If you look around the internet, watch TV or read the newspapers and magazines, there are advertisements everywhere promising to save you big dollars. As with all advertising, some of it is true, while the rest is just the standard come-on to hook your interest. In some cases, there are real airfare wars with limited time promotional fares being offered by the major airlines feeling the need to generate some cash flow. If you are flexible on when you travel and, for holiday purposes, where you go, some of these deals are very attractive. But, for the more general traveler, let's start with the simple tips that work no matter which website or agencies you use to buy the tickets, and no matter where you want to go. The first could not be more straightforward. Fly midweek on a Tuesday or Wednesday. These are the "dead" days of the travel industry and most airlines offer between 8 and 10% discounts if you are flexible enough to travel on these days. Saturdays are also discounted to some extent. The same applies to the unpopular time slots, i.e. the "red-eye", late-night flights, and those flights that are the first off the ground once it's officially morning. Flights with at least one stop are also cheaper than direct flights.
The second general way of saving money is to survey the prices from all the airports near you. Assuming you are flexible and prepared to travel to slightly more distant and smaller airports, you can often save several hundred dollars on your air tickets. It's all about supply and demand. If there are fewer people traveling to and from from an airport, you can save on air tickets. The same logic applies to the landing fees. The smaller, secondary airports have lower landing fees. The airlines will still pass them on, but the savings can be significant. For example, if you are going to New York, you can save up to $200 if you fly into and out of Newark or Philadelphia. Now the only question is whether the cost of the extra time and transport from the smaller airport to your final destination is less than the savings on the tickets and fees.