Want to fly cheap?
Flexibility, timing key to finding best online fares
NEW YORK (CNN) -- As the competition for Internet-savvy travelers heats up, booking tickets online is about to get even better.
Two new sites for discount airfares, Hotwire.com and Orbitz, are set to launch later this year. With links to several major carriers, both promise more bang for the buck for the estimated 5 percent of travelers who currently buy their tickets online.
"I think the proof of whether these new Web sites will be good for
consumers or not will simply be in the pricing," said Bill McCoy, executive
editor with Budget Travel magazine. "If they can compete on a price basis
with what's out there already, they will do well. If they can't, they won't."
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McCoy encourages travelers to look for cheap tickets on three different
fronts: travel agents, airline reservation services and the Internet. His
favorite sites include Cheaptickets.com, 1travel.com, Flycheap.com and
"Don't just go to one booking engine and see how much it costs and assume
that the rest of them are going to come in at around the same price," McCoy
Being flexible is important, since there are several factors that can
have a big effect on the ticket price, he said. They include the time of day, the day of the week, and the airport from which you depart or arrive.
Even the time of day you look for tickets can be a factor. New sales of
discounted tickets are introduced around midnight, so in this case, the
early bird does get the worm.
"The best time to check the airline reservation systems is about 1 a.m. or 2
a.m. if you're up that early or up that late," McCoy said.
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