We cheapskates know that airfare prices can change at a moment’s notice, so we’re constantly looking for the very best deals.
But being a savvy shopper can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating – unless, you know what I know.
Keep reading for what I consider to be some very special insights, AND, an “insider” international airfare “trick” you’ll just love.
First, a Little Background
Consider that the airlines’ “product”, a flight, is a perishable commodity that airlines are required (by their shareholders) to maximize profit on.
And, to maximize profit, airlines have to know quite a bit about their customers: they gather data about passenger habits and get special insight through loyalty programs, plus they amass information on a daily basis by monitoring airfare purchases.
If only passengers knew as much about the airlines! That’s why most air travel shoppers don’t so much “find” great airfare deals, as “stumble upon” them. Call it luck, or call it shopping in the right place at the right time.
Here’s the deal: 100% of all air travelers want the cheapest airfare – unfortunately only about 10% will get the best deal on a particular flight. The other 90% are going to get a relatively worse set of deals (usually about 7-price point groups ranging from low to high).
Savvy airfare shoppers (those who wind up in the coveted 10% “cheapskate group”) have learned to use a combination of technology and insight (call it, education). And that’s what FareCompare.com does: we level the playing field with airlines so that our travelers get unparalleled technology, and “insider” insight (or education) to help them always make the best air travel purchasing decision.
Take a Deep Breath
Most airfare shoppers are impatient; they don’t take the time to use technology and educate themselves in order to find the cheapest deal.
And, to be honest I don’t blame them – everyone is busy and it’s difficult to get people to change their ways – but we will continue to educate and innovate to make this process as simple as possible – because this has become my work life’s mission.
Now, an “Insider” International Airfare Trick!
For those that have read this far, time to get to the meat and potatoes of today’s lesson:
Today I received a Free Airfare Email Alert; I’d set it up so I would be notified about great deals from Dallas to Europe, and the Email Alert informed me of several excellent deals to Spain, including one from Dallas to Malaga. (There were so many good deals, it had to be a big airfare sale, and, it was most likely on American, which is based in Dallas and has a lot of international routes–this is where education comes in).
It turns out the airline ticket price to Malaga is a ridiculously low $300-roundtrip; you then add the $200 fuel surcharge and the customary $100 or so in international taxes, but you still end up with a ticket in the low $600′s. An incredible deal! Well, assuming you can book it.
So I clicked on the airfare alert (or you can go to FareCompare.com, in big “Search Airfares” box, put in the cities, make sure Research is checked, then hit “Find“) and clicked on the month of March in the calendar, because it was the last month with that cheapest price and saw that this particular airfare is good for departures through March 31st (if you want to depart later than that, the price of the ticket doubles!)
So, I picked my dates: depart March 31st (last day it is good) and return April 7th and then I hit “search”. What??!! The results told me the cheapest price (on all airlines) was actually $1000 or more!
I don’t despair — because I have a plan of attack and I know a “secret” that I am about to share with you.
I then select the new AA.com “Compare To” function on the FareCompare result page which pops up a window and automatically does the query on AA.com to confirm the $1100 price isn’t a snafu… Yep still $1191 (screen capture shown below) out the door for my coveted $600 “out the door” airfare (obviously they don’t have seats on my day at that price??? )
But I don’t give up! (Here’s where education and technology really come in).
I “know” something that you probably don’t: I “know” that American Airlines doesn’t fly to Malaga — and yet they have an airfare to Malaga; instead, a partner airline handles that segment of the flight (British Airways). I also know American’s website, its reservation system, and purchasing technology was not built to handle partner airlines very well.
So I go back to our technology; you see, FareCompare’s “Compare To” function allows you to check multiple sources of information at the push of a button. I can check different airlines, even different information sources such as Orbitz & Expedia.
Armed with that knowledge, I go back to FareCompare’s “Compare To” function, and issue the query (ask for a comparison) on Orbitz, which I also “know” has the technology to properly price the American Airlines airfare and include British Airways as an AA partner (see the screen capture below).
And Voila! There’s my airfare, $633 from Dallas to Malaga, just as my Free Airfare Email Alert told me it would be.
So, while everyone else will be paying $1000+, I’m in the 10% “Cheapskate Club“, thanks to the power of technology…and, education.
Review: The Easy Steps to Cheaper Airfare on FareCompare
- Free Airfare Email Alerts: This technology lets you know a particular cheap airline ticket price exists and the dates it is applicable (and FareCompare’s Free Email Alerts get you this information before anyone else can).
- Research Date Search: This technology allows you to see days — including the last depart date (hopefully with better weather) that you can select for your dream trip and then helps you find those seats at the that cheapest price
- Keep Looking: It is possible a particular airline quoting system isn’t working very well (especially on international), there are several and each have there strengths and weaknesses — that’s why we provide several other systems to use for comparison purposes — more solid technology.
- Educate yourself: FareCompare provides all kinds of informative and entertaining news and blogs where you can learn about airline partners, tricks, tips, and more. And you can find new tips and tricks everyday; combine your “University of FareCompare” education with our advanced technology, and you come out a winner in the Cheap Airfare Sweepstakes.