Need plane tickets and want to find the best airfare? There are three categories of travel websites to check out.

1. Airlines often offer fares available only on their websites. Here are some U.S. based airlines:
Airtran Airways
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Frontier Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines
JetBlue Airways
Southwest Airlines
Spirit Airlines
United Airlines
US Airways
Virgin America
more airlines
  
2. Airfare Meta-search Sites search multiple airlines and redirect you to airlines website for booking. In return, they usually receive commission when you click on the search result. Some airlines may not participate in their search system. Examples are:
Bing Travel
Fly.com
Google Flights
Hipmunk
ITA Software
Kayak
Mobissimo
Momondo
  
3. Online Travel Agencies are similar to meta-search sites in terms of fare search but offer booking service. These might be useful when you need hotels and cars in addition to a flight. Some airlines may not participate in their booking systems. Examples are:
Expedia
Orbitz
Hotwire
Priceline
Travelocity
Cheaptickets.com

Before you make a purchase, you should check for these key terms:

  • Non-stop Flight: A flight with no stops or connections to your destination.
  • Direct Flight: Means there will be a stop(s) but the plane you are on will not change. Your plane will make at least one stop at a mid-point airport.
  • Connecting Flight: Requires at least one change of planes en route to the final destination.

 


 
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 Airfare Price Change (historical data): click here

 
Cheap Airline Tickets from Airlines: -- editor's pick!
Last-minute Thanksgiving Deals -- AirTran
Purchase by  November 21, 2012, 11:59 pm Pacific Time. 1-day advance purchase required. Purchase through November 21, 2012, 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Travel through November 27, 2012. Blackout Dates Apply: November 21, 24 and 25, 2012.
U.S. Flight Deals - Thanksgiving -- American Airlines
Reservations are required. Tickets booked on AA.com must be purchased at least 1 day prior to departure, or within 1 day of making reservations, whichever comes first, but no later than 11:59 p.m. (CT) November 21, 2012. Travel Period: Prices are valid for travel November 17, 2012, through November 27, 2012. Embargo Dates: Prices are not valid for travel November 21, 24-26, 2012;
Memphis, TN to Select U.S. Cities -- Delta
Purchase tickets by December 5, 2012. Travel may begin on or after December 4, 2012. Travel must be completed by February 13, 2013. Advance Purchase 21 days. Blackout Dates: December 19-23 & 26-31, January 1-6 & 17-21.
Last-Minute Deals For Thanksgiving Travel -- Southwest
1-day advance purchase required. Purchase from Nov. 16 through Nov. 21, 2012, 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Travel Nov. 17 through Nov. 27, 2012. Blackout Dates Apply: November 21, November 24, and November 25, 2012.