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Finding Low Cost Airline Flights on a Budget

Updated on July 2, 2013
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Shopping Prices

I don't fly very often, but when I do I have to find the cheapest rates possible. This year I have had to make last minute flight arrangements 3 times without having time to plan it into my budget. By the time you factor in any transportation to the airport, parking, meals, lodging, and other personal expenses, the whole trip can be quite costly. After shopping prices, I came across some significant differences. There are a lot of the different online places to shop like Kayak, Travelocity, Cheap O Flights, Orbitz, Last Minute Tkt, and Cheap Fare Guru just to name a few. Then there is the traditional way of purchasing tickets directly from the carrier. If you are traveling due to a family illness or bereavement, the airline will offer you a 5% savings when you book the flight through them. If you need a specific time with limited stops or don't want to shop a price, this small savings will help. If you have some flexibility in flight dates and times, Priceline is the best price out there followed by travelocity hands down.

Priceline.com vs. Travelocity.com

Priceline gives you the opportunity to bid on your ticket which can give you the best savings possible. You set a price then they will either accept the price or come back with the lowest price they can negotiate. They will only give you a maximum of 1 connection, the layover is no longer than 3 hours, the flight will be scheduled between 6 am - 10 pm, and you will arrive no later than 12:30 am the next day.

The only downfalls are that tickets are nonrefundable and you have to give your credit card information at the time you set a price. If they accept the price, you just purchased the ticket. If they come back with a different price you can decline the offer. Make sure to bid your ticket fairly low so you can get a general idea of the price they are willing to offer you. If you have flexibility in days change the day until you get the price that is most affordable to you.

Travelocity finds you the best price without giving you the opportunity to submit a bid. The key to getting the best price through them is your flexibility on date and time. Weekend days always seem to be the highest so try to adjust your departure and return date for weekdays. They will give you several options starting with the cheapest rate. They will give you a flight with lower rate but may have 3 stops. A direct flight that may normally take 4 1/2 hrs. could turn out to be 10 hrs. or longer. Of course it would make sense to pay a slightly higher price with less stops or lay overs unless you like spending the day or night in the airport. For the most part, you can get a descent flight time if you are flexible.

My price quotes based on the same dates and locations -

  • Priceline.com $238.00 1 stop 4.5 hr. trip
  • Travelocity.com $333.00 3 stops 14.5 hr. trip
  • Orbitz, Cheap O Flights $414.00 2 stops 8.75 hr. trip
  • Direct booking from Airline $978.00 after 5% discount for compassion / bereavement rate

I have traveled with both Priceline.com and Travelocity.com and have always had a great experience. They have made flight bookings and check in very easy for the customer. I hope this has been somewhat helpful and may save some price shopping time and money for you in the future. If you have any other helpful suggests or traveling tips, please leave a comment.

Which travel service do you prefer to use?

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    • 4wardthinker profile imageAUTHOR

      4wardthinker 

      6 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Thanks Life as a Blog! Even though prices always fluctuate, this strategy has been working best for me so far. Hope it helps!

    • Life as a Blog profile image

      Monty Hamilton 

      6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Since I live in a different state than most of my family, info like this is always helpful. Nice work! Thanks!

    • 4wardthinker profile imageAUTHOR

      4wardthinker 

      6 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Thanks for reading! I would like to know how to get those $99 tickets also. There's always a catch like prices (starting) at $99.

    • profile image

      WhydThatHappen 

      6 years ago

      Nice tips, I always wonder how people find 99$ tickets across the country.

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