You can find cheap ticket for domestic flights if you know a little bit of background in the airline industry. With the deregulation of domestic airlines in North America in 1978, the government no longer sets artificial boundaries on the ticket prices. However, this means that you can make very economical seat reservations or you can get stuck with what seems to be scandalously overpriced seats. The airlines are free to publish prices according to market demands, with popular destinations and schedules drawing premium rates. There are also alternative itineraries to the same destinations that will go for a lot less money if you're flexible. International rates –are- regulated though, so that's a different subject. This page contrasts with our other page on Cheap Tickets to Nepal.
Dealing with an airline directly and bypassing 'middleman services' is no guarantee of getting cheaper tickets. Buying directly from an airline may actually get you the worst prices. In some cases the 'automated' travel reservation websites are beholden to certain airlines because they are sponsored or outright owned by them and protect the profit margin of their owners. Drawing on the expertise of a travel consultant with a better perspective on the market can help you uncover the lowest possible airfares and make a smoother itinerary. As for airfare 'auction' sites, the truth about auctions is the actual value of the tickets are not given, and you pay as much as you're willing to bid. You may end up way over the actual value of the tickets.
Unaffiliated travel agencies apply their 'tricks of the trade' to find you cheap flights. They know which alternate routes and schedules are the least pricey, and they often have access to flights that can be sold below the airline's published prices. The agencies with special access to the best deals on cheap tickets are known as 'consolidators' because they acquire wholesale lots of airline seats on flights far in advance. If you can book with them far in advance and you can adhere to their somewhat inflexible terms you can save significantly in booking a trip in the United States.
If you're going after the absolute lowest prices on your airfare you may have to abandon all forms of convenience, comfort, and timeliness. Often the most economical reservations are "red eye" flights where you depart late at night and arrive at your destination very, very late at night. Airlines also like to save money by diverting you through their main hub and spoke network. To save money you may end up going east first, even though your destination is due west. Another tactic for cheap tickets is to have a longer duration before the return flight from your destination, including at least one weekend. This is fine for vacationers, but it was probably intended to snag the business traveler for extra expense. One last corner to cut is to forgo the extra fee for a refundable ticket. If you're very flexible and you don't mind the slight risk of losing the full fare or being penalized for making changes to the itinerary then a refundable ticket is not necessary. However, if you make reservations far in advance and you realize that "things come up" you'll want to insure yourself a little in case your travel plans have to change.
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