Search for your desired flight on your favourite airline's website. This step establishes a baseline price with which other prices will be compared. If you don't know what airline to choose, just pick one that you have flown with before and would be willing to fly with again.
Visit a flight aggregator. This might be one of the more widely advertised websites such as Travelocity or Orbitz, but there are also many other sites that many people are unaware of such as Kayak. Search for your flight and get an idea of how much the average difference is between these prices and the baseline price you obtained on your favourite airline's website.
Check budget airlines. Ryanair and easyJet are examples of budget airlines and neither advertise their fares on aggregators such as Kayak. If there is a conveniently routed budget airline, these prices can be drastically less expensive to the point where the ticket is cheaper than checking your luggage. These flights are known to have fewer features on their flights, however, so whether or not this is the right choice for you will depend on whether budget or comfort are more important.
Talk to the airlines again. If you still aren't satisfied with the results, call an airline and mention some of the prices you've found with competitors. Ask them if they can beat or match that price. Proceed to do this with other airlines quoting the price each gives you.
Change your search criteria. Change your airports or the date you fly on if you can. There are different sources with different tips on what day of the week is cheapest, with many experts saying that airline ticket prices are reset on Wednesday at midnight. While booking in advance may be more affordable most of the time, if you are willing to risk it you may have some success getting a last minute airfare deal.
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