SideStep Airline Tickets

by Roger Wade

November 27th, 2007

SideStep is one of the new revolutionary airline ticket search sites that quickly scans other sites to find you the best possible fare for your journey. One of the things that makes SideStep an excellent tool for searching airline tickets is the site gets prices from discount ticket outlets, and it also checks prices directly from the airline sites themselves, which usually offer the lowest possible prices anywhere.

The problem with SideStep is they make it easy to find out the cheapest airline ticket for the exact days you are searching, but they make it difficult to determine if that ticket is a good deal in general or not. This short guide will show you the steps to help you find the cheapest airline ticket using SideStep, and also know if it’s worth buying right away or not.

Know the overall price trends

Unless you follow ticket price movements every week, it’s really difficult to know if the lowest price on your SideStep search is really high or low. These days most flights on a given route all start out at or near the same price, and then as more seats on the flight are sold the price for the remaining seats goes up. So if you want to fly on a Friday and return on a Sunday and you check ticket prices you really don’t know if the cheapest ticket has already gone way up in price, or if it’s still cheap. It really helps to know the difference if you want to get the most out of your travel fund.

Finding out the price trends on SideStep

The key to finding out whether this airline ticket is a good deal or not is to be able to search for a wide range of dates all at once. This way you can instantly see if your ideal dates are near the bottom of the price range or near the top. Several sites have functions that allow you to check this on the main search screen, but SideStep handles this a different way.

Of course, you can keep going back to the main search screen and changing dates for a new search over and over, but that’s very clumsy and time consuming. SideStep has a new Fare Tracker feature that does a great job of this, however the site asks you to create an account in order to use it. The good news is that creating an account is very fast and easy, since they only ask for a username and e-mail address. And better yet, the Fare Tracker will search a broad range of dates so you’ll know the absolute lowest price for this route compared to the tickets they find on just your ideal dates.

Using Fare Tracker

First do your basic search on the main search page, plugging in your ideal dates to begin with. On the first results screen you’ll see the lowest priced airline tickets that SideStep has found for those dates, but in the top left corner you’ll see the Fare Tracker box. It will display the lowest price it finds for your ticket, and then a Date Flexibility€ box where you can select the range you’d like to check. If you are set on going on dates very close to your original choices you can choose +/- 7 day€ and SideStep will scan a week before and a week after to find the best price. The site also has options of +/- 14 days and +/- 30 days, but it can also be quite interesting to see the results you get by selecting Anytime.€ This will show you the absolute lowest ticket price that SideStep can find on any dates, so you can quickly compare your ideal dates to the rock bottom.

Yes, you do have to go through the short registration process, but this powerful tool seems worth it. You can also set it up to be notified if a lower price turns up, along with a few other options.

If you are being quoted $500 and the lowest price is closer to $300, then you might consider changing your dates. But if you are quoted $500 and the rock bottom price is $480 or so, you’ll know that you are getting a great deal and you can confidently buy that airline ticket.

Search flights now using Sidestep/Kayak.

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