William Shatner may be best known to most Americans as STAR TREK’s Captain Kirk, but for a new generation he is instantly recognized as the Priceline Negotiator, appearing in a number of cheesy, over the top commercials hocking the last minute, budget minded travel site. Priceline was among the first of many similarly themed sites, offering steep discount on airline fares and hotel rooms nationwide.
It is an attractive concept. If you don’t mind some odd departure or arrival hours, you can typically pick up unsold airline seats or empty hotel rooms for a fraction of the normal price. The only downside is that to make it work you have to wait until the last minute to make your travel plans and you end up at the whim of whatever might still be available.
You don’t even need a middle man like Priceline to get a deal either. Airlines routinely offer empty seats at steep discounts, just to get them filled, make some money in the process, and entice customers to make that last minute weekend getaway.
Most major airlines offer these last minute sale days on Mondays through Wednesdays to accommodate travel for the coming week or so. Most of these last minute deals depart on Friday or Saturday and return on Sunday through Wednesday.
Many of the airlines will allow you to sign up for newsletters through which they announce such discount sales. Other travel related sites such as also makes similar announcements, which may actually be a better choice as they tally all of what is available and promote the best offers.
You should also be prepared to act when you find an attractive offer. Last minute specials are extremely popular and if you find a good option, chances are it will be gone if you so much as hesitate. Don’t start looking until you are prepared to make a purchase, and make the purchase once you have found the deal for you.
Familiarize yourself with flight patterns. If you watch long enough, you will notice that there are recognizable patterns when it comes to flights in and out of given cities on given days. Knowing which airlines serve your city, and on which days will really help you when it comes time to look for those lower price ticket bargains.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you might want to consider bundling an airfare/hotel package, an … READ MORE