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Fare Finders | Tips for getting better fares

October 2017 update:

How to Choose an Air Travel Search Site - The New York Times Jan 2014
"The sites you've certainly heard of - Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz - were all dependably similar, their lowest offerings rarely differing more than a few dollars.
Most of the bigger sites (notable exception: Expedia) offer to find you cheaper flights if you're willing to fly one to three days earlier or later. but these days their systems seem inflexible, and the resulting grids dizzying. Much better are the far more intuitive bar graphs you get on Momondo and Google Flight Explorer.
Some sites are particularly pleasant to use, in both superficial and substantive ways: Hipmunk's graphic displays of flights and layovers; Kayak's input simplicity; Momondo's clear presentation of great information about options. The Best Online Travel Sites 2017 | Top Ten Reviews - Best for Airfare - Orbitz.

The 5 Best Airfare Sites of 2017 - - Priceline, Cheap Tickets, Kayak ,

Fare Finders 1999

(From top 100 e-commerce sites PC Computing July '99. Travel sites are the top e-commerce category. They will account for 25% of the $8 M in online shopping revenue this year.

25 Best Travel Sites at Oct. 2006

  • Aggregators.
  • - fetches fares (plus hotel rates and other travel products, if you ask) from more than 120 sources. Click on the best deal, and will send you to a site where you can buy the ticket.
  • -
  • Fares for Southwest and ATA aren't shown on and most other Web sites. But at, you can check fares for both Southwest and its partner airline ATA.
  • predicts whether fares on most domestic routes will go up or down.
  • offers international tickets on more than 60 airlines and generally a broader selection than rival sites.

In a 2005 USA Today article "SideStep displayed flights and fares from 18 airlines; Orbitz displayed 13, Kayak 10, and MSN Expedia and Travelocity only six each." consolidates searches from other sites, Kayak, Mobissimo, Qixo, SideStep or do the same thing. will notify you when rates change.

Ranked according to rataings ([Score = 9-25] by Mobile Computing & Communications (defunct now) Nov. 2001
* - Can bid on tickets.

European sites like often return better rates than US sites.

Best for Car Rental: ,   PriceLine, Orbitz
  See also Car Rental
Best for Hotel: will search other travel sites for you.

Best for hotels:

Tips for getting better fares:

  • When to book:
  • Always buy your tickets at least 14-days in advance of your departure.
  • According to, Wednesday is the best day to get a deal on an airline ticket. Do not book over the weekend. Wednesdays is when arilines typically release internet-only fares.
  • Days to travel:
  • says, "Fridays and Sundays are the busiest days of the week to travel, which also makes them the most expensive.
    Midweek flights Monday through Thursday tend to be cheaper, and red-eye or midday flights can also cost less.
  • says,
    • Cheapest Travel Days are usually: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
      But check other days, sometimes Monday may be cheaper.
    • Most Expensive Travel Days: Monday and Friday
    • Cheapest Time of Day to Travel: Evening (except on Friday and Sunday)
  • The difference between weekdays and Sunday seemed to be more for major cities (e.g. San Francisco) than smaller cities (e.g. Sacramento) see below.
  • Most of the fare finder sites allow you to check multiple dates with a button on the search page. Travelocity seems to do this best.
  • Holidays: Thanksgiving, New years, the Sunday before memorial day or labor day are also usually cheaper.
  • The rule about staying over Saturday doesn't apply any more.
Price Predictors:
These will give you a history of how prices tend to change as you get closer to your travel date.
Note: Kayak and Bing gave me different answers for a trip 10 weeks out. Bing said to wait, Kayak said to buy.

Kayak gives you a graph

Bing: Select flights at Bing Travel.
At the top of the list they will an indicator with something like:
Tip: Wait·Fares dropping $50+·80%+ Confidence.
Tip: Buy·Fares rising or steady·68% Confidence.
You may have to wait a 10 seconds for this to show up.
Predictors are only available for economy round trips within the next 6 mos.
When I tried this in the spring of 2013 I got.
4 weeks out - Buy fares rising; 7 weeks out - Buy rising or steady; 2 mos out - wait

I did some sample fare checks for Newark, NJ to Sacramento, CA:

  • Wed to Wed in 2011 was the same as Sun to Sun on both United and Contintal.
  • Wed to Wed in Sept. 2010 was $50 less than Sun to Sun on United and the same on Continental.
  • United and Continental were lowest on Orbitz and Kayak, Continental showed a lower pice on their web page but when you read the fine print they did not include about $40 in fees. Kayak and United web sites included the fees.
  • Newark to San Francisco was about $85 less with United on Wed to Wed than on Sun to Sun.
    It was less than Sacramento on Wed. and more than Sacramento on Sunday.
How to Get Cheap Airfare - Last Minute Cheap Airfare - Cheap Airfare Robots at
Travel Tips/Top 10 Lists » The 5 Rules to Finding Cheap Airfare Sales at
Cheap Airfares: Michael Bluejay's how-to airfare guide

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last updated 12 Aug 2010