Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

THE HELP DESK The Help Desk: Top Tips

Cheapo airfare

Gerri Willis gives tips on how to land the cheapest price for your airline ticket.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Looking for some good news in this dismal economy? Well, how about dirt-cheap airfare?

The airlines are desperate for travelers. And YOU are benefiting. If you make comparisons to this time last year when oil was at $130 a barrel, ticket prices on the whole are down 30 - 40% according to Farecompare.com. And if you're going to destinations in Europe, you're saving 45%.

So - what deals are to be had?

Here's a list of some of the most discounted destinations in the U.S. These prices are from Farecompare.com and it's for upcoming travel on various airlines. All rates are roundtrip.

  • A ticket from Charlotte to San Francisco costs $218 - that's down 44% from a year ago.
  • A ticket from Phoenix to Orlando we found was $160 down 42% from last year.
  • A ticket from Hartford to Las Vegas $180, down 37%.
  • A ticket from Ft. Lauderdale to Chicago $139, down 32%.

And here are some of the most discounted international cities from Farecompare.com. Again, this is for future travel with roundtrip rates on various airlines.

  • A ticket from Washington, D.C. to Moscow is down 54% from last year.
  • A ticket from Chicago to Dublin, one ticket we found is down 59% from last year.
  • A ticket from Boston to Milan down 54%.
  • A ticket from Los Angeles to Sydney down 53%.

Now, while ticket prices have gone down ... airline fees aren't going anywhere. These fees rake in too much money for the airlines.

We used to say, if you want to travel for the summer book now. But that's not true this year.

The best fares out there right now are for April and May travel. If you want to get a great summer fare, start shopping in about two weeks because fares are expected to fall.

Bottom line here: if you are paying over $300 for a domestic ticket this year, you are paying too much. You can get coast-to-coast flights for $199.

Now, as for strategy, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. And the best time to shop for your ticket is Tuesday after lunch. That's because most airline sales come out on Monday and airlines try to match those prices on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.  To top of page

Gerri's Mailbox: Got questions about your money? We want to hear them! Send an e-mail,we'll answer questions on CNN, Headline News and CNNMoney.com.
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
17 cool gadgets that tease the future Smart telescopes, surveillance for dogs, an electric roadster and more from CES 2018. More
These 12 airplane beds let you really sleep on a flight For the price of a premium class ticket, you may just get a space that's comfortable, private, and quiet enough to ensure a good rest. More
CES 2018 kicks off with oddball gadgets The biggest tech show of the year opened with a collection of quirky gadgets. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play