How to take advantage of airfare wars

Claire Newell, Airline Industry expert and author of Travel Best Bets
April 15, 2009 5:15:30 AM PDT
Airlines are desperate for travelers, and consumers are benefiting. Comparing airfare at the same time last year when oil was $130/barrel, we are seeing fares on average down 30 - 40%?more - if you are traveling internationally.

Discounted Destinations - Nationwide
Ft. Lauderdale to Chicago $139 down 32%
Phoenix to Orlando $160 down 42%
Charlotte to San Francisco $218 down 44%

Discounted Destinations - Worldwide
Los Angeles to Sydney down 53%
Boston to Milan down 54%
Chicago to Dublin down 59%

Roundtrip prices/all taxes
Source: farecompare.com

Strategies for getting the best prices:

* the best prices will be for those departing within the next 60 days, go on-line for those?

* for Summer vacations wait a few more weeks when we will see the fares drop?bottom line is that if you are paying more than $300 for a domestic airfare this Summer, you are paying too much?you can get coast-to-coast flights for $199.

* Cheapest days of the week to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday.

* Cheapest time to shop for airfare is just after midnight Tuesday (the wee hours of Wed). Every Friday the price war cycle begins by the low cost carriers dropping their prices and the big carriers matching. The fares continue to drop daily until their final drop in price Tuesday. Those fares are typically loaded into computer systems to update at midnight on Tuesday. So book just shortly after midnight to ensure you get seats before they sell out.

* Do your homework: compare fares on-line, sign up for e-mail alerts from airlines, consider signing up for Twitter and follow airlines


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