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Rick Seaney on Today Show: How to Save on Summer Airfare

Rick Seaney Today Show Summer Airfare Prices

Did you happen to catch me on the Today Show?

If not, take a look at the video below. The report focuses on Memorial Day travel, but check it out because it also tells you a lot about what to expect for summer airline ticket prices. Yours truly notes note that summer airfare has already risen from $30 to $60 on average from the summer of 2010.

What you can do to save on summer travel: Find out the best day to shop for airfare and the cheapest days to fly, and also sign up for FareCompare Airfare Alerts, and we’ll let you know in real-time when prices on the trip you want to take come down.

Now here’s the video; if you have a moment, please let me know what you think on Facebook.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Fly and Drive: Save on Airfare to Yosemite, Other National Parks

Fly and Drive to Save on Airfare

The Airfare Expert: I don’t know if you saw my latest Airfare Expert column for USA Today on saving money with “fly & drive” combination trips; if not, here’s the condensed version.

I focus on Yosemite, but I think it could prove useful for travels to a lot of America’s national parks some of which can be a bit hard to get to (certainly by nonstop air service). Of course, the very isolation of some of these parks is a big part of why we want to get to them!

So here goes – and if you have any ideas or comments, let’s chat on Facebook.

Is it possible to fly & drive to Yosemite and save money?

Yes, and in this case, the more you’re willing to drive, the more you may be able to save. Here are some options:

Fly into Fresno: This is the nearest airport to Yosemite served by multiple airlines (though dominated by United); luckily, the Fresno facility is just about 90 miles away from the park, and out West, that’s no big deal. Bonus for travlers: easy in-and-out of the airport (and security) thanks to few crowds, plus no long haul to pick up the rental car.

Fly into San Francisco or Fly into Oakland: These bigger airports are dominated by United (SFO) and Southwest (OAK), and while flying to San Francisco or Oakland will increase the driving distance of your Yosemite (total drive time, maybe 3-4 hours or so), it could be more cost effective if you’re traveling as a group.

Tell me the best tips for cheap flights no matter where I fly.

Just follow these two favorite maxims of mine:

  1. Shop on Tuesday at 3pm Eastern; this is cheapest day (and time of day) to shop for airfare.
  2. Fly on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday; most often, the cheapest days to fly. Avoid Fridays and Sundays unless there’s a special fare – usually those are the most expensive days to fly.  

Any tips for the “drive” part of the trip?

Remember that parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone are in the high country, and snow in June and August are not unheard of. Check with the National Park Service for road closure information.

Bad Weather, Flight Delays or Cancelations and You

Bad Weather Flight Delays and Cancelations

So far, this has been a nasty year for weather: Lots of snow (remember the white stuff disrupting the Dallas Super Bowl festivities?) and lots of stormy weather.

Recently, FareCompare Editor Anne McDermott got caught up in some fairly run-of-the-mill storms at DFW that nonetheless disrupted her flight plans, but I’ll let her tell you about it – and how she coped:

“All I can say is, thank goodness I read Rick’s tips in Bad Weather Flight Delays and Canceled Flights: What to do Next because it really helped. I followed his suggestion to ‘multi-task’ by immediately getting on the phone as I also got in the long line at the American Airlines counter; the phone agent got me another flight so when I finally got to speak to the counter agent, I was all set. At least for the moment.”

“Unfortunately, the storms continued, and my back-up flight was canceled. The gate agent then got me on standby for another flight and I made sure I went to my newly assigned gate immediately because I knew that if I wasn’t present (or not close enough to hear them call my name for the flight), I’d be out of luck. As it turned out, there were plenty of people on the standby list who weren’t there when their names were called, but because I was, I was able to leap-frog over them and get a seat on the plane.”

“More great advice from Rick: I used a carryon bag – so I never worried about a checked-bag going astray in all the confusion.”

“By the way, I just want to add that every step of the way during this long day, the American Airline reps were just terrific – patient, calm and helpful; best of all, they constantly provided us delayed passengers with meaningful updates.”

This is Rick again, and I just want to remind all travelers out there that summer weather can be much worse than winter for flight delays and disruptions. If you’re always prepared, you’ll have a much easier time of it. And, as always, safe travels.

Airfare Expert: Save on Las Vegas Flights

Airfare Expert USA Today Cheap Flights to Las Vegas

Cheap Flights to Vegas

If you haven’t seen my latest “Airfare Expert” column in USA Today, I’ll give you a short version here, but do check it out; I think you’ll enjoy the behind-the-scenes insider info on airfares.

1. Are airfares to Las Vegas rising? 

Yes, they are and you can blame rising fuel prices. Look for summer airfare to be about 10% higher than last year.

Want to save on flights to Vegas? See this FareCompare exclusive: Cheap Flights to Las Vegas: Air Travel Cheat Sheet

2. What airlines are best for Vegas? 

Discount airline Allegiant is big in Vegas from a number of smaller towns, and Spirit has increased the number of its daily seats to Sin City by almost 240%. Warning: if you don’t pack carefully, you could get stung by the discount carriers’ relatively high baggage fees.

3. When to buy flights to Las Vegas? 

Book your airline tickets for June travel now, but wait a few more weeks if you’re planning to fly in July (especially the latter part of the month). As always, the cheapest day to shop for airfare to Vegas – or any U.S. domestic city – is Tuesday at about 3pm eastern time. Also note: the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Cheap Flights to Orlando: When and How to Find Airline Tickets

Cheap Flights to Orlando

My latest airfare column for USA Today is about finding deals to Orlando. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a down-and-dirty version, but please see Airfare Expert: Scoring a cheap ticket to Orlando for all the behind-the-scenes details (plus some fascinating charts).

Which airline to fly to Orlando? 

Chances are good you’ll fly a low-cost airline to Orlando. Southwest alone controls about 25% of all seats to Orlando and together, Southwest, AirTran and JetBlue fly half of all the seats.

When to buy tickets to Orlando?

Quick answer: buy as soon as possible, but not too early. If you buy more than three months before departure you may pay more.

Shop for cheap flights to Orlando on Tuesdays  

Tuesday is the best time to start shopping, specifically Tuesday at 3 pm Eastern. We know this because an airline typically launches a sale on Monday evening, and by the following afternoon, other airlines have matched the discounts to stay competitive. Note: these airfare sales typically last three days, meaning your optimal shopping window is Tuesday to Thursday. If you shop on the weekend, you will probably pay more.

Cheapest days and times to fly to Orlando?

Many of the lowest fares to Orlando are restricted to departures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, which are typically the cheapest days to fly to any U.S. destination. If this doesn’t work for your schedule, try to fly on at least one of these days, so you reap a partial cost benefit.

Don’t forget the baggage fees

Figure on $50 per person per checked-bag unless you fly the “free bag” airlines: JetBlue and Southwest. Personally, I always use a carryon.

Try this, too: sign up for FareCompare Airfare Alerts, and we’ll let you know when prices drop on flights to Orlando – or anywhere you want to go.

10th Airfare Hike Underway. Don’t Delay Buying Summer Airfare.

April 11, 2011 | Posted in: Airfare News,Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

10th Airfare Hike

Did you catch my latest airfare hike report from last week?

Yes, the airlines are doing it again – raising their ticket prices. This is the tenth attempt so far this year and it sure won’t be the last.

Take a look at another exclusive from yours truly called, 10th Domestic Airfare Hike Attempt of 2011 and then take my advice: do not delay getting your summer vacation airfare. TIP: If you’d normally wait until a couple of weeks before departure to get your airline tickets, don’t – not this year. Buy at least a month ahead of time and you can shop (and maybe buy, if the price looks right) about three months ahead.

Need some ideas? Check out the FareCompare Getaway Map to see at a glance the cheapest destinations from your airport. Once you know where you’d like to go, set some airfare alerts and we’ll tell you instantly when the best deals come along.

FareCompare: “Turning the Planet into a Wealth of Destinations”

FareCompare Planet Wealth of Destinations

Just noticed a nice little write up on FareCompare from my folks at the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia (hat tip to reporter Daniel Sieberg of KYW NewsRadio).

Here’s the glowing review of FareCompare:

“Not only does it look at the best deal on a particular date, it also turns the planet into a wealth of potential destination spots. There’s an app component that can alert you when a great deal pops up and help you book your future getaway. Just be sure to have your passport handy while visiting the site.”

How can you have such “wealth” at your fingertips?

  • Destination Tip #1: If you want to see a wealth of destinations, take a look at the FareCompare Getaway Map. It’s a great way to help you figure out where you’d like to go for your next destination.
  • Destination Tip #2: Use our technology to get deals from your airport via Twitter – just http://www.farecompare.com/when-to-fly/twitter/, and we tweet great deals – in real time – directly to you.

These tips really work: a whole bunch of people recently learned via FareCompare tweets about terrific airfare deals from their home airports to Hawaii – you don’t want to miss out on that, do you? I didn’t think so.

Ask Rick Seaney…What? Tell Me.

February 7, 2011 | Posted in: Ask Rick,Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

Welcome to Dallas Bad Weather Flights

I do a fair number of media appearances; so many, that some might accuse me of being an air hog, but the reason I do these broadcast and print interviews is because I genuinely enjoy sharing my knowledge.

Plus, after all these years, I still get a kick out of it any time I can save someone a little of their hard-earned cash (and I love it when I can save someone a lot of money).

So, I chat with reporters around the country. This week, for example, I’ll talk airfare via Skype with some of the folks at WKYC which is the NBC TV affiliate in Cleveland. They want to know, among other things, when is the best time to shop for airfare (short answer: Tuesday at 3pm Eastern). Which got me wondering:

What are the questions you’d like to ask me? What airfare tips and tricks are you most interested in? Tell me on Facebook; I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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