According to Kyak.com, airfares this summer will average about $431 a ticket. That is about 2.6 percent more than it was in 2011, in spite of the fact that most Americans are in about the same financial boat they were a year ago. As a cynical friend told me today, perhaps not flying is the best tip of all for saving on summer air travel. However, if you must go somewhere outside of the range of ground travel, or you don’t have the time to drive there and back, here are a few tips for ways to reduce those airfares.
If it’s Tuesday…
Shop for your ticket Tuesday after 3 p.m., says Rick Seaney, CEO and co-founder of Fares.com. Most airlines post new fares on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. At that point, competitors get competitive and try to match or beat them.
Travel later in the summer
The later you delay your trip, the larger the savings may be. According Jean Chatzky, a blogger for Daily Finance, Seaney said:
“Price points tend to drop dramatically the last week of August. So if you delay your trip, you can save a lot.”
A recent report from ABC also says that significant savings can be gained by booking early. That is a fairly obvious and slim revelation to be the focus of an entire report, but the fact remains, the earlier you know your travel plans, the better deal you can probably land on airfare.
Online fare watchdogs
Some sites, like Kyak.com and FareCompare.com, will alert you to the lowest fares as they become available.
Another place to look, according to CBS Moneywatch, if you are flexible about when you travel, is ITA Software’s airfare search at matrix.itasoftware.com. There you can find a calendar listing the lowest fares to specific locations.
Friend and Like
Many of the best deals for airfare can now be found on the social media. “Friending” and “Liking” airline Facebook pages could land you an unexpected bargain. And don’t forget Twitter. However, the usual cautions are in place. Be wary of scams and avoid any online app that asks you to divulge your personal information or passwords.
According to CBS Moneywatch, JetBlue is leading the pack for social media airline deals.
Don’t pay too much
Seaney gave these guidelines for knowing when you should accept a fare. According to him, a traveler should never pay more than $150 for a flight lasting a half hour, $210 for an hour-long flight, $280 for a three-hour flight or $340 for any flight ofver thre hours in length.