Be honest with yourself! How many times do you check the price of airfare before you actually buy a ticket? Majority of people check at least four websites before they actually commit to buy an airfare ticket for a trip. So, what the secret of where do you find the best prices on airfare
Not long ago it was enough to search on Kayak, Expedia or Priceline for example. Not anymore! Recently, some airlines decided not to allow meta search engines to show their prices (Delta removed all its listings from Hipmunk and others, and Lufthansa will start charging extra fee of 18 USD for booking everywhere else but their website) in order to increase direct bookings (and increase their revenue, apart from all the non-sense fees they have already imposed).
What’s your best chance to find the cheapest fare? Keep searching!!! Check Google Flights! Then Tripadvisor! Narrow your results and then check the prices on the websites of the airlines you narrowed already down.
Let’s put this on practice – where would we go?… New York to Hong Kong (check what Hong Kong has to offer), outbound on December 1st and coming back on December 10th.
Google Flight shows 766 USD for a direct flight between New York and Hong Kong, and a little bit cheaper one with a connection in Beijing (if you decide to go with this options, you should definitely explore China for a few days)
Tripadvisor does not show the Cathay Pacific’s flights but it finds cheaper flights! Air China’s flight that Google prices at 707 USD is only 669 USD on Tripadvisor.
Priceline shows the flights with Cathay Pacific but AirChina’s flight that Tripadvisor has for 669 USD is substantially more expensive – 781USD.
And finally, let’s check how much AirChina wants for the same ticket – “Crazyyyyyy”… You are shitting me right now! 851.52 USD!!! However, you can see that if you are a little bit flexible with your dates, you could snap even better price (still, Priceline, Google Flights and Tripadvisor beat the price for the majority of dates, except the November 29th – December 10th).
In conclusion, Tripadvisor shows the lowest prices. Of course, it all depends all do you look for – if want to stay loyal to an airline or airline alliance, then your best bet is using Google Flights, narrowing the results and book directly with the airline. Remember, sometimes the prices of the same ticket can be different, depending which airline you book it through – for example, if you search New York to London and you want to fly with Oneworld, Google Flights will show flights operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, AirBerlin, etc. Choosing a flights operated by British Airways gives you an option to book it either with British Airways, American Airlines or Iberia (in our sample search, American Airlines had the lowest price, while Iberia prices it more than double… what are they thinking?!?).
Do you collect miles or points? This can affect your choice too – sometimes gaining a few thousand points or miles is well worth spending extra 50 or 60 bucks (especially if you know how to use them and if you don’t, then you may be interested to learn more about using miles and points. There are plenty of bloggers that write about the topic, like the Points Guy or Million Mile Secrets).
What is your routine when buying airplane tickets? Where do you start your search? Share with us!