Top Websites for Air Travel: Planning Tools

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Discount Air Fares
Airfare tool to evaluate and benchmark your discounted airfare deal.

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Fare Compare
Discounted first class fares. Enter departure airport then refine by continent, country, total price, price per mile.

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Kayak - Airline Fees
Airline fee table shows additional fees that might be added to US tickets:baggage/meals/pets/unaccompanied minors/seat assignment:legroom

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Fare Compare - Airline Fee Chart
Domestic airline fee chart (everything from baggage to pillows)/Click also "Peak travel Day Surcharge"

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Fare Measure
Find the closest airport (US)/name a city and search engine will find airports nearby/distance to drive to get there and popular flights in and out

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Airline Route Maps
Select continent for full listings of over 1,000 route maps or search database for specific request.

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FAA-Air Traffic Control System Command Center
Official FAA flight delays by airport. Updates, e-mails and phone alerts.

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Avoid Delays
This NATCA site gives crucial information about the top 10 transgressors in flight delays. Advises best times to fly from airports as well as the terminals to avoid. Live updates on the website or via e-mail and phone alerts.

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Inside Trip
In addition to usual search criteria they factor in 12 "pain points" of trip quality including comfort, lost luggage, aircraft age and more.

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Bing Travel
Features price prediction (including fare alert) with current rate rise and fall based on past rates. Travel and Leisure's test yielded 87% success rate for major savings.

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Top Tips for Air Travel: Planning Tools

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Travel Agencies and Agents can be very helpful when problems arise
If you find that you have missed your connection or have a flight cancellations, travel agents frequently have the expertise, connections and relationships to resolve the situation.

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Brick & Mortar Travel Agencies
Travel agents can reserve one or more seats while they continue to look for a better deal or connecting flight. This is something that you can't do directly or through an online travel agency. They can also assign you a seat before the 24 hour check-in date. Check out the travel agency Flightcenter or call 1-877-992-4732.

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Search More Than One Online Travel Agency
Don't be lazy. At a minimum, check out rates with three online agencies before you book anything. Also, include one "Aggregator" (like Kayak) that searches and compares hundreds of sites.

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If you don't have time to do a major search, use an aggregator
They not only search the major online travel agencies (e.g. Orbitz, Expedia) but they also include dozens of cheap airfare, hotel sites, car rentals, individual airline sites, discounters and consolidators. One weakness is they don't always include special deals from airline sites or from discount airlines.

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Many aggregator's databases do not include budget airlines
(e.g. Southwest or Jet Blue) Search or call them for their best rates and deals.

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Search Engines and Aggregators
Generally the best place to start your search since they include other search engines, online travel agencies, airlines, etc. Check out kayak.com, fly.com and cheapflights.com

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Airline Booking Mistakes
Make sure that the name on any airline reservation matches your passport or you might not be allowed to leave the country. If you print out and retain a copy of the booking, you can use it to demonstrate that any subsequent errors made are not yours.

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In many cases, researching and booking a flight on the phone is better than online
It often times results in cheaper flight deals, complex itineraries and provides assistance when you need expert advice.

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For alternative airports
Includes distance in miles from major cities.

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Sign up for alerts
Sign up for fare alerts for airfares and package prices for specific destinations, and when the rate drops you'll receive an e-mail (fare alert), so you can decide if you want to book it.

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When to buy your tickets
In general, don't buy your plane tickets more than 10 weeks ahead. The optimal time is usually 6 to 8 weeks ahead, but start monitoring (looking for discounts and sales) around 12 weeks ahead. If you don't find anything, then book your flight six to eight weeks ahead.

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Best time to call for receiving discounts on airlines
Generally Tuesday through Thursdays (Tuesday around noon for U.S. flight bookings).

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Top Articles for Air Travel: Planning Tools

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Cheapest Flights? Expedia vs. Orbitz vs. Travelocity vs. CheapTickets

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How to Find the Lowest Airfares

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Tips and Tricks for Flying With Low Cost Airlines

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Airline Secrets Could Land Flyers In First Class

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Top Social for Air Travel: Planning Tools

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Top Deals for Air Travel: Planning Tools

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