Expedia Airline Tickets
by Roger Wade
November 27th, 2007
Expedia is a powerful tool to search for airline tickets, but it’s so loaded with features and options that can be very confusing, even if you’ve used the site in the past. This short guide will help you find the best airline ticket on Expedia in a way that won’t be overwhelming, but will still let you buy your ticket knowing you got the best deal available.
Know the base price
A big part of finding the cheapest ticket on Expedia that works for you is knowing what the lowest fares for that route are to begin with. During any given period there is a baseline for fares between two cities, and as those tickets get bought up the price gets higher and higher. If you are aware of the baseline or minimum price for that route you’ll always know if your specific search is turning up results that are a good deal or not. If your airline ticket is showing a price of $400 yet you see other dates available for $200 you know lower prices may be available if you shift things around a bit.
Be as flexible as possible while searching
Even if you are pretty sure you want to fly out on a Friday and return on a Sunday, it can be a good idea to check the days around your ideal dates when you are searching on Expedia. And even if you are fairly certain of which airports you’d like to use it can be wise to be open to other nearby airports during your search as well. Once you know the lowest possible price for your journey you can decide whether those sacrifices are worth the money you might save.
Expedia’s Flexible Dates option
To quickly determine the lowest fare, Expedia provides a powerful tool that you can use to see the general range of fares available. As long as you are searching for tickets between two popular US airports, you can click on the “My dates are flexible” option on the main search screen. Instead of typing in airport names or abbreviations, you’ll be asked to select airports from a list. After that you can select a departure month and a general length of your trip and hit the “Search for flights” button.
Your results will be shown in a calendar that displays the cheapest fare Expedia has found between those cities leaving on that date. You can quickly scan entire months to see the lowest ticket price for an entire period. Use the right and left arrows on top of the calendar to go up or back a month. Once you see what the lowest price in general is, you’ll know if the fare you are quoted for your ideal dates is good or not.
If you see the word “Price” instead of a dollar amount, that means Expedia hasn’t searched for fares on that route on that date lately. If you want to check those dates just click the word “Price” and then select a return date on the new calendar on the right side of the page. Expedia will search that pair of dates for you and bring up specific flight information on a new page.
Check other nearby airports
This is another technique that only takes a couple of minutes, and once you have this information you’ll be able to confidently buy your ticket on Expedia knowing you are getting the lowest fare possible. Typically the largest airports offer the lowest fares, but occasionally one or more airlines will offer cheaper air ticket when flying into smaller airports.
The fastest way to check other airports on Expedia
Expedia has alternate airport information built in to their system, but it’s found on the results screen instead of the main search page. Do your normal search using your preferred airports and dates, then on the airfare results page you can click on the cities in your search and Expedia shows you a short list of other nearby airports and their distance from your first choice. If you see another airport on the list that might work well on either end of your trip, change your search to that airport and then click on the Go button in the bottom right corner. This only takes a few seconds per search and might end up saving you hundreds of dollars on your airline ticket.