Where to Look to Find the Rare Summer Airfare Deal

Ferreting out a cheap flights for summer is like stalking a rare and elusive species – it may not be easy but it will be worth it. And it’s all in knowing where to look.

Listen as FareCompare’s Rick Seaney tells editor Anne McDermott that yes, even she can still find a deal:

Tips: Where to Look and How to Find Summer Deals

The first three tips tell you about recent developments during the summer, and I’ve added a couple of everyday tried-and-true tips to the mix that you should be following year-round.

1. Expanded sale shopping windows

Traditionally, airfare sales launch on Tuesdays and end promptly on Thursday, and that’s still the general airfare shopping rule-of-thumb to follow, but look for exceptions this summer. The Deals Blog has featured a few sales from AirTran and Southwest that began on Monday with book-by deadlines through the end of the week. Since discount-priced seats are always in limited supply, check for sales a day earlier than usual, just to be on the safe side.

2. Check for one-off sales

Once in a while, an airline will offer up an atypical sale, such as Virgin America’s recent eight-hour-only deals, and the occasional JetBlue one-day Wednesday sale. Learn about these by checking the Deals Blog, setting airfare alerts, and subscribing to your airline’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

3. Check dates outside the sales

A recent Hawaiian Airlines sale featured deals to the islands but the prices didn’t kick in until late August. However, FareCompare detected fares for the same price as the sale offerings throughout the month, so don’t believe everything you read. Solution: compare prices on a flexible calendar site like FareCompare.

Finding a Deal: More Tips

Sign up for airfare alerts and let technology do the work for you. Even if you’re just browsing, sometimes a deal will come along that’s truly a steal – even in the summertime – but if you’re not signed up, you’ll never hear about such bargains.

Plus always compare prices. If you just go to your favorite airline site, you could miss out on big savings. You compare prices at the supermarket to save money – why not go to a supermarket of airfares and save there, too?

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Published: July 10, 2012