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Want to fly cheap?

Flexibility, timing key to finding best online fares

July 11, 2000
Web posted at: 5:35 p.m. EDT (2135 GMT)

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 Air4less.com.

"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 said.

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.



RELATED STORIES:
Online travel is like real thing: Have fun but be wary
June 23, 2000
Proposed online ticketing service draws scrutiny
June 9, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Orbitz
Hotwire
Cheap Tickets
1travel.com
Flycheap.com
Air4less.com

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