Purchase an airline ticket as far in advance from your departure date as possible because airlines often offer better rates for purchasing early. Another option is to risk waiting for a "fare war" which may offer a cheaper price compared to purchasing early. The airlines may only offer a discounted fare for all their routes or only a specific route. Typically, if one airline reduces their fares, others will lower theirs accordingly due to the competition. A disadvantage with waiting for a "fare war" to purchase a cheaper ticket is that you may never see the special lower fare requiring you to purchase a ticket at a higher cost than expected.
Travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or a Thursday with a Saturday night stay over when traveling for pleasure taking advantage of the extra days off during the weekend. The reason is because most business travel occurs during the weekdays with most flights occurring on Monday or Friday. The airlines increase the price during that time knowing business travelers do not have other options and companies will pay the price for a more costly and more convenient ticket.
Check travel web sites on the Internet, along with an airline's web site for a discounted fare. Also, compare the web site fare to the fare offered by an airline's reservation number. The computer system for an airline's Internet site may be different than the airline's reservation number resulting in different fares for the same flight. Many Internet travel sites do not include all national airlines such as AirTran® or Southwest®. Instead, you will have to visit the companies' web site directly.
Many airlines have alliances with other airlines resulting in each having access for reserving seats of the other's flights. The result may be that one airline will offer a different price for the same flight than the other airline. Contact the airline or check their web site to determine the airline's business partners, then call each airline separately.
Utilize discount coupons that can be found in the Entertainment Book® or other similar discount books and programs.
Ask an airline directly if they have any special fares, such as a "weekender fare" for travel departing on a Friday or Saturday returning on the following Monday or Tuesday.
Travel during the off season times of the year which is dependent upon your destination. Example: Traveling to the Rocky Mountains during the summer instead of the winter due to ski season.
Keep in mind, all special fares offered by the airlines will have restrictions. The airlines may require the ticket to be purchased by a certain date for travel to occur before a specified date. In any case, great savings can be found!
If travel is required during a weekday at the higher rate, then attempt to purchase two round trip tickets with a Saturday stay over, but only use one half of each round-trip ticket. For example: A ticket is needed for traveling from Tampa to Dallas leaving Monday and returning Friday. Purchase a round-trip ticket from Dallas leaving on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday the previous week you intend to travel with a return flight from Tampa on the Monday you intend to travel to Dallas. Purchase another round-trip ticket leaving Dallas on the Friday you intend to return to Tampa with a return flight from Tampa leaving on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday the following week you intend to travel. The purchase of two round-trip tickets with a Saturday stay over will be cheaper than one round-trip ticket without a Saturday stay over.
The same idea can be applied if you need to travel from Tampa to Dallas during the weekday two weeks in a row, but wish to return to Tampa for the weekend without having to waste half of the round-trip tickets. Purchase the first round trip ticket leaving Tampa on the Monday of the first week, returning from Dallas on the Friday on the second week. Purchase the second round trip ticket leaving Dallas on the Friday of the first week, returning from Tampa on the Monday on the second week. The results are two round-trip tickets with a Saturday stay over.
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