Air Fares: Starting your search

Getting the best fares usually means visiting several often-overlapping sites, including those of the airlines servicing the route you're researching, to see who is reporting the lowest fares. As a place to begin, The Detourist usually starts its searches with Airfarewatchdog, an automated fare-comparison site that offers easy access to information about specific routes, destinations and sales.

One section, Top 50 Fares, tracks special, usually time-sensitive deals. This morning, for example, the top offers range from $18 round trip between Los Angeles and Las Vegas (LAX-LAS) on Spirit, the flying bus line (actually, this is an unfair comparison, since buses are roomier, now usually provide wireless access, and have no hidden charges) to $158 r/t flight between Baltimore and Austin (BWI-AUS) on Continental, American, Delta and United. As always, watch for surprise fees.

Airfarewatchdog, part of the company that owns BookingBuddy, OneTime, SmarterTravel and the flash-sale travel site Sniqueaway, was created by George Hobica, a travel journalist specializing in consumer issues.

Site: Airfarewatchdog.com

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