PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Now that the summer travel season is over, there are plenty of bargains to be found on airfares. But are travelers searching for those deals in the right place? 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan shares what one frequent flyer found after he did a bit of research.

When it comes to air travel these days, it seems that nothing is simple. Frequent traveler Nicholas Kralev says, “The airlines have made the system this complicated and this frustrating for a very simple reason, they would like to make more money”

Kralev says he’s figured out the system and has even written a book about it called “Decoding Air Travel.” He says, “I thought there is nothing I can do about this system. What I could do is learn about it, educate myself, and try to use the system to my advantage.”

According to Kralev, in general the cheapest days to buy plane tickets are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That’s when the airlines publish their most discounted fares. But the cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, at least most of the time.

Kralev believes that the airlines test a customers willingness to pay by tracking their on-line activity with “cookies” and other tools. So he suggests that you may be able to out-smart the system by logging off and rebooting your computer.

Also Kralev recommends that if you call an airline and you don’t like what the agent tells you, try again. There’s a decent chance you’ll get a different answer. He says, “The training of airline agents is very peculiar, and so if you have a question, three agents will most likely give three different answers.”

Finally, Kralev believes that most travel websites are basically the same and while he recommends that you use them to do your research and price comparisons, he believes that you should use that information and buy your tickets directly from the airline instead. That is something that I too recommend, as you will normally will be able to find the same price, and it makes it a lot easier if you have to make any changes to your reservations later on down the road.


Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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