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The Deal on Cheap Air Fare
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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Cheap air fare is viewed by many as a gamble. Itís akin to playing the lottery Ė you may get a good price, or not. The worst fear of every traveler is to find out that the person seated next to them on the plane has paid much less than they have.

Finding that perfect, very elusive deal is often left in the hands of the professionals. Indeed, donít many travelers turn to travel agents and agencies for a hassle-free buying procedure? While it is not to say that travel agents skin the pockets of their clients, it does have to be remembered that sometimes, doing your own stuff can bring better results. So how does the layman find his way into this jungle of air fares?

Common sense is key, especially in the first stages of decision making. One would definitely expect to pay more in peak traveling periods. Summer vacations and seasonal holidays fall into this category.

It also pays to remember that a cheap air fare is relatively subjective Ė what may seem cheap to someone may not to another. So how to decide if you are getting a good deal?

It never hurts to take a look at past history of fares. Of course, one cannot expect the price to have remained unchanged. However, looking at past trends does give an indication of the periods of ups and downs in the price market. Graphs and data can also show when the low fare period hits, when there is a lull in price, or when prices are generally readjusted.

If this too sounds too complicated, then it is good to fall back on the tips and pointers of getting a cheap fare. It is recommended to buy 14 to 21 days prior to the date of departure. Within 14 days, hogging of seats for more expensive business seats implies that fare prices jump higher. It is also not advised to already book a fare for a trip more than 4 months away, since a reservation premium is then applied on the seat.

All in all, cheap air fare really is akin to a gamble. But with logic and patience, one can definitely come out a winner.

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