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Save on Flights by Taking Your Time Online

Getting a good deal on air fare has never been easier, but getting the best deal has probably never been more complicated. There are more discount travel sites and price comparison services out there than one person could possibly use in a lifetime. Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, CheapTickets... the list goes on and on. Then, there are fare prediction sites, like Farecast and Yapta, which analyze historical pricing data and airline patterns in order to help you decide whether to buy that ticket now or to hold out in hopes of getting a better price.

Matt Gross, who writes the Frugal Traveler blog for the New York Times, has developed a rather complicated, but effective, system for maximizing his savings and ensuring a pleasant flying experience. It starts with visiting a discount booking site like Kayak, and searching for the best price. Next, Gross searches other sites like the subscription service cFares, which offers rebates on top of the already discounted flights, and like Vayama, which specializes in international travel. After finding the cheapest flight he can, Gross turns to Farecast to see if the price of his flight may go down in the future.

The journey doesn't stop there, of course. Gross always flies out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the least busy days for airlines, when fares tend to be cheaper, and checks with SeatExpert or SeatGuru to find the best seat on the plane. Then once all the details are finally ironed out, Gross buys his ticket direct from the airline as opposed to through a booking site like Orbitz. This way if anything goes wrong (as it sometimes does) the airline can't pass the buck onto a third party.

One last trick, not addressed by Gross, is to check the prices for different airports in the same area. We can tell you from experience that flying out of JFK or LaGuardia in New York City is often much cheaper than flying out of nearby Newark, New Jersey's airport. [From: New York Times]

Tags: airlines, Cfares, CheapTickets, Expedia, fares, kayak, orbitz, seatexpert, seatguru, top, travel, travelocity, vayama