I spent the last few weeks searching for an inexpensive airfare to visit family for Christmas. I did an initial round of searches on every web site I could think of to get an idea of the current market price, then set up a daily e-mail notification on Kayak.com and checked flights almost every day. The lowest flight I could find was $277 if we were willing to leave at 6:30am or $297 if we left at the more reasonable hour of 9am.
Since our son will be two when we travel, we were going to have to buy 3 adult tickets, sending the cost of our trip into the 4 digit range. I considered alternatives like a train, bus or rental car, figuring if we were going to spend that much we might as well go in style and have some fun. The alternatives would take far longer than a flight and the cost savings wouldn’t be all that great when you took into account the inconveniences, so a flight was still our best option.
I read about various tips one can use to find the cheapest flight, like checking Wednesday morning when the new fares come out, or waiting until 4 weeks before departure to buy. I felt stock broker trying to decide if I should buy now or gamble on the price going down in the future. Since our flight was for the holiday season, known as one of the more lucrative seasons for airlines, I couldn’t imagine them reducing fares. My gut instinct said I should buy tickets and be done with it and I was about to do just that.
Then my wife checked Orbitz and in about 5 minutes had found a non-stop flight for $216 leaving at 1pm. I had checked Orbitz previously and their fares were about the same as Kayak, so I hadn’t bothered to check back because I liked Kayak’s interface more.
Thus my top secret method to finding low airfare is:
Let your wife do it. All the sites and tips don’t hold a candle to checking for flights at the right time with a little women’s intuition.
If you don’t have a wife or she isn’t willing to help you out on your endeavor, here is a collection of sites I compiled.