Getting a good airfare these days relies upon heavy duty legwork, or shall I say fingerwork because most of the tools you need can be found online. Some part science and a good dose of luck can lead to the illustrious “cheap fare” we all seek.
AIrfare is a significant part of your European travel budget and it pays to do your due dliligence and research and compare prices. If doing all this seems a bit much a good travel agent should be able to help you navigate this process.
Here are some tips for getting cheap airfare:
1. Check travel search engines and compare prices
* Don’t just check one, check all of them
* If you have some flexibility on your dates change the dates and see how that affects the price
* Sign up for fare watcher services
* This will give you a good baseline for investigating other price options.
* Experts usually recommend buying your ticket no later than 6 weeks ahead of time
Travelocity.com Expedia.com Orbitz.com
2. Check Meta-Search Engines
* Airfare aggregators search all the airlines directly as well as many cheap fare sites and airline Web sites.
* Kayak.com is another popular option for Travel Deals
3. Discount travel sites
4. Check airline websites directly
* Sometimes they will have special or discount fares that don’t show up in airfare aggregators search engines
* Remember to sign up to receive email notifications about specials
* European airlines can have suprisingly good deals as well
Air France (France)
British Airways (UK)
KLM (will redirect you to Northwest Airlines)
Iceland Air (Iceland)
Swiss International Airlines (Switzerland)
5. Airline Consolidators
* Consolidators buy tickets “wholesale” and then resell them to travel agencies.
* There are certain restrictions and penalties associated with purchasing from a consolidator so make
sure and read the fine print
* Pay with a credit card that offers fraud protection in case there is a problem with the consolidator you use
* They generally have cheap prices but they will not be able to beat a special fare that an airline might be running
nor can they compete when airfare wars are occurring
* These have customer service representatives that can help
6. Other useful sites
Farecast.com Their airfare predictions show if airfare is rising or dropping and based on that they can
recommend to buy now or buy later.
Is this alot of work? Yes, but it is worth it if you can save some money that can offset the cost of your trip. After doing all this homework you should be able to have a good baseline idea of what prices are for your particular itinerary. Knowing this will help you know a good fare when you see it and you can act fast and purchase it.