There are multiple websites dedicated to finding the best airfare, the best seat, best loyalty programs and more. I don’t know it all for sure, but I have logged a lot of airline miles! I have flown with Delta, Continental, United, Southwest, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, KLM – and more that I don’t remember or are no longer in business!
One of my favorite tools before I book any flight is www.kayak.com which is an aggregate site that shows you all the airline options (except Southwest), you can look at round trip, multi city, and one way options as well. Once I know who which airlines fly into a city and I can see who has the cheapest fares I then go directly to the airline site and book my travel, sometimes by using “flexible dates” I can get a better fare as well. Kayak is especially helpful when booking flights overseas since most (like me) aren’t aware of all the airline options in other countries. Once you have a better understanding of airlines and flights available you can do additional research and book direct with the airline (sometimes with the help of google translate).
An app that I like to use is Hopper. This is an app that you download to your phone. You can enter a date range and location for airfare and Hopper sends you an alert when it finds a great airfare. If you have a set destination in mind (or maybe you don’t) enter dates and then 3-4 locations that you would like to visit. Hopper will send alerts with fares and “you should book now” with links directly to the airline website for booking.
Another tool to review is skiplagged.com, if you are okay with booking one way tickets and only bringing a carry on you can save big with this tool. If you are booking a car/hotel/flight especially to major resort destinations in Mexico, Orlando, or Las Vegas then lastminute.com, orbitz, and expedia can have some great deals as well.
I do want to mention frequent flier programs, even if you don’t fly often or only once a year you should still sign up since it’s free! Most of the frequent flier programs have ways to earn miles outside of just flying as well, as an example with SkyMiles you can earn miles for car rentals, hotel stays, dining, and shopping partners. These miles add up!
Another consideration is an airline credit card, I only recommend this if you fly at least 2 times a year as this will cover your annual fee (Amex Gold Skymiles Fee is $95 per year) in just baggage fees ($50 roundtrip). My home city is Atlanta which is a huge Delta hub so I have the Skymiles Amex Reserve and for me the use of the Sky Club and no baggage fees results in huge savings for my family. The companion certificate for Delta Comfort or First Class is an added perk and covers the cost of the $300 annual fee!
While I mostly fly Delta I am still registered as a frequent flier with Southwest (Rapid Rewards), American Airlines (AAdvantage), and more.