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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 2.1 Date: 1/24/2007 4:19 PM
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Cheap Air Fares FAQ
Version 2.1 – January 24, 2007


What's new in this version?

Mainly just a maintenance update, this version has had its links checked and some new ones included. I've also added links to interesting threads on this or other Fool boards. You can look at the previous FAQ here:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=21838627

What exactly can I bring with me on a plane?

Here's the current TSA list:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm

And the European Union's version:
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/security/rules_liquids/index_en.htm

These regulations are constantly changing, so double-check just before you depart to make sure you're in compliance.

As for current baggage allowances, check with your airline before departure. Airlines are getting more and more fussy about baggage size and weight.

Do I need a passport?

Yes, all international air travel now requires a passport. Domestic air travel does not, nor does travel to/from US territories like Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. You can get the complete picture here:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html

Where can I learn more about air fares?

In order to dig up the best possible air fare, it helps to be an informed traveller. First, check out Airfare 101, provided by budget travel experts Smarter Travel:

Part 1: Back to basics
http://www.smartertravel.com/airfare/Airfare-Part-back-basics.html?id=13923

Part 2: Naming your price
http://www.smartertravel.com/airfare/Airfare-Part-Naming-your.html?id=16412

Part 3: Last-minute flights
http://www.smartertravel.com/airfare/Airfare-Part-Save-fortune.html?id=9161

Part 4: Discounted fares
http://www.smartertravel.com/airfare/Airfare-Part-Save-with.html?id=11280

There is also a wealth of handy airfare (and other travel-related) tips on the following sites:

Smarter Travel:
http://www.smartertravel.com/travel-advice/

The Travel Insider:
http://www.thetravelinsider.info/

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

The Practical Nomad:
http://hasbrouck.org/

Rick Steves
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/tips_menu.htm

In particular, I'd like to point out the Airline Ticket Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ, located at the Practical Nomad. It does an excellent job of explaining how air fares work, and the difference between domestic and international tickets.
http://hasbrouck.org/faq/index.html

There are so many websites out there. Is there a way to search them all at once?

The following websites enable you to do just that, including most major airlines and other discount travel sites.

Kayak:
http://www.kayak.com/

Mobissimo:
http://www.mobissimo.com/

Qixo:
http://www.qixo.com/

Yahoo! FareChase:
http://farechase.yahoo.com/

ITA:
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/

SideStep:
http://www.sidestep.com/

Is there a listing of current fare sales anywhere?

There are usually plenty of air fare sales going on at any given time. Sales are often posted on this board, usually every week. Here are some sites that keep track of sales. You can also sign up for free e-mail alerts from them.

Airfare Watchdog:
http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/

FareCompare:
http://www.farecompare.com/

Smarter Travel:
http://www.smartertravel.com/

Travelzoo:
http://www.travelzoo.com/

Should I buy now, or wait for a cheaper fare?

Here's a site that claims to know the answer to this question:
http://www.farecast.com/

What other websites should I check?

There are dozens and dozens and dozens of online travel sites. Just take a look at this Yahoo list:
http://tinyurl.com/2zqye

So, here's a brief list of some you may want to check out.

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

Airline Consolidator
http://www.airlineconsolidator.com/

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

Expedia
http://www.expedia.com/

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

Flights.com
http://www.flights.com/

Hotwire
http://www.hotwire.com/

OneTravel
http://www.onetravel.com/

Orbitz
http://www.orbitz.com/

Priceline
http://www.priceline.com/

TravelHUB
http://www.travelhub.com/

Travelocity
http://www.travelocity.com/

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

You may also want to check out these sites, where you earn discounts by shopping online:

Ebates
http://www.ebates.com/

MyPoints
http://www.mypoints.com/

And if you're young or a student:

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

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

What about flying as a courier?

It can be done, although it may not be for everyone. Check out these sites:

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

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

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

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

There are also two other sites to mention, Airhitch and AirTech. They sometimes get lumped in with courier companies but they're not, they offer what are known as “space available” flights.

Airhitch
http://www.airhitch.org/

AirTech
http://www.airtech.com/

I'm travelling at the last minute. What do I do?

Try these:

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

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

Site 59
http://www.site59.com/

Do you have any frequent flyer info?

A little.

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

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

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

Where can I go for general travel info?

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/

Should I be worried?

Air travel is extremely safe. That said, it pays to be informed.

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

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

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

Deep vein thrombosis
http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/mosby_factsheets/Deep_Vein_Thrombosis.html

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

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

Anything else?

Sure, here are some other useful sites.

Airline and airport links
http://www.airlineandairportlinks.com/

Airline information online
http://www.airinfo.aero/

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

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

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

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

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

EuroTrip Cheap Flights Forum
http://www.eurotrip.com/forum/tt.aspx?forumid=7

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

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

The Travel Clinic
http://www.drwisetravel.com/

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

Trip Advisor
http://www.tripadvisor.com/

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

Voltage Valet – foreign electricity info
http://www.voltagevalet.com/country.html

And finally…

Here are some interesting discussions from the Fool boards:

Should I volunteer to be bumped from my flight?
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25051075&sort=whole

How to complain effectively
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24860826

Checked baggage tips
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24725699&sort=whole

How to survive a plane crash
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24657854&sort=whole

Pre-departure travel reminders
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=21880805&sort=whole
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