Shop for Tickets One at a Time to Save on Airfare

If you have two or more people in your traveling party, here is a quick tip that could save you hundreds of dollars on airfare: Shop for tickets one at a time. Use this tip at or anywhere you book your next trip – it’s perfect for the holidays and a great way to get the cheapest flights possible.

Listen as FareCompare’s Rick Seaney explains to Anne McDermott exactly how to use this tip, and we are pleased to report that she eventually “gets” it:

How to Take Advantage of Reservation System Quirk

There is a quirk in airline reservation systems that requires all air travelers in the same booking pay the same price for their tickets. In other words, if you book four tickets, all four will cost the same.

The problem: there may actually be a few cheaper seats than the price you wind up paying, but by booking your party together, you won’t get them and you won’t get the savings.

Shop for Tickets One at a Time

In order to find out if this is an issue on your party’s flight, simply start two separate bookings:

  • Open a booking for the total number of people in your party
  • Open a booking for just one person

If the results for single traveler show a cheaper price, you’ll know there is at least one cheaper seat available. Simply repeat this exercise until you find out how many cheaper seats there are.

Then all you have to do is split your ticket purchase; in other words, do one booking at the lower price and another at the higher price.

I like to use two separate browsers and get both to the credit card page at the same time to ensure the bookings and to pick the seats.

Smart tip: Thanks to a new rule in place from the Department of Transportation, all major airlines now have a 24-hour free cancellation policy, should you need to use it.


Published: August 30, 2012