How to search for flights

by Roger Wade

December 14th, 2009 is one of the newer airfare search sites, so it’s easy to be confused when you first see how they have things set up. It’s one of a new breed of “meta-search” sites that allow you to enter your information in once and then search multiple airfare sites with just one more click. Unlike some of the others, allows you to search and, which are actually meta-search sites themselves, in addition to the more traditional online travel agencies.

Their system for letting you search is cleanly set up without many distractions, but still the first time you see it you might have no idea how to begin, so we’ll go over all the main steps below so you can find the lowest fare in the shortest amount of time.

Step 1

Open in another window.

Step 2

Enter your departure and destination cities in the boxes provided.

lowfares1 is one of those modern sites that will bring up a helpful list of possibilities after you only type in the first three letters. If it doesn’t show you any choices, chances are you’ve entered something it doesn’t recognize at all, so try another spelling or the airport code itself if you know it.

Step 3

Enter in your preferred travel dates, and then click on the Search Flights button below.


After you click on the orange button you’ll be sent to another screen that might seem baffling at first. We’ll explain that just below.

Step 4

Choose which airfare sites you want to search for your flight.


It might first look like you reached this new page in error, but this is actually a really helpful tool once you figure out how to use it. On the left you’ll see 12 sites to check for your airfare, with the top 6 having logos and the bottom 6 just being in text.

Now the thing to do is click on the 3 sites you want to check, and after each click you’ll see that site’s logo move into one of the three slots on the right. Once you’ve chosen the three, it’s time to find your airfare.

Which sites to choose?

Unless you are familiar with all of these sites, and there’s no reason you should be, this part can be very confusing, but I’m here to help. It’s a good idea to choose or (they are really the same site, owned by the same people), plus, and also or

By choosing three of those you’ll be getting one from each major category, and if you choose different sites you’ll probably be choosing more than one that will show identical results, so this strategy is less worthwhile.

Step 5

Click on the orange Compare All button to begin your final search.


Now things can get a bit scary because right after you click on the Compare All button you’ll have 3 windows opening across your screen in a way that looks like your computer is possessed. Once you get past that sensation you’ll notice that each of those three windows should be showing you your best flight results from the different sites.

At this point you can see which site has given you the lowest price, and then complete your purchase on that site. One thing to be careful though is that several of these sites will show you the “base price” without taxes and fees, or sometimes with fees but without taxes. You have to look at the final price on all of them to really compare, so if one seems to be $100 or more cheaper than the others, this almost certainly means that low one isn’t showing the final price.

Step 6

Buy your ticket!

Again, it’s important to make sure you are seeing the final price before you decide. If you start booking on a site and the price suddenly jumps up before you put your credit card number in, it’s probably best to go back to the beginning and start over, being more careful you are seeing the final price.

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