Why it's awesome: Even though Virgin America is no longer the best low-cost airline in North America, it remains one of most beloved carriers in the skies. The San Francisco-based boutique carrier offers the style and high-quality service expected from a Virgin-branded company, but with the competitive prices of a low-cost carrier. In 2016, the company was sold to Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion. The brand is expected to disappear by 2019.
Touting one of the most prolific ranges of destinations across the country—from Portland to Des Moines, Wichita to the Grand Rapids—this low-cost carrier is now officially the largest in the world! So what is it that sets Southwest apart from the crowd? How about not one but two free checked bags as standard (including golf bags and winter sports equipment), a free Passbook mobile application for boarding passes on the go, and oodles of travel deals with resort hotels and sport hotels across the country!
Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book far, far in advance either. The best time to book your flight is around 6–8 weeks before your departure, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during their peak season.
Compare prices online using accurate and fair search engines. Finding the cheapest flights requires a rigorous search involving multiple search engines and airlines. However, many airfare search engines are actually owned or operated by major airlines, meaning unbiased searches are off the menu. Rather than sticking to search engines you see advertised on television, look for search engines that hunt down the cheapest fares among large airlines and small ones alike.
Websites are the easiest way to find a good airline ticket
Why it's awesome: Norwegian Air is one of the most aggressive and controversial airlines in the world. The low-cost carrier had drawn the ire of its US competitors by proposing a plan to operate trans-Atlantic flights using an Ireland-based subsidiary. The airline's critics claim that such a move would allow Norwegian to flaunt Norway's strict labor laws and use Ireland as a flag of convenience. Norwegian has denied these accusations. Regardless, Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos has won US government approval to launch ultra-low-cost trans-Atlantic flights from smaller airports in the Northeastern part of the country.
Once you have found a date, you can use the Internet to
go somewhere exciting. This requires a lot of thought and
Get travel alerts. Spamming your email or message inbox on your phone doesn’t seem like the most organized way to get a deal, but travel alerts often offer amazing prices you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. If your favorite airlines or airfare search engine offers travel alerts sent to your phone or email, sign yourself up! You won’t regret the few seconds it takes to delete those extra unwanted messages when you get the ones worth several hundred dollars worth of savings.
Travel agents used to have to do most of the footwork for
Although it is arguably quite tough to save up enough miles to get a free flight, using the miles that you've accumulated to offset ticket prices or upgrade seats can still help you save some serious money. Taking advantage of the bonus offers you get when you sign up for top travel credit cards is definitely the easiest way to collect enough miles for 100% free flights.
Keep your dates flexible. Many airlines have specific requirements for a minimum and maximum total number of days to be spent in a location in order to get the best deal. For the cheapest flights, stay for a minimum of 2 nights and a maximum of 30. Try to stay at your destination over a weekend, as flights that bookend a Saturday night are cheaper than those that lack a Saturday stay.
year so you have a head start.
In Google Chrome or Safari, incognito is enabled by hitting Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”. For Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”. This will open a new browser window where your information is not tracked, thus not inflating prices as you search. Note: if you're using an older version of OS X, open Safari then click “Safari” in the menu bar, and select “Private Browsing”.