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5 Things Airfare Shoppers Need to Know to Find Cheap Flights

January 18, 2011 | Posted in: Multimedia,Tips and Tricks,Travel Tips | 0 comments

Want to find cheap airfare? Of course you do – you wouldn’t be visiting FareCompare otherwise, because that’s what we do.

Earlier today I appeared in a Good Morning America report on airlines and fees; if you didn’t catch it, take a look at the video below..

Then, be sure and take a look at the Five Things Airfare Shoppers Need to Know, just after the video.

Five Things Airfare Shoppers Need to Know to Find Cheap Flights

Follow these tips – or as many of them as you can – and you will save money. Quite a bit, in some cases.

1. Shop for Airline Tickets on Tuesday at 3pm Eastern

I’ve been watching this rule play out for the past several years, and I know it works – because no airline wants to offer fares even a dollar more than its rivals. See for yourself: 

  • Normally, an airline (or two or three) will launch an airfare sale Monday evening
  • Other airlines then begin matching the new lower prices
  • This matching is typically finished by 3pm Eastern Tuesday

2. Be Flexible – Travel Days

Fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays: These are almost always the cheapest days to fly. Avoid travel on Fridays and Sundays, usually the most expensive days to fly.

3. Be Flexible – Time of Day You Fly

These are usually the cheapest times to fly: 

  • Fly at dawn, lunch time, the dinner hour, as well as the later evening hours
  • Catch an overnight red-eye flight

Fly when most people don’t want to fly, and you will save.

4. Fly in-and-out of Major Airports

Larger airports, especially airline hubs, have cheaper airfare prices. Not always, but usually. Here’s an easy way to find the best prices: 

Look at the prices you’re sent and decide if a longer drive to a larger airport makes sense for you.

5.  Don’t Pay Airline Fees

Always avoid the worst of the airline fees and we show you the prices in the FareCompare Domestic Airline Fee Chart

  • Use a carryon bag: a single checked-bag adds $50 to your airfare price
  • Pack a lunch: do you really want to pay $10 for a meal you don’t like?
  • Bring a neck pillow and a sweater: JetBlue and US Airways now charge $7 for a pillow/blanket combo while American Airlines charges $8

US Airways Flight Diverted After Dog Bites Passenger, Crew

December 8, 2010 | Posted in: Pets,Tips and Tricks,US Airways | 0 comments

dog bite dulles airport

Did you hear the story about the dog with “jet rage”? It kind of reminded me of that angry JetBlue flight attendant who cursed out passengers and eventually left the aircraft via the emergency slide. But at least he didn’t bite anyone.

Mandy, a 12 pound Manchester terrier did bite. She bit a passenger and crew member and ran up and down the aisle of a US Airway Newark to Phoenix flight, barking all the way. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh (a precautionary measure – no one was badly hurt).

What happened? Mandy’s owner – an 89-year old woman from New Jersey – let Mandy out of her cage.

Big mistake. You are not allowed to let an animal out of its cage on a plane. Little Mandy showed us why!

That’s just one of things you’ll learn in my new article called “Pet Travel Tips for the Holidays“. It’s handy if you’re bringing Sparky home for Christmas, and it’s handy anytime you want to travel with your best friend. There’s a fun video in the article too featuring yours truly and a Basset hound named Clementine.

A note of caution: as I point out in the article, not all animals are good travelers, and some cats and dogs might be better left at home. Like Mandy.

Cheap Flight Tips in the Fee Era: Rick Seaney on ABC’s Nightline

December 4, 2010 | Posted in: ABC Column,Airline News,Multimedia,Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

Did you catch my appearance on ABC’s Nightline last night?

I provided the analysis for Ryan Owens’ report, “Breakin’ the Bank to Fly” (also featured: Steven Slater, the one-time angry, fed-up flight attendant).

As I noted, in general airline fees target “unloyal” families of four (non-miles program members), but see for yourself in this very entertaining video – then check out my tips to avoid airline fees, below:

However, you can still avoid the worst of the fees by following these simple tips:

Five Ways to Avoid Airline Fees for Cheaper Flights

1. Check a Bag: Use a carryon and avoid the roundtrip bag fees of up to $50 per bag

2. Fly a Free Bag Airline: Both JetBlue and Southwest will give you free checked-bags and the FareCompare Domestic Airline Fee Chart will show you what others charge

3. Don’t Book until Trip Dates are Firm: This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many try to change flight dates after purchase only to learn about the $150 “change fee”

4. Bring Your Own Food and Entertainment: There are no more free meals in coach, plus a lot of airlines charge for snacks and WiFi; brown bag it, and don’t forget your book (or Kindle or iPad)

5. Fly Nonstops: If you’re stuck in a middle seat because you didn’t pay the “seat selection” fee, it’s a lot easier to endure cramped conditions on one flight instead of two

Airfare Deals for Memorial Day Weekend: Not Too Late (Yet)

May 19, 2010 | Posted in: Deals,Holiday Travel,Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

airfare deals memorial day weekend

No, it’s not too late to find a good deal for flights during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend - but you’re cutting it close.

Some ideas:

  • Low cost carriers: Focus on AirTran, JetBlue, Southwest and others as you are not yet inside their 7-day advance purchase window
  • Budget: Check the cheapest prices in the U.S. (and beyond) by using FareCompare’s Where-to-Go cheap flight finder for May with a $300 air travel limit (or set the limits to any amount you’re willing to pay)
  • Surcharge: many airlines will include $30 airfare surcharges (folded into the price of your ticket) for travel May 27 and May 28
  • Cheapest day to fly: probably Saturday May 29

Please take a look at How to Get a Last Minute Memorial Weekend Airfare Deal for more advice and tips.

Cheap Summer Airfare: Avoid Blackout, Surcharge Dates

cheap summer airfare blackout surcharge dates

Attention, summer travelers: You’ve seen this before – airlines advertising sales with “some blackout dates” – meaning days when the sale prices don’t apply.

To add insult to injury this summer, some of these “non-sale” days also include special “peak travel day” surcharges – that make these flights that much pricier.

Be alert for blackout dates and surcharges especially around holiday periods, year round.

For example, the blackout days for the current AirTran sale that ends May 6 include Memorial Day (May 31). Flying that day will not be especially cheap – nor will flying on the Fourth of July, thanks to the “peak travel day” surcharges some airlines have added.

In fact, this summer, it’s going to be difficult to avoid “peak travel day” surcharges – because there are so many of them.

Let me show you why – and tell you how you can still save on summer vacation travel. So keep reading…

Cheap Summer Airfare: Avoid Blackout, Surcharge Dates

FareCompare in Top 10 Twitter List – for Cheap Flights

April 19, 2010 | Posted in: List,Tips and Tricks,Twitter | 0 comments

farecompare top ten twitter cheap flights

Entrepreneur Magazine has named FareCompare to its annual list of Top 10 Twitter Feeds, or as they put it, one of the “10 of the best Twitter feeds to follow for the latest in travel deals, news, advice and entertainment”.

Here’s why:

FareCompare’s  real-time alerts tell you when airfares drop on flights from your city. Or plug in your home airport’s three-letter code to follow a “flyfrom” feed for specific fares (such as flyfromLAX or flyfromJFK and you can sign up for that here – takes no time at all).” - Entrepreneur, May 2010

And don’t forget, you can also follow FareCompare Deals, follow my blog, or follow your home airport. Oh, what the heck – follow them all.

Don’t know twitter or tweets from a hole in the ground? I used to be that way too - but there are some excellent reasons to get into it, as you’ll see here: “Twitter – Who Needs It? You Might – for Cheap Flights”. And by the way, it’s really easy. Seriously.

For Cheapest Vacation Flights, Don’t Fly on Weekends

cheap vacation flights weekends

This is becoming a standard restriction for new airfare sales – the cheap flights advertised are available only during certain weekdays or on Saturdays. And this is true just about any time you purchase airfare.

The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and sometimes Thursday.

And here are some examples of current sales that bear this out: 

The reason? Airlines know that everyone wants to stretch out their vacation time by flying weekend to weekend – and they make you pay for that convenience.

Generally, the worst days to fly are Friday and/or Sunday (as my editor found out to her sorrow). Here’s a tip: if you must fly one of those days, try to make the other date a Tuesday or Wednesday, and you’ll at least net some savings.

Rick on TV: When to Get Cheap Airfare, TSA Scans and Row 13

Thought I’d share a segment I did this week for WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas” – it’s a mixed bag of tips and tricks and maybe you’ll find it helpful.

Don’t worry, it lasts less than 5 minutes:

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