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Author: hlupak Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2323  
Subject: Cheap Air Fares FAQ 1.1 Date: 8/5/2003 2:01 PM
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Cheap Air Fares FAQ
Version 1.1 – August 5, 2003


• What's new in this version?
• 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
• Airline alliances
• 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

What's new in this version?

The travel industry is constantly in flux, with airlines, travel companies and websites starting up and shutting down regularly. All the links have been checked, with quite a few new sites added and those that no longer work removed. As well, the FAQ now fits on the screen without side-to-side scrolling thanks to TinyURL.

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 – easyJet and Ryanair are the two biggies. 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 (www.smarterliving.com) offers an excellent e-mail newsletter full of travel deals. Also, check out FatWallet (www.fatwallet.com), 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:
http://www.hasbrouck.org/faq/#Section_3

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:

http://www.fool.com/Specials/2000/sp001011.htm

Consolidator info:

Airline Ticket Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ
http://www.hasbrouck.org/faq/

General travel info:

Budget Travel
http://www.budgettravel.com/

Finding Hotel Bargains
http://www.fool.com/specials/2000/sp000629.htm

Fodor's
http://www.fodors.com/

Frommer's
http://www.frommers.com/

In Your Pocket (city guides)
http://www.inyourpocket.com/

Lonely Planet
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

Practical Nomad
http://hasbrouck.org/

Rick Steves Europe
http://www.ricksteves.com/

Savvy Traveler
http://www.savtrav.com/

Travel Library
http://www.travel-library.com/

ViaMichelin
http://www.viamichelin.com/

Bid for tickets:

Daily Auction
http://www.thedailyauction.com/

Priceline
http://www.priceline.com/

Sky Auction
http://www.skyauction.com/

Travel portals:

American Express (ITN)
http://travel.americanexpress.com/

Ebookers.com (Europe)
http://www.ebookers.com/

Expedia
http://www.expedia.com/

InfoHub
http://www.infohub.com/

Orbitz
http://www.orbitz.com/

Sears Travel (Canada)
http://www.searstravel.ca/

Travelocity
http://www.travelocity.com/

Yahoo!
http://travel.yahoo.com/

Airfare search engines:

Apple Fares (Europe)
http://www.applefares.com/

easyValue (Europe)
http://www.easyvalue.com/

Gooflight (Europe)
http://www.gooflight.com/

SideStep
http://www.sidestep.com/

QIXO
http://www.qixo.com/

“Space available” flights:

Airhitch
http://www.airhitch.org/

Air Tech
http://www.airtech.com/

Courier flights:

Air Courier Association
http://www.aircourier.org/

Air Courier Directory
http://www.courierlist.com/

Global Courier Travel
http://www.couriertravel.org/

International Association of Air Travel Couriers
http://www.courier.org/

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

1-800-FlyEurope [I]
http://www.1800flyeurope.com/

1-877-Femtrip [I]
http://www.1877femtrip.com/

11th Hour Vacations
http://www.11thhourvacations.com/

4Airlines
http://www.4airlines.com/

Adventure Bound [I]
http://www.adventure-bound.com/

AESU [I]
http://www.aesu.com/

Air4Less
http://www.air4less.com/

Airfare.com
http://www.airfare.com/

Airfare Planet
http://www.airfareplanet.com/

Airline Consolidator [I]
http://www.airlineconsolidator.com/

Air Tickets Direct
http://www.airticketsdirect.com/

Air Treks (multi-stop & round-the-world specialists) [I]
http://www.airtreks.com/

AOW!
http://www.flyaow.com/

BestFares.com
http://www.bestfares.com/

Cheap Flights
http://www.cheapflights.com/

Cheap Seats Travel
http://www.cheapseatstravel.com/

Cheap Tickets
http://www.cheaptickets.com/

Destination Europe [I]
http://www.der.com/

Discount Flights
http://www.discountflights.com/

Dr. Cheaps
http://www.drcheaps.com/

Economy Travel
http://www.economytravel.com/

ELT Express [I]
http://www.eltexpress.com/

ETN [I]
http://www.etn.nl/

Europe By Air (cheap flights and air passes) [I]
http://www.europebyair.com/

FareBase (U.K.) [I]
http://www.farebase.net/

Farnley Flights (U.K.) [I]
http://www.farnleyflights.com/

Flight Centre
http://www.flightcentre.us/

Fly Cheap
http://www.flycheap.com/

Go Today [I]
http://www.gotoday.com/

Herman's (Canada)
http://www.herman.on.ca/

Hotwire
http://www.hotwire.com/

JustFares.com [I]
http://www.justfares.com/

LastMinute.com (U.K.) [I]
http://www.lastminute.com/

Last Minute Travel
http://www.lastminutetravel.com/

Lowest Fare
http://www.lowestfare.com/

Moments Notice
http://www.moments-notice.com/

My Travel
http://www.mytravelco.com/

New Frontiers [I]
http://www.newfrontiers.com/

One Travel
http://www.onetravel.com/

Rock Bottom Fares [I]
http://www.rockbottomfares.com/

Smarter Living
http://www.smarterliving.com/

Sophisticated Traveler [I]
http://www.s-traveler.com/

TFI Tours
http://www.lowestairprice.com/

TravelHUB
http://www.travelhub.com/

Travel Now
http://www.travelnow.com/

Travel Secrets
http://www.travelsecrets.com/

Travel Select
http://www.travelselect.com/

Travel Team [I]
http://www.travelteam.com/

TravelZoo
http://www.travelzoo.com/

UK Air [I]
http://www.ukair.com/

World Wide Air [I]
http://www.worldwideair.com/

Youth travel sites:

Kilroy Travels (European)
http://www.kilroytravels.com/

STA Travel
http://www.statravel.com/

Student Universe
http://www.studentuniverse.com/

Frequent flyer resources:

Flyer Talk
http://www.flyertalk.com/

Mileage Workshop
http://www.mileageworkshop.com/

Web Flyer
http://www.webflyer.com/

Airlines

Note: there are literally hundreds of airlines operating around the world – far more than possible to list here. As well, there are constantly new start-ups, mergers and bankruptcies. For a more comprehensive list, try Yahoo:
http://tinyurl.com/iuqu

Airline alliances

OneWorld
http://www.oneworldalliance.com/

SkyTeam
http://www.skyteam.com/

Star Alliance
http://www.staralliance.com/

Airlines: U.S.

AirTran (mostly to/from Atlanta)
http://www.airtran.com/

Alaska Airlines
http://www.alaskaair.com/

Aloha
http://www.alohaairlines.com/

America West
http://www.americawest.com/

American Airlines
http://www.aa.com/

ATA (hubs in Chicago and Indianapolis)
http://www.ata.com/

Atlantic Airlines (Southeast states)
http://www.atlanticairlines.com/

Big Sky (hub in Billings)
http://www.bigskyair.com/

Continental
http://www.continental.com/

Delta
http://www.delta.com/

Frontier
http://www.frontierairlines.com/

Hawaiian Airlines
http://www.hawaiianair.com/

Hooters (to/from Myrtle Beach)
http://www.hootersair.com/

Horizon Air
http://www.horizonair.com/

JetBlue (Around the U.S. to/from New York)
http://www.jetblue.com/

Midwest
http://www.midwestexpress.com/

Northwest
http://www.nwa.com/

Pan American (New England & Florida)
http://www.flypanam.com/

Song
http://www.flysong.com/

Southwest
http://www.southwest.com/

Spirit Airlines
http://www.spiritair.com/

Sun Country (mostly to/from Minneapolis)
http://www.suncountry.com/

United
http://www.united.com/

U.S. Airways
http://www.usairways.com/

Airlines: Canada

Air Canada
http://www.aircanada.ca/

Air North (to/from Yukon)
http://www.flyairnorth.com/

Air Transat
http://www.airtransat.com/

Calm Air (Manitoba/Nunavut)
http://www.calmair.com/

Canadian North (NWT/Nunavut)
http://www.cdn-north.com/

CanJet
http://www.canjet.com/

First Air (across the Arctic)
http://www.firstair.ca/

JetsGo
http://www.jetsgo.net/

WestJet
http://www.westjet.com/

Airlines: Europe

Aer Lingus
http://www.aerlingus.com/

Aeroflot
http://www.aeroflot.com/

Aero Lloyd
http://www.aerolloyd.de/

Air Berlin
http://www.airberlin.com/

Air Europa
http://www.aireuropa.com/

Air France
http://www.airfrance.com/

Alitalia
http://www.alitalia.it/

Austrian Airlines
http://www.austrianair.com/

Basiq Air
http://www.basiqair.com/

BMI Baby
http://www.bmibaby.com/

British Airways
http://www.britishairways.com/

British European
http://www.flybe.com/

British Midland
http://www.flybmi.com/

Croatia Airlines
http://www.croatiaairlines.hr/

Czech Airlines
http://www.csa.cz/

Deutsche BA
http://www.flydba.com/

easyJet
http://www.easyjet.com/

Finnair
http://www.finnair.fi/

Germanwings
http://www.germanwings.com/

Globespan
http://www.flyglobespan.com/

Hapag-Lloyd Express
http://www.hlx.com/

Iberia
http://www.iberia.com/

Icelandair
http://www.icelandair.com/

Intersky
http://www.intersky.biz/

Jet2
http://www.jet2.com/

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
http://www.klm.com/

LOT Polish Airlines
http://www.lot.com/

LTU
http://www.ltu-airways.com/

Lufthansa
http://www.lufthansa.com/

Malev
http://www.malev.hu/

Martinair
http://www.martinair.com/

Olympic Airways
http://www.olympic-airways.gr/

Ryanair
http://www.ryanair.com/

SAS Scandinavian Airlines
http://www.scandinavian.net/

SkyEurope
http://www.skyeurope.com/

SN Brussels Airlines
http://www.flysn.com/

SpanAir
http://www.spanair.com/

Sterling
http://www.sterlingticket.com/

Swiss International
http://www.swiss.com/

TAP Air Portugal
http://www.tap-airportugal.pt/

Virgin Atlantic
http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/

Virgin Express
http://www.virgin-express.com/

Airlines: Central/South America

Aerolineas Argentinas
http://www.aerolineas.com.ar/

Aeromexico
http://www.aeromexico.com/

Cubana
http://www.cubana.cu/

LanChile
http://www.lanchile.com/

Mexicana
http://www.mexicana.com/

Varig
http://www.varig.com.br/

Airlines: Africa/Middle East

EgyptAir
http://www.egyptair.com.eg/

El Al
http://www.elal.co.il/

Kenya Airways
http://www.kenya-airways.com/

Royal Jordanian
http://www.rja.com.jo/

Saudi Arabian Airlines
http://www.saudiairlines.com/

South African Airways
http://www.flysaa.com/

Turkish Airlines
http://www.turkishairlines.com/

Airlines: Asia

Air China
http://www.airchina.com.cn/

Air India
http://www.airindia.com/

All Nippon Airways (ANA)
http://www.fly-ana.com/

Asiana
http://us.flyasiana.com/

Cathay Pacific
http://www.cathaypacific.com/

China Airlines
http://www.china-airlines.com/

Japan Air Lines
http://www.jal.co.jp/en/

Korean Air
http://www.koreanair.com/

Pakistan International Airlines
http://www.piac.com.pk/

Philippine Airlines
http://www.philippineair.com/

Singapore Airlines
http://www.singaporeair.com/

Thai Airways International
http://www.thaiair.com/

Airlines: South Pacific

Australian Airlines
http://www.australianairlines.com.au/

Air New Zealand
http://www.airnewzealand.com/

Malaysia Airlines
http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/

Qantas
http://www.qantas.com.au/

Virgin Blue
http://www.virginblue.com.au/

Airline Quality:

Air Traveler's Handbook
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/travel/air/handbook/part1/

Airline Meals
http://www.airlinemeals.net/

Airline Quality Ratings
http://www.unomaha.edu/~unoai/aqr/

Epinions: Travel
http://www.epinions.com/trvl

Seat Guru
http://www.seatguru.com/

Seat pitch and legroom
http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/misc/legroom_report.html

Skytrax
http://www.airlinequality.com/

Practical matters:

AirDisaster.com
http://www.airdisaster.com/

Airline On-Time Statistics
http://www.bts.gov/ntda/oai/SummaryStatistics/index.shtml

Airline & Airport Links
http://www.airlineandairportlinks.com/

Airports of the World
http://www.hotelstravel.com/airports.html

Airports (U.S.)
http://www.airports.com/

AirSafe.com
http://www.airsafe.com/

CIA World Factbook
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

Come Back Alive – The World's Most Dangerous Places
http://www.comebackalive.com/

Deep vein thrombosis
http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/misc/flyersguide_bc.html

Delayed flights and Rule 240
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15025379

Electronic tickets and ticketless travel
http://hasbrouck.org/excerpts/index_2_4.html

Finding the 'least worst' coach seats
http://www.smarterliving.com/columns/ed/column.php?id=4227

Flight tracking:
http://www.flightview.com/TravelTools/default.asp
http://www.flytecomm.com/cgi-bin/trackflight

Fly-Rights: A Consumer Guide to Air Travel
http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/travel/flyrights/flyrghts.htm

Inflight Safety Page
http://www.warman.demon.co.uk/anna/inflight.html

One Bag: The Art & Science of Travelling Light
http://www.oratory.com/onebag/

Practical Nomad: Advice to air travelers
http://hasbrouck.org/articles/airportclosings.html

Travel Advisories:
U.S. State Department: http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html
Government of Canada: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/intro-en.asp

Travel Agent Listings:
American Society of Travel Agents: http://www.astanet.com/travel/agentsearch.asp
International Airlines Travel Agent Network: http://www.locateatravelagency.com/

Travelers tips & prohibited items
http://www.tsa.dot.gov/public/theme_home1.jsp

U.S. airport status & delay info
http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp

Other online fora:

EuroTrip Cheap Flights Forum
http://www.eurotrip.com/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=7

Flyer Talk
http://www.flyertalk.com/

TMF: Best Travel Spots/Tips
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=112908

Thanks to all those who have contributed to this board, and especially to the following Fools from whom I've gotten links and/or suggestions for this FAQ: LQueiros, robearpa, LiamMore, AcmeFool, Beaver1956 and JPLenny.

Cody
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