Researching Airfare Deals with Hopper and Google

Hopper provides tools powerful tools for finding excellent flight deals. For instance, suppose on May 1, 2014 you’re researching fares from San Francisco to Paris, leaving June 1 and returning June 15. The lowest fare shown by Orbitz is $1723. Hopper’s href=”http://www.hopper.com/research/hopper-research-data/” target=”_blank”>Origin-Destination Report, using the 3 days before and after option, shows an XL Airways nonstop leaving May 31 and returning June 16 for $1155. The Orbitz +/- 3 days option wasn’t working when I tried this, but an Orbitz search for flights leaving May 31 and returning June 16 again came up with a low fare of $1723. Apparently XL Airways is not covered by Orbitz.

It should be noted that XL Airways is a small airline with a reputation for extremely poor customer service. However, Hopper also shows a United nonstop leaving May 29 and returning June 12 for $1548. Hopper offers a good variety of before and after flexibility options including 1 day before, 1 day after, 1 day before and after, 2 days before and after, 3 days before and after, 1 week before and after, and 2 weeks before and after. Hopper’s Origin-Destination Report for San Francisco – Paris also shows that fares tend to be up to $25 lower when purchased on a Sunday, that departing on a Monday can save up to $100, and that returning on a Monday can save up to $74.

Hopper’s How to Save Over $500 on Flights to Europe this Summer shows alternative destinations with much lower fares and notes that there are lots of round trip flights within Europe for around $200. Clicking on the sample map for flights from JFK enables creation of a map for flights from SFO to various European destinations showing a round trip San Francisco – Oslo price $568 lower than that for San Francisco – Paris. The Origin-Destination Report for SFO – Oslo shows a fare of $1043 for June 4 to June 18. A look at the Origin-Destination Report for Oslo – Paris shows fares of around $300 – $400. So for around $1400 it should be possible to visit Oslo and Paris for less than a round-trip flight to Paris.

In sum, Hopper provides a variety of tools that can be very useful in planning trips for which there is flexibility in dates or destinations.

Another good resource for flight planning is Google Flights, notable for the speed with which it returns search results.

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