Buying an airline ticket used to be as simple as contacting a travel agent or making a phone call directly to the airline through which the traveler wished to fly. The traveler did not have many opportunities to save money on his airline ticket, but there were not many choices available anyway. The best money saving opportunities the traveler had in those days was flexibility. If he was available to travel during off peak times or on unpopular travel dates, he may be able to save on his flight.
Online Travel Agencies
With the arrival of the internet and online travel agencies such as Travelocity and Expedia, finding the best price on an airline ticket is not as difficult as it used to be. Travelers can now get online and compare prices between airlines, plugging in different dates , times, and airlines to find the best available deal. The website, Priceline.com even allows travelers to name their price. If Priceline can find an airline which is willing to give the customer the price they bid, then that customer can save a lot of money. The major drawback to Priceline is that, in order to get the deal, the customer may have to be willing to be much more flexible than he would like to be.
Travel agents are also another good source for travel deals. Professional travel agents, many times, bring enough customers to an airline, that the airline is willing to negotiate prices with them in exchange for customers. Sometimes that travel agent can also negotiate special prices on rental cars or hotels, along with the cost of the airline ticket.
Be Flexible on the Airport
Sometimes it pays to check the prices of different airports. The fees at some airports are considerably higher than the fees at other airports which may be located just a few miles down the road. If you are willing to spend some time on the road before catching your flight, you may be able to save a lot of money on your tickets. Many times, the airline which will offer the best deal may require you travel to an airport some distance away. The traveler needs to consider all costs of traveling to decide whether the extra travel time is worth the savings he may be able to get on his tickets.
Plan Well in Advance
If the traveler knows his travel dates well in advance, it would be wise to start checking the online travel agencies months ahead of the dates he will need his tickets. Patience is the key in this situation. Airlines have regularly scheduled deals which may come up at intervals throughout the year. Sometimes they will disclose this information ahead of time, and other times they will not. Some will allow travelers to sign up with them, giving them their email address and the cities from which and to which they would like to travel. When a deal becomes available, the airline will send an email to the customer. Watching and waiting is the key in being able to grab the best deal when it becomes available.