Specials Reviews

Posted by: Travel Deal

 

How to find the lowest airfare when traveling to a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons Residence Club in Aspen Highlands, Bachelor Gulch, Jackson Hole, Lake Tahoe or Punta Mita, Mexico.

Traveling nowadays has become so complicated - from finding the cheapest airfare on countless "cheap ticket" sites, those long lines (oh, the horror!!), to dealing with an increasing amount of seemingly unnecessary fees. The airline industry is in quite a bit of trouble, to say the least. This presents pros and cons for travelers.

On one hand, air fare is down 26.86%, making it the lowest it's been since 1995. On the other had, fees are popping up everywhere to compensate for the money lost in ticket sales. The free "perks" that once made traveling on a stuffy plane bearable are virtually gone. Now is the time to spring for a first-class ticket, for sure.

Bag fees are the worst of all!  As of February 1, 2010, Delta, United, and Continental have increased fees for first and second bags. Guess how much revenue the infamous bag fee generated last year? In the first six months of 2009 alone, airlines made $1.24 billion!! That's a 274% increase from 2008.

Other sources of income include cancellation, rebooking, and miscellaneous fees, such as seat assignment and pet travel. Combine all of that with the bag fees for a whopping grand total of $3.8 billion (second quarter, 2009).

The problem for airlines is that they fear raising ticket prices in such a competitive market. The solution? One brave airline needs to take a stand and raise the overall ticket price, eliminate fees, and begin an anti-fee campaign - a concept that will take travelers back to a simpler time!

Until then, we travelers are forced to find the lowest ticket price to balance out all the fees. Maybe one day this vicious cycle will finally end! Here's a list of top "cheap ticket" sites to guide you in your travels, as rated by PC Magazine. Most are aggregated sites, which search all the top travel sites and give you a bunch of results: 

Airfarewatchdog  - Good for travel tips

Booking Buddy - Compare prices on all major travel sites

Farecast

Hotwire

Inside Trip

Kayak

Mobissimo - includes Web 2.0 Social Features

SeatGuru - PC Magazine suggests that you go over to SeatGuru once you've found your flight. They will assist you with finding the most comfortable seat.

SideStep

Yapta - Once you've bought your ticket, PC Mag says go on over to Yapta. They'll let you know if your ticket price goes down, and you can call the airline for a refund or voucher.

Bonus: Virgin Air Charter - Want to book your very own plane? Virgin will make it happen.

Check out PC Mag's very useful price comparison table: http://www.pcmag.com/image_popup/0,1871,iid=204697,00.asp

Happy Travels!!

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 Sources:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/187788-airlines-still-have-a-long-way-to-go?source=yahoo

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-09-24-airlines-fees-revenue_N.htm

http://www.esquire.com/cm/esquire/images/02-woman-drinking-on-plane-090409-lg-73288280.jpg