Airfare Tips - How to Find the Best Deals Online
by Mike Fridgen, guest blogger
The most common airfare shopping behavior today among online travelers is to shop with an online travel agency, like Expedia or Orbitz, and book direct with an airline site, such as AlaskaAir or jetBlue. In fact, travelers convert (from shoppers to bookers) twice as well at airline websites than at online agencies. The value in booking direct is clear.
When booking at airline websites you:
- Never pay booking fees – ranging from $5-$17 with online agencies
- Earn valuable bonus miles – generally 1,000 miles, worth up to $20
- Always see their lowest fares – not all agencies have access to airlines' web fares
- Get exclusive features – upgrades, web check-in, special offers
- Deal direct for customer service issues – no more calling an agency just to be redirected to an airline
Given that booking with airline websites provides the most value, the best place to shop for airfare is with travel search engines.
Benefits of shopping with travel search engines include:
- Breadth of fares. You can see all the airfare options available on airline websites with one search.
- Ease of use. Click through to the airline site to book direct instead. With online agencies, you need to open another browser and retype your search to book at an airlines' websites.
Popular travel search engines include Farechase, Kayak, and SideStep.
The savings in booking with airline sites really stack up when planning group travel. If it's a group of 10 or more, it makes sense to start with a group flight request form. Airlines will give additional discounts along with the benefits listed above.
Happy airfare shopping!
Mike Fridgen has worked in the online travel industry, as entrepreneur and marketing leader for such companies as Expedia, AlaskaAir, and others for 10 years.