My last airfare purchase and using the 24-hour rule. That's a much better title, but I do have some OCD when booking. I go on a researching binge. The best part is I do it for other people too, nit just me. I just like trip planning.
Sometimes, when you see an airfare you have to jump on it. I had looked at Seattle to Phoenix airfare a few weeks ago as I discussed how it would be fun to go down for a Seahawks game. Football, sunshine, and I have friends down there. Rates were high, but I am always researching and browsing airfare just for fun if nothing else.
I saw a pretty big drop in prices. Although the flights weren’t friendly, the prices went from $300-400+ to about $200 roundtrip. I decided to jump on it and start looking. I was going to have to sacrifice since the flights had layovers and weren’t as friendly time wise. In addition, the airlines weren’t necessarily my first preference, but sometimes we don’t get a choice. I am usually willing to do all that when time isn’t a huge factor and I am traveling solo. If I have the family with me, almost never, but I alone can make the sacrifice. Also, keep in mind I was now about 20 days away from this trip.
As always, I use Google flights and Kayak. I like the set up both these sites provide, especially when you have flexibility. Kayak will give me a nice box with different combinations of days and the various prices, while also showing be their “hacker fares” which combine airlines and may require purchasing separate one way tickets.
Google flights lets you click on a map and see airfare prices to anywhere. This comes in great when looking for a city close to where you are going that may save you hundreds or perhaps if you just need a cheap flight and want to go to Europe. This feature can help you.
OK, so back to my flight purchase. I didn’t like the automatic options I was getting just searching but wanted to lock something in just in case. Remember, you have 24 hours now to cancel a flight after you book it. I always recommend looking at each specific airline as they might have little modifications to it. One of the best rules the government ever came up with in my opinion.
I booked a roundtrip on United for $175. As I stated I didn’t like the times, I was ok with them, but wanted to keep looking. As I was modifying my plans with friends and when I wanted to leave and arrive, I was able to tweak my bookings slightly using the one-way option.
I had been trying to look at southwest airlines as well. They aren’t included in any of the normal websites. You have to specifically use their website. I had seen a $67 one-way flight down but when I went to book, it kept jumping by $30 during booking. It stated the rate wasn’t available anymore. Well eventually at about 1AM, I was able to secure it. It had better times, still a layover, but it subtracted just over an hour off my travel time. In addition, I saved about $20.
I secured my way back still with United for $97 on the same flight as originally booked. I tried to change that one but the times and prices didn’t change enough for me. In addition, these airlines aren’t stupid. They know a bunch of Seattle people are traveling and all want to go back Monday. Had I elected to come back Tuesday, I could have gotten the $67 rate. United and Southwest were the only lower cost options at the time if I wanted to save. I could have jumped up to $129 coming down and $150 back for better times, but saving the extra $100 was more important to me. I’ll use it to get my game ticket!
Most importantly, don’t forget to cancel the other flights originally booked!