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Fare of the Day: Salt Lake City to Budapest, Hungary

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 29, 2010

Salt Lake City to Budapest, Hungary $580 round-trip, incl. all taxes

One of many great deals to Budapest available earlier today from Delta. For a complete list of current fares, please visit our Budapest page.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

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Fare of the Day: New York to Lewisburg/Greenbrier, WV

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New York to Lewisburg/Greenbrier, WV $227 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Good for travel over the July 4th holiday. Part of Delta's current sale to/from Lewisburg/Greenbrier. Available for travel through November.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

Should Airfarewatchdog have mobile apps and a mobile web site?

Do you frequently access airfarewatchdog.com info on your iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or other smartphone? How important is it to you that we develop a mobile platform and why? Please rate this "very important," "important" or "not important at all" by leaving a comment on our Facebook page (if you're a Facebook fan, which of course you should be!) or if you're not on Facebook, just leave a comment below. Thanks!

Also, feel free to tell us what other mobile travel apps and sites you use and like (or don't like!).

Categories: Airfarewatchdog News

Fare of the Day: Minneapolis to Sydney, Australia

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Minneapolis to Sydney, Australia $735 round-trip, incl. all taxes

This fare is available for travel on select days in May and June. Also available from other departure cities, such as Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City for about the same price.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

Web Specials from Alaska Airlines

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, April 26, 2010

Alaska has released their latest web specials, with one-ways starting at $99 before taxes. Rules and restrictions vary by route, though most are valid for travel from May 17 through May 30. Fares require a 14-day advance purchase and include:

Anchorage to Barrow $478 round-trip

Ancorhage to Sitka $378 round-trip

Cordova to Juneau $338 round-trip

Dallas to Ketchikan $596 round-trip

Eugene to Seattle $198 round-trip

Houston to Pasco $338 round-trip

Juneau to Yakutat $278 round-trip

Ketchikan to Walla Walla $465 round-trip

Long Beach to Seattle $198 round-trip

Portland to San Diego $198 round-trip

San Diego to Redmond $278 round-trip

Santa Ana to Wenatchee $278 round-trip

Santa Ana to Seattle $198 round-trip

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Airfare Alerts: And Another Thing...

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, April 26, 2010

Remember last week's comparison chart on airfare alert sites, and accompanying chitchat? Sure you do! Well, we mentioned it on our Facebook page too, and that got folks commenting. One such comment read as follows: 

The fare searching/alerting system at Airfarewatchdog (which generates commission revenue via Expedia which is the same company as Airfarewatchdog) doesn't perform as well as Kayak, in my experience. With Kayak, you get these great aggregated emails, one per day, with a variety of customized destinations of your choosing. You can also view charts tracking fare trends, and pull up recent fare search results from other users to get up-to-the-minute comparisons.

I don't have any relationship with Kayak, I just think people should know it's the best resource out there.


Sigh. Where do we begin? Yes, Airfarewatchdog was acquired by Smarter Travel Media, which is part of the Trip Advisor Media Network, which is owned by Expedia, Inc. It happened a while back. Not a big secret, and certainly not a big deal. We still retain our right to call 'em how we see 'em, which is why the majority of our deep links to fares are on Travelocity, Orbitz, and CheapAir, all of whom are direct competitors of Expedia. So much for the implication that our goal here is to make a commission via Expedia bookings. Heck, we've even been accused of being in cahoots with Travelocity, we link to them so much.

Why do we link to Travelocity and CheapAir so much more than Expedia? Because, almost all the fares we list can only be found by way of a flexible date search. Both Travelocity and CheapAir offer flexible searches over a period of 330 days. Expedia only offers flexible searches on major US routes, and only over a 30 day period.

As for the idea that Kayak is the best resource out there, well, uh, not so sure about that. Don't get us wrong. We like Kayak too, and use it quite a bit. But, just to reiterate our previous post, all of these sites have their limitations (including Airfarewatchdog, including Kayak, including the rest of them), and - as a consumer - it's in your best interest to frequent multiple sites. Here's a little example. If you decide to get your fare info exclusively from Kayak, and you searched for fares from Detroit to Orlando, traveling May 24 through May 28, your search would have returned a fare of $187 round-trip on Spirit Airlines, as seen below:

 

 

That's listed as the cheapest fare. But, if you were to search this exact same trip (same dates, same flight) directly on Spirit's web site, you'd see a fare of $123 round-trip:

 

Kind of a big difference. And, ahem, not to toot our own horn or anything but, Airfarewatchdog did send out an alert for the $123 fare (toot toot!).

Again, every site has their own merits, and it really depends on what you're looking for. Sign up for multiple alerts and you can't lose.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

Airfare alerts really work. Have you signed up?

By George Hobica

Airfarewatchdog.com

Just as it’s impossible to predict the stock market (why aren’t all those Wall Street prognosticators richer than Midas by now?), anyone who pretends to know whether airfares are headed up or down is just fooling with you. There are just too many variables, and airlines are just too capricious to allow themselves to be outguessed.

That said, over a dozen web sites will tell you when a fare on a route has gone down in price. They provide this service for free, and it’s the absolute best way to find a deal. Only caveat: you have to work fast. The best fares get snapped up and some deals last only for a matter of hours, or even minutes.

Lest you think that you can just sign up for one of these alerts services, you should know that they all work a bit differently. And lest you think that as the creator of Airfarewatchdog.com I’m a completely unreliable source, I’ll say that sites we’ve analyzed do a better job than we do in some respects. (Did I really say that? Um, yes, I did).

How do the various sites differ? For starters, some don’t all track every possible route or airline. Most don’t monitor fares on Southwest Airlines or uber-discounter Allegiant (to its credit, Airfarewatchdog does).

But what if you really only want to fly on the 9 a.m. Virgin America nonstop to Los Angeles? Or you only want to monitor nonstop flights on Delta? Then you probably don’t want to use Airfarewatchdog or Travelocity’s FareWatcher Plus, since these sites generally track only the lowest fare found, irrespective of specific travel dates, airline and other niceties. That’s where sites such as Farecompare.com, Bing.com/travel, or Yapta.com come in handy. For instance, with Yapta, after you search for a fare on a specific departure and route, you can choose to monitor only that flight. Just beware that if you are hoping that the 9 a.m. nonstop will go down to an affordable price and it remains stubbornly unaffordable, you may decide not to fly at all. So keep your options open and sign up for as many departures as possible.

To recap, if you’re flexible in your travel dates and want to visit an important client or a beloved relative only when the price is lowest, sign up for alerts that show you the lowest possible prices using a flexible travel date paradigm. Similarly, if you don’t even know where you want to go, but just want to go somewhere cheap, there are alert sites for that, too. But if you’re the picky sort and only fly United Airlines nonstops leaving between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and price is less important than convenience or frequent flyer points, then there’s an alert site for you, too. Please do take a look at the handy chart we’ve compiled, and if you find an inaccuracy (because, frankly, these alert sites can be pretty complex and do add new features), please leave a comment.

Categories: Airfare Tips

If United and Continental merge, what then?

The NY Times and Wall St. Journal and other media outlets are reporting that Continental and United have become more serious about a merger, now that the US Airways/United talks have ended. So would yet another mega merger result in higher airfares?

The stock market seems to think so. Had you you invested your nest egg in Delta Airlines' stock at its 52 week low, right now you'd be three times richer.

And if CO/UA merge, doesn't that mean that American, which would suddenly become just the third largest US carrier, would want to find a partner as well, perhaps in US Airways or, who knows, JetBlue?

So imagine a world with United, Delta, American and Southwest as the main domestic airlines. We'd still have AirTran, which could move into markets that the majors might have to abandon owing to overlapping routes, plus JetBlue, Frontier/Midwest, and Alaska. (Oh, and tiny Virgin America.) That's still a lot of airlines, and airlines have been notorious for being incredibly competitive price-wise, often to their own detriment. Plus, it's really not all that hard to start a new airline, especially now that credit is beginning to thaw. There are plenty of planes in the Mohave waiting for a new home. So we could see another David Neeleman jump into the fray and create a new airline to give the majors some competition.

Categories: Airline Industry News

Fare of the Day: Denver to Cancun, Mexico

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, April 23, 2010

Denver to Cancun, Mexico $196 round-trip, incl. all taxes

With a base fare of just $98 round-trip, the bulk of what you're paying here is taxes.

Available on select days in May.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

Chart: How airfare alert sites compare

The best way to snag a low airfare is to sign up for free fare alerts. Many sites offer this service. Here are how some of the top sites compare. What's your fave airfare alert site? (And no, you don't have to say it's Airfarewatchdog.com). Leave a comment below!

Website All routes? Limit on number of routes? Specific dates? Alternate airports?

Nonstop flights option?

Alerts include promo code fares? Allows subscriber to specify airlines?

Airfarewatchdog

How it works: You have three options: sign up for all low fares from airports of your choosing, including from nearby airports; all fares to a specific airport (e.g., all low fares from all US airports to Paris), or specific routes (LAX to NYC).

No, but includes Southwest and Allegiant
25 speciific routes, 5 "all fares from my airport" No (requires some travel date flexibility to get lowest fares)
Automatically included No Yes No

Bing.com/travel

How it works: Search for fare on a particular route and date, then click on "Track Fares" link for the same route/dates; or register/sign in and click on "Your travel account" to add new alerts.

Not quite all routes, and none on Southwest or Allegiant
No Only specific dates or weekend trips supported Not automatically included No No No

Farecompare.com

How it works: Choose a route, class, airlines, minimum price change to trigger alert, flexible or specific dates

Except those served by Southwest and Allegiant No Specific or flexible dates supported No Yes No Yes

Kayak.com

How it works: Register and add fare alerts individually; or search for a fare on a specific route and date, then click on "Get a fare alert"; choose exact dates or other dates by month; weekly or daily; sent 10-14 times before expiring. Some data may be 24-48 hours old. Or choose to see 25 best fares to cities in regions of your choice (Europe, Mexico, etc) under a price you specify.

Except those served by Southwest and Allegiant No Specific or flexible dates supported
No Yes No No

Orbitz.com

How it works: after registering, click on the above link and add alerts; choose specific dates or weekend trips only; you must set minimum target price (presumably you know what a "good" fare on the route is).

Except those served by Southwest and Allegiant No Only specific dates or limited flexibility (+/- 1 to 3 days) supported Option to include airports within 80 miles Yes No Yes

Travelocity.com

How it works: Click on above link, add route, choose to be alerted if fare goes down by at least $25 or below a price you choose.

Except those served by Southwest and Allegiant Up to 10 No (requires some travel date flexibility to get lowest fares) No No No No

Tripadvisor.com/flights

How it works: sign up under "Cheap airfare alerts" in left margin, or search for fare on any route, choose specific dates or flexible, and a pop up box offers to track prices for you.

Except those served by Southwest and Allegiant Up to 10 Specific or flexible dates No No No No

Yapta.com

How it works: Choose route and specific dates, travel times and preferred airlines, find flights,  then click on "Track price drops" link. Under "Settings," choose $5, $10, $25 or $50 minimum price drop. After you buy, sign up to track any fare drops, but only on some airlines and routes.

Except those served by Southwest and Allegiant No Only specific dates supported, down to specific departure times
No Yes No Yes
Categories: Airfare Tips
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