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Cheap Air Fares FAQ
Version 1.0 - June 25, 2002

· How to get the most from this page
· International vs. domestic fares
· TMFKojo's article
· General travel info
· Consolidator info
· Bid for tickets
· Travel portals
· Airfare search engine
· “Space available” flights
· Courier flights
· Discount airfare sites
· Youth travel sites
· Frequent flyer resources
· Airlines: U.S.
· Airlines: Canada
· Airlines: Europe
· Airlines: Central/South America
· Airlines: Africa/Middle East
· Airlines: Asia
· Airlines: South Pacific
· Airline quality
· Practical matters
· Other online fora

How to get the most from this page

Welcome, Fool! If you're looking for great investment ideas, well – this isn't the board for you. We're here to help you save money the next time you take to the skies. You'll have the best chance of success if you do some homework first before posting a request for help, and the links you'll find below will give you a great head start.

First, there are two articles that I think everyone should read. Not coincidentally, they're the first two links you'll find below. One is TMFKojo's article from October 2000 detailing the air fare search procedure she uses, which is an excellent starting point. The other is the Bucket Shops FAQ, which gives great insight into the strange, warped world of air fares.

Start by snooping around various sites to see what you find. At each site you visit, make sure you read the “fine print”. Some sites' prices don't include taxes or fees, others do. Some show only tickets that are actually available, while others will “bait and switch” you with low, albeit sold out, fares. Some sites have poor reputations for customer service – check previous posts on this board (or post a new one) to see if anyone has any opinions on a ticket vendor, good or bad.

Don't overlook airline web sites, as they sometimes have Internet-only specials. Others may offer a nominal discount for buying a ticket online. If you want, many airlines will e-mail you their latest specials each week (Icelandair's Lucky Fares are a shining example). Some airlines hold online auctions (TAP Air Portugal comes to mind) that can be a great source of bargains. And some airlines (Icelandair, SAS, Virgin Atlantic) are known for having good prices for tickets.

There are also those “no-frills” airlines that are simply cheaper than the rest. Europe is bursting at the seams with them – Go, easyJet, Buzz and Ryanair are the main ones. Most fly in and out of London, so a cheap option may be to find the most inexpensive flight to London that you can, then complete your journey with the no-frills carrier (However, note that this may require a time-consuming transfer between airports). In the U.S. Southwest is the king, but others seem to be popping up every day. And in Canada, WestJet provides welcome relief from Air Canada's stranglehold.

Smarter Living ( offers an excellent e-mail newsletter full of travel deals. Also, check out FatWallet (, which offers online coupons which could save you money at some travel sites (including Delta, OneTravel, Orbitz and Priceline).

If you can be a little flexible in your travel dates, you may have better luck finding cheap tickets. Play around with different combinations of dates – some sites will do this for you automatically. You may also find better deals by flying out of or into alternate airports. You may want to look into “open-jaw” tickets, where you fly into one city and return from another – these are usually no more expensive than ordinary return tickets, but can come in very handy. However, not all online ticket sites offer open-jaws as an option.

Don't limit yourself to the Internet. Sometimes, a professional travel agent can find better deals than you can, so don't hesitate to ask. Call a few travel agents and see what they can find. If you're in a larger city it can be useful to check travel agencies in ethnic neighbourhoods, as they'll likely specialize in cheap fares back to the “mother country”.

Finally, when you post your request for assistance on this board, be specific. Tell us where you're flying from and where you'd like to go. Give us as specific dates as possible, both outbound and return. And tell us what cheap fares you've found so far. We'll do our best to try and save you some cash.

Happy travels!

International vs. domestic fares

If you're thinking about travelling overseas, this section of the Bucket Shops FAQ is a must read:

In a nutshell, air fares within North America are deregulated, and the airlines can charge pretty much whatever they want whenever they want. However, international airfares are fixed by a cartel. This means that (from the aforementioned FAQ), “Much of the confusion about airfares comes from the fact that there are completely different systems of airfares for domestic flights within any given country and for international flights. Domestic and international airfares, and the optimum consumer strategies for dealing with them, have nothing in common.”

As a result, sites that have excellent deals on domestic air fares may not necessarily be the places to go for cheap international tickets, and vice-versa. Expedia and Travelocity, for example, are quite strong in the domestic realm but usually cannot beat a good consolidator for international tickets.

TMFKojo's article:

Consolidator info:

Airline Ticket Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ

General travel info:

Budget Travel

Finding Hotel Bargains


In Your Pocket (city guides)

Lonely Planet

Only Travel

Practical Nomad

Rick Steves Europe

Travel Library


Bid for tickets:

Daily Auction



Sky Auction

Travel portals:

American Express (ITN) (Europe)






Airfare search engines:




“Space available” flights:


Air Tech

Courier flights:

Air Courier Association

Air Courier Directory

Air Courier Travel

Global Courier Travel

Discount airfare sites:
Note: sites that only offer international tickets are noted with [I]



11th Hour Vacations

Adventure Bound [I]



Airfare Planet

Air Tickets Direct

Air Treks (multi-stop & round-the-world specialists) [I]


Big Ben's Travel

Cheap Seats Travel

Cheap Tickets

Discount Flights

Europe By Air (cheap flights and air passes) [I]

FareBase (U.K.) [I]

Farnley Flights [I] [I]


Go Today [I]

Herman's (Canada) [I] (U.K.) [I]

Last Minute Travel

My Travel

New Frontiers [I]

Smarter Living

TFI Tours

The Travel Site


Travel Now

Travel Secrets

Travel Select

Travel Team [I]



World Wide Air [I]

Youth travel sites:

Council Travel

Kilroy Travels (Europe)

STA Travel

Student Universe

Frequent flyer resources:

Flyer Talk

Mileage Workshop

Web Flyer


Note: there are literally hundreds of airlines operating around the world – far more than possible to list here. For a more comprehensive list try here:

Airlines: U.S.

AirTran (mostly to/from Atlanta)

Alaska Airlines

America West

American Airlines

ATA (hubs in Chicago and Indianapolis)




Hawaiian Airlines

Horizon Air

JetBlue (Around the U.S. to/from New York)

Midway (east coast via Raleigh/Durham)

Midwest Express (to and from Milwaukee, Omaha, K.C.)

National Airlines (to and from Vegas)


Pan American (New England & Florida)


Spirit Airlines

Sun Country (mostly to/from Minneapolis)


U.S. Airways

Vanguard (to/from Kansas City)

Airlines: Canada

Air Canada

Air North (to/from Yukon)

Air Transat

First Air (across the Arctic)



Airlines: Europe

Aer Lingus


Air France


Austrian Airlines

British Airways

British Midland



Croatia Airlines

Czech Airlines






KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines





Olympic Airways


SAS Scandinavian Airlines

SN Brussels Airlines (formerly Sabena)


Swiss International Air Lines

TAP Air Portugal

Virgin Atlantic

Airlines: Central/South America

Aerolineas Argentinas






Airlines: Africa/Middle East


El Al

Iran Airlines

Kenya Airways

Royal Jordanian

Saudi Arabian Airlines

South African Airways

Turkish Airlines

Airlines: Asia

Air China

Air India

All Nippon Airways (ANA)


Cathay Pacific

China Airlines

Japan Air Lines

Korean Air

Pakistan International Airlines

Phillipine Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Thai Airways International

Airlines: South Pacific

Australian Airlines

Air New Zealand

Malaysia Airlines


Virgin Blue

Airline Quality:

Airline Quality Ratings

Epinions: Travel

Seat pitch and legroom


Practical matters:

Airline On-Time Statistics

Am I going down?

CIA World Factbook

Come Back Alive – The World's Most Dangerous Places

Deep vein thrombosis

Delayed flights and Rule 240

Electronic tickets and ticketless travel

Fly-Rights: A Consumer Guide to Air Travel

Inflight Safety Page

Practical Nomad: Advice to air travelers

Travel Advisories:
U.S. State Department:
Government of Canada:

Travel Agent Listings:
American Society of Travel Agents:
International Airlines Travel Agent Network:

Travelers tips & prohibited items

Other online fora:

EuroTrip Cheap Flights Forum

Flyer Talk

TMF: Best Travel Spots/Tips

Thanks to all those who have contributed to this board, and especially to LQueiros, robearpa, LiamMore and AcmeFool for their suggestions on how to make this FAQ better.

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