The Burden of Cheap Air Travel

Finding a low airline fare gets even more complex.

The Burden of Cheap Air Travel

As everyone knows, flying can be expensive. It seems like no matter what you do to get the lowest fares — Buy early! Buy late! Buy on the third Tuesday of May but only if it rained the night before! — you end up paying an arm and a leg. There are plenty of services and sites dedicated to keeping air travel costs low, but it can still be difficult to nab the exact flight you want for cheap. You can blame airlines for this annoyance, especially when one wants to charge extra after you purchase your tickets.

As Time reports, Allegiant airlines is currently considering "fluctuating fares." Here's how Allegiant's system will work: When you're buying your ticket, you're presented with two options — one set, higher rate that won't fluctuate, and one lower rate that might rise or fall, depending on fuel prices on the date you travel. When The Department of Transportation got wind of Allegiant's idea, it implemented a rule stating that airlines could not charge prices after tickets were purchased, but Allegiant is now working around that regulation by claiming that the ticket payment for a fluctuating fare is only a partial one. Experts are skeptical that consumers will adopt Allegiant's idea, but if they do, you can expect other airlines to follow.

If Allegiant's system does take off, it only adds to the exhausting task of trying to fly affordably. But here's something to consider: Make others find that cheap flight for you. That's the idea behind Flightfox, a new site that uses a contest set-up to provoke users into finding the best deals. All you have to do is go to Flightfox and put in your required flying information, like date and location. Once that's entered, the site posts your "contest" to all registered users, and they compete for three days to find you the cheapest and best flight option. The winner of the contest gets 75 percent of the "finders fee" that you pay Flightfox when you set up your competition. The fees typically range from about $30 to $70, depending on the complexity of your itinerary.

Yes, we know paying for someone to find you a cheap flight seems counterintuitive, but it can save you money in the long run if they find a significantly cheaper flight than you did. It's also a good idea for those who are busy, and don't have the time to search the web for cheap deals. We're just trying to give you another option for finding cheap air travel fares...as if you need more.

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