Priceline Airline Tickets
by Roger Wade
November 27th, 2007
Priceline has the easiest tool to find airline tickets of all the major sites, but this simplicity makes it very difficult to know if the price for the airline tickets Priceline finds is low or not. This short guide will help you with a few key tips so you can find airline tickets on Priceline quickly, but still know if you are getting the best deal possible or not.
The problem with searching for an airline ticket by entering one set of dates and one set of airports is that it’s difficult to tell if the lowest prices displayed on the next page are good deals or if they are closer to the maximum price for that route. Priceline has some built-in tools to help you know the difference, but you have to know how they work in order to be certain of your results.
How airfares work and how to see if you are being offered a good deal
In the computer age all airline ticket price adjustments are done automatically with no humans involved. Generally, all tickets start out with the same prices, and then as the more popular flights book up the price of the remaining tickets goes up. In order to know if you are being offered a good deal it really helps to know if these prices are higher or lower than prices on other days or using different nearby airports.
Priceline has two ways to compare
The main search screen for Priceline is very simple, but that doesn’t mean the computer search they are performing is simple. Every time Priceline searches for airline tickets they automatically also search if there are lower prices on different travel dates and using different nearby airports on one or both ends. But Priceline doesn’t tell you it’s doing this because evidently they don’t want to distract you from your original choice.
Method One: The More Ways To Save box
To the right of your original search results you’ll see a yellow-framed box that says More Ways To Save at the top. This looks like an advertisement, but it’s really part of your search results. The first option or two are almost always an offer to try to Name Your Own Price,€ which isn’t nearly as easy as it used to be, and to Package and Save,€ which allows you to book a hotel along with your flight, always offering to save up to $325,€ regardless of your destination and the length of your stay. Ignore those and look below. If Priceline has found lower fares using alternate dates (but always the same length of trip) or using one or two alternate airports, it shows the details and the amount you can save by switching to those options. If it doesn’t find lower airline ticket prices these options don’t show up, so you know you are getting a pretty good deal.
Method Two: Modify Your Search
Below the More Ways To Save box you’ll see another box where you can change some search options. At the bottom of that box you’ll see a place to select an Alternate Departute Date and an Alternate Return Date. If you are flying on a Friday or Sunday it’s a good idea to change at least one of these to see how much you might save on the next day. Priceline already checks prices for tickets one date before and one date after leaving the trip length the same, so the trick is for you to change the length of your trip by at least one day so it will check even more possibilities. If the price for the tickets after that search is the same or higher you’ll know your ideal dates are a fairly good deal, but if the price is lower you’ll know your price has already gone up from the starting point and you may be able to find a lower ticket by changing some things about your trip.