by Pete Kondak
A lot of people ask me about me about getting best priced air fare. I'm happy to share some of my knowledge from working on both sides of the counter at the airport.
First off, flexibility is going to save you the most money. Typically the best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to fly. The airlines have less travelers flying on week days so the fares are a reflection of this. Also always purchase your tickets directly with the airline (unless, of course it's part of a ski package with Tours de Sport!). If you book your tickets on Priceline or Hotwire or a similar website you are the usually the first one to get get bumped off an oversold or overweight flight. In fact some carriers such as Delta will not give the passenger a seat assignment until they are at the gate if they booked on a discount travel site. Not many people know this, and 95% percent of the time you can get the same fare on the airline's website. The airlines are all about loyalty. That's why they treat their high value frequent fliers so well.
Another great option is to look at Southwest. Southwest Airlines does not publish any of their fares on any website except their own. Typically their fares are less then the larger carriers and have no baggage fees. Also Southwest tends to fly in major cities smaller airport's such as Chicago's Midway.
With the airlines charging more money for luggage, it's in your best interest to pack light. Pack as much as possible in your carry on luggage. All of the major airlines still count a ski bag and a boot bag as one piece of luggage even though they are 2 different pieces. Also try and keep your checked luggage under 50 pounds. Weigh it at home before you come to the airport if possible. This will ensure you don't pay overweight charges. All of the major airlines also have credit cards that waive the baggage fees. On Delta's AMEX Card, as an example, they will waive the baggage fee for up to 9 people in the same reservation.
Good luck and happy travels to ski county! Make sure to say hello when you're in Jackson!
Pete knows of which he speaks having worked the counter at Jackson Hole airport which is a crazy place, both Winter & Summer.