Sunday, May 1, 2011

Plane Tickets

I'm currently in the process of attempting to find the cheapest ticket to San Jose possible.  I've done quite a bit of flight searching in the past couple years and I thought I would do a post on different airlines and ways that I find my cheap fares.  I have the most experience with inside the USA and to and around Central and South America.  So that's where I will focus today.

Inside the USA:  My favorite airline by far is SouthWest.  The crews are extremely nice (sometimes they ask if you want MORE snacks!  This is a huge plus in my book!), the cabins are doable, changing flight dates has a low fee and the flights are usually at better prices.  We've all heard of the hole-in-the-ceiling fiasco, but that won't keep me from buying SouthWest.  The problem is they do not fly all over the country, and they are NOT searched in websites like Kayak, Travelocity or Priceline.  So if you're lucky enough to live near an airport serviced with SouthWest, I'd give them a whirl.

To Latin America/South America:  Everyone knows about the American international airlines that can get you down there (American Airlines, Delta, Continental) and out of those I would recommend AA.  I find Delta and Continental cabins to be extremely cramped and just not worth it.  There's one other shout out I'd like to give: Spirit Airlines-- you can get [what appear to be] stupid cheap tickets that then start to build up to "normal prices" after you add on things like taxes and luggage (you have to pay for carry ons AND checked).  Also they only go to a couple big cities in the USA.  I still have found that combining a SouthWest flight with a Spirit flight was cheaper than any other provider.  Just make sure to triple check your dates/times when combining airlines.

Around Latin America/South America:  Within this area I have flown with Taca.  They are a great airline that has monthly deals ($99 flights from Miami to San Jose!) and who always give you a meal on the flight, even if it's only 3 hours.  Besides the deals they have, they are not much cheaper than any other provider so you have to continually check their websites to get the cheaper flights.  Another airline within this area is Copa which I've never flown with but has similar deals as Taca.

I hope some of this information will be useful to some of you out there.  Right now in my quest for tickets I have found prices to be uncommonly high.  A ticket that would usually cost me [round trip] $500 is now at a minimum $800.  I have found a couple one-way tickets for $400 which I might consider buying.  The issue is that when entering Costa Rica as a foreigner on a visa you have to have proof that you're leaving, ie: a return ticket, a bus/plane ticket to another country, etc.  So right now I'm considering buying a one-way coupled with a bus or plane ticket to another country.  $800 is just too much!