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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:

What exactly can I bring with me on a plane?

Here's the current TSA list:

And the European Union's version:

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:

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

Part 2: Naming your price

Part 3: Last-minute flights

Part 4: Discounted fares

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

Smarter Travel:

The Travel Insider:


The Practical Nomad:

Rick Steves

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.

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.




Yahoo! FareChase:



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:


Smarter Travel:


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

Here's a site that claims to know the answer to this question:

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:

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


Airline Consolidator

Cheap Tickets


Flight Centre







Travel Secrets

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



And if you're young or a student:

STA Travel

Student Universe

What about flying as a courier?

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

Air Courier Association

Air Courier List

Courier Travel

International Association of Air Travel Couriers

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.



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

Try these:

11th Hour

Last Minute Travel

Site 59

Do you have any frequent flyer info?

A little.

Flyer Talk

Mileage Workshop

Web Flyer

Where can I go for general travel info?



In Your Pocket (city guides)

Lonely Planet

Should I be worried?

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

Come Back Alive – The World's Most Dangerous Places

Deep vein thrombosis

Inflight Safety Page

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

Anything else?

Sure, here are some other useful sites.

Airline and airport links

Airline information online

Airline meals

Airports of the World

Airports (U.S.)

Delayed flights and Rule 240

Epinions: Travel

EuroTrip Cheap Flights Forum

One Bag: The Art & Science of Travelling Light

Seat Guru

The Travel Clinic

TMF: Best Travel Spots/Tips

Trip Advisor

U.S. airport status & delay info

Voltage Valet – foreign electricity info

And finally…

Here are some interesting discussions from the Fool boards:

Should I volunteer to be bumped from my flight?

How to complain effectively

Checked baggage tips

How to survive a plane crash

Pre-departure travel reminders
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