The go-to airline for many an American when it comes to making wallet-friendly coast-to-coast hops or cheap holiday jaunts to Mexico and the Caribbean, JetBlue propelled themselves to a very respectable second place in the Skytrax line-up of the top budget carriers currently in the skies of the United States. But what does that mean exactly? Well, apparently it means more leg room than other economy fliers, a 'Mint' business class equivalent on all transcontinental flights, on-board dining options and plenty, plenty more!
Most major cities in the USA have reliable public transport options to transfer you to the city centres. For example, LAX has a shuttle bus ‘G’ to the Metro Green Line and JFK has the AirTrain connecting to the New York subway. Buses and taxis are also plentiful if you don’t want to negotiate traffic. However, in some cities hiring a car may be the quickest and convenient option to get around especially if you plan on doing a road trip. You’ll find all the major car rental agencies at most US airports, including Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty.
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.
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Travelers who don’t mind exploring destinations in the off-season can easily score cheaper flights and discounted hotel rooms. But if what you want is to experience a destination like Europe during peak summer — either because the kids are out of school or because you have your heart set on balmy Italian beaches — it can be tricky to find airfare deals.
The United States of America, USA for short, sprawls across the middle of North America, and is composed of 50 states. First time travellers arriving on flights to the USA have a huge choice of fascinating destinations to choose from in this vast nation. From breathtaking natural wonders, to mammoth and fascinating man made cities of towering steel and glass. Generally the peak tourist season runs from May to September, and the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are the most picturesque months to visit the east and west coasts. The best time to visit really depends on where in the USA you are going and what you want to see. For travel during the shoulder seasons book at least a month in advance and for the high season book at least six months in advance. Holidays and annual events are major reasons for many visitors to arrive on flights to the USA, so check city events calendars before booking flight tickets.
Before booking a flight, consider if the rate is cheaper if paid in another currency. Often budget airlines will make you pay in the currency of the country you're departing from, but this isn't always the case. An important note when doing this: make sure you're using a credit card that is free of foreign-transaction fees, otherwise your attempts to save money doing this will be lost! Our article on money matters for world travellers can help steer you in the right direction for the best credit cards for travel.
Don’t search for or buy multiple tickets in a single purchase. Airlines always show the highest ticket price in a group of tickets. For example, if you are a family of four and searching for four seats, the airline will find four seats together and show your fare based on the highest ticket price. So if seat A is $200, seats B and C are $300, and seat D is $400, it will price those tickets as $400 each instead of adding up the individual ticket prices. Therefore, always search for tickets as a single person. Afterwards, in the checkout process, you can pick your seats so you and your family are sitting together.
Finding a cheap flight is about being flexible and smart in where you go, when you go, and how you get there. Follow the tips above, but don’t waste forever finding a cheap flight. If you’re spending more than an hour booking a flight, you’re spending too much time. Spend 30-40 minutes finding and booking a cheap flight at a price you’re OK paying and move on with your life. I never second-guess myself on flights. You’ll go crazy if you do.
Look into alternative routes. Slightly different than flying indirectly with layovers, if you aren’t in a time crunch consider taking alternative routes to your destination. If you can get a cheaper flight flying from Seattle to Boston, and then from Boston to London, then book two separate flights. Breaking up your travel will lengthen the amount of time you have to spend journeying to your destination, but it could be one of the best ways to manage saving money.
Our detailed how-to guide spells out how to find mistake fares easily on your own. Basically, AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying are great resources to stalk for finding mistake and sale pricing as they conglomerate slashed ticket rates all in one spot. Another great approach is to search for flights for an entire month using Skyscanner (Tip #3 in this article). This will allow you to easily spot a significantly reduced fare against what's displayed that month, and has twice helped us stumble on error fares ourselves.