Domestic flights in the US - bundle ticket?
Replies: 33 - Last Post: Sep 20, 2012 3:46 PM Last Post By: max_mexico
Sep 20, 2012 5:57 AM
30Check the prices, but as someone who lives in the area, my first instinct for Boston--> DC is to say "Train."
In fact the Boston-->NYC-->DC corridor is one of the few places where our trains run really well (affordable, on time etc.). If you have some sort of RTW ticket you might find better options though.
I live in the landing pattern of the Islip airport (literally). Yes Islip is the cheapest in the area, (cheapest used to be Newark) but it's more like 90 mins from Manhattan.
Sep 20, 2012 2:38 PM
31There is no rule of thumb. Often I find that the major airports are also cheapest. But it varies. The good thing about ITA is that you can search many at the same time. Here's an example:
Let's say you want to fly one-way from Miami to NY next Friday Sep 28. If you go to ITA and enter MIA - JFK you'll find a flight with US airways, making one connection, for $144.
Now, for the departure, click the "Nearby" link and select MIA (Miami) and FLL (Fort Lauderdale) and redo your search. You'll now find several direct flights with JetBlue/Delta for $125.
Now, for the destination, click "Nearby" and select EWR (Newark) and LGA (La Guardia) in addition to JFK. You'll now find a direct Spirit flight departing 7am for $94.
Now for the date, enter plus/minus 2 days and search. You'll now find many departures with Spirit for $84, as well as direct flights with both Delta and American for $112.
Finally, you should check some airlines separately which are not covered by ITA, for example Southwest. On Sep 28, they fly from FLL to EWR for $116 making one stop. Southwest allows you to fly with two checked bags for free.
You could also check Allegiant, they are often extremely cheap, but tend to fly in/out of minor airports that are out of the way and difficult to get to. For example, in this case they have an Orlando/Sanford - Newport News flight for only $53, but with Sanford being 4h away from Miami, Newport News 7 hours away from NY, and extra charges for carry-ons, this is probably not what you're looking for.
A word of warning for ITA: When you use the nearby mode, do not select too many airports/dates at the same time. I believe they have a 1 minute time-out, so if your search doesn't finish in 1 minute, they'll show you the best results they got that far, which is not necessarily the best options overall. So keep your searches fairly small (a few departing/arrival airports max at a time).
There are a few more complicated ways to save as well. One that I like is called "Hidden City". For example, if you want to fly from city X to Y, sometimes it's cheaper to buy a flight from X to Z which connects in Y. Then you simply get off in Y. Of course this comes with certain caveats: it's hard to do if you check luggage (although if you're creative you can come up with a story and claim it in Y), the flight might get rerouted for some reason and no longer connect in Y, if you have a return ticket the airline might cancel it, or they might decide to punish you in some other way for breaking the fare rules. Read more here.
As for timing, buy your tickets well in advance. If you have a specific date in mind, I'd recommend at least 2 months in advance for US domestic tickets. If you are flying over holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving) as far in advance as you can, say 6 months. If you are more flexible and can fly any time and day of the week, I'd say 3-4 weeks in advance. Sometimes there are sales, so if you hold out you can get lucky and get a better deal.
Best of luck in your search!
Sep 20, 2012 2:49 PM
Sep 20, 2012 3:46 PM
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