Are you looking for bargain Christmas flights? So are thousands of consumers. Despite recently reduced fuel costs and the economic down-turn that have manufactured bargains in many goods and services, prices for airplane tickets have remained high. Why? Reduced competition and fewer flights have kept the average price of airplane tickets sky-high. And many of the ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Sky Bus, just could not weather the lagging economy and the rising fuel costs. But Christmas flight bargains can still be found. With some online diligence, you can still score some (relatively) inexpensive tickets to grandma (or to the beach).
Start by checking the websites of low-cost carriers. While I always recommend using shopbots sites to compare prices, many of the low-cost carriers are not allowing these sites to list their companies. Remember, low-cost carriers keep their costs low by eliminating many of the extras you might expect.
Air Tran (airtran.com ) has flights in the eastern part of the US.
Allegiant Air (allegiantair.com) offers flights and vacation packages from over 60 North American destinations.
JetBlue (jetblue.com ) has flights to 30 US cities. Major hubs are in New York-JFK, Boston, Washing DC-Dulles, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, and Oakland.
Southwest Airlines (southwest.com ) has flights all over the US.
Spirit Airlines (spiritair.com ) has flights to 39 destinations, including Florida, Chicago, Detroit, and New York.
USA 3000 Airlines (usa3000.com ) has flights from the Midwest and East Coast to Florida and Cancun.
I personally love the ultra-low-cost carriers. I even remember the early days of Southwest when the flights seemed more like collegiate get-togethers and stewardesses would chuck bags of peanuts to you. But, there’s limited destinations and those low costs come with crowded cabins, and reduced or eliminated perks, such as snacks, meals, and luggage allowances.
For terrific deals on the major airlines (and some of the low-cost carriers), try shopbot sites. Each have their own advantages, but it’s worth checking these three for their unique services.
Kayak (kayak.com) If you have flexible arrival or depart times, Kayak has a flexible search that can find rates within a range of dates. Kayak Buzz will show fares on the 25 most popular destinations as well as provide a customizable email option to send a message when fares meet a certain price range. Best Fare Trend Graph lets travelers see price trends for the most popular flights over a 90 day period.
Airfarewatchdog (airfarewatchdog.com) Airfarewatchdog’s email service will alert you when fares to your chosen destinations fall. They track both airlines and promo codes. A feature that I particularly like is the fares for your city feature. You can search on the website or have them regularly email you for a list of all low fares from a chosen city/airport.
Farecast Live (farecast.live.com) Farecast Live is more than just a price-comparison site; like its name suggests, you can use Farecast Live to determine the best time for reservations and purchases for travel. The “Airfare Predictions” will determine if the lowest airline fare is rising or dropping over the next week. And “Hotel Rate Keys,” will compare hotel rates with past rates to see if that “deal” is really a bargain. If you do not have any problems with your budget you can even choose charter flights that are more comfortable as you can avoid all other crowded flights and airport lines with them.