OK, so you know I love to travel and that I run marathons all over the place. I’m not an obsessive planner, but I do plan. Since I have already completed running a marathon in all 50 states, I do not plan my marathon schedule around “the states I need” but instead, I look at marathons I’ve heard good things about, places I want to visit or marathons my friends are planning to run.
One of my key travel tools is KAYAK. Whenever I am exploring the possibility (or probability) of a trip, I do a search for airfares on it (I also use KAYAK for hotels and car rentals, but the focus here is on airfares).
KAYAK has a feature where you can easily set up a price alert for the airfares you are watching. It will then send you a daily email notifying you of the prices that day. The default setting is for a weekly email, but I always switch it to daily notifications.
On any given day, I will receive a daily notification from KAYAK – with a listing of around 20 to 30 airfares. The notification indicates if the price has increased or decreased, and by how much.
This is very satisfying when there is a sudden drop of $200 in the price of a fare I’m watching. Conversely, it is less than satisfying when I see a trip I’ve already booked go into massive sale mode.
Today is a day I (mainly) love KAYAK, and here’s why. I had a price watch on KAYAK for two trips to Memphis – because of two marathons I’m interested in running. The first was over Labor day weekend, for the Tupelo Marathon, and the second was the first weekend in December for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon.
Airfare for both of these trips was sitting in the high-300’s. However, in the email I received from KAYAK today, it revealed a massive price drop – $165 round trip for LGA (my airport of choice) to MEM on United/Continental. I booked both trips.
I believe that all airlines allow you one day to cancel – even non-refundable flights. I will keep an eye on the airfare – particularly to see if Delta (the airline I fly most often) will join the sale.
On another note, I booked a March trip to New Orleans a few weeks ago for over $350 because I was fearful that prices would continue to rise. I cringed when I saw that airfare is today below $200 on United. It is not worth canceling (and paying a $150 fee), so I have no choice but to accept it.
What sales have you seen recently? How do you search for airfares?