BILLIE JEAN NATIONAL TENNIS CENTER
Finding the best airfare can be complicated and frustrating. How do you make sure you're getting the best deal on the already overpriced airfares? With dozens of websites available to search—sites where you can reserve tickets and some that search multiple sites and send you elsewhere to book. Add to this the recent consolidation of major players, and the addition of new ones—it's confusing and time consuming. Then there are the extra charges imposed by airlines for amenities such as assigned seats and carry-on luggage.
I guess it's no surprise that a recent article entitled “The Best Way to Find a Fare Online” peeked my interest. It was published in the Wall Street Journal on April 2, 2015; written by Scott McCartney. At the end of the featured story, he provides a valuable, no-nonsense approach to finding the best airfare. Here is what he has to say:
“Best advice for consumers now: Shop several search sites, such as Kayak, Google, Hipmunk or Skyscanner. They are strong and reliable, but have different features. See which ones you like best. Hipmunk shows options in useful time bars so you can easily schedule. Skyscanner lets you easily shop inventory available in other countries where airlines may be running specials.
Once you find what you want, book directly at the airline. Booking on the airline website gives you the best shot at accurate information about what you get—or don't get—with that fare, plus add-on fees or buying potential up-grades. You also stand a better chance of getting your Known Traveler number to TSA Pre-Check if you're enrolled.”
Note that the four sites he recommends are sites that do not book tickets —they send you elsewhere. Google Flights is a new search engine that is getting good reviews. The TSA Pre-Check is a real value—you don't need to remove computers and toiletries from your bag and you can leave your shoes.
Follow his guidelines. Keep it simple. Be flexible. Good Luck.