Aug192015

Using AirfareWatchDog for tracking low fares

There were so many low fares around the USA yesterday with American and United dropping airfares to almost match Spirit Airlines on many routes. After post-bombing in the morning, I scheduled a break to hike the beautiful coastline of Monterey County at Point Lobos State Reserve where I spotted breaching humpback whales and a couple of sea otter moms with pups. A few hours later, back at home, I thought I would check airfarewatchdog.com to see if that would help me find more low fares around the USA.

I rarely check airfarewatchdog.com for low fares simply because it overwhelms me with airfares and destinations. I don’t care about $348 RT fares between SFO and Akron, Ohio. I want deals. On airfarewatchdog.com I need to sort through hundreds of fares to find deals from California airports.

Warsaw, Poland at $1,144 might be the current airfare price for a ticket, but I know I can fly to Copenhagen or Stockholm for less than $600 and buy a $100 round trip to Warsaw from there.

airfarewatchdog SFO-1

airfarewatchdog.com flight deals from SFO

airfarewatchdog home

Set up fare alerts for your home airport on airfarewatchdog.com.

SFO-ORD afwd fares

One of features I like about the display of fares is a key code:

D = domestic

I = International

N = New Fare

W = weekend fare

U = unadvertised fare

Click on the SFO-ORD $137 unadvertised coded fare seen above and this fare info display appears.

airfarewatchdog fare display

San Francisco SFO to Chicago ORD on American, US Airways and United for travel ending September 30.

Staff Airfare Analysis is helpful, more helpful for some fares than other fares.

The site did help me locate more domestic routes with low airfares yesterday, but finding the actual dates for low airfares on these routes seems much easier to me using Google Flights.

The problem with AirFareWatchDog for me is when I use ‘Find This Fare’.

AFDW find this fare

Airfarewatchdog.com Find This Fare tool simply provides a list of 14 online travel agency sites to choose from to locate this low fare. Once I know the route with the low fare, I can find the dates with lowest fares much more quickly using Google Flights.

When I click Priceline, I only get the fare for Sep 8 – Sep 15 round trip. The fare is $138.02 on Frontier and $166.20 on US Airways.

Google Flights for finding low fares

Google Flights shows me a monthly calendar of low fares that I can easily sort by alliance or airline.

Google Flights SFO-ORD ow search

Using Google Flights I filter airfare search for SFO-ORD to Oneworld airlines for one-way flights and quickly locate a $69 one-way flight. Now I change the search to round trip and select September 9 with the $69 one-way fare as my departure date and see what dates have low fare for a return.

SFO-ORD $117 AA

Finding a $117 round trip fare using Google Flights took less than one minute once I had the SFO-ORD route to search.

American Airlines San Francisco SFO – Chicago ORD   $116.20

Wednesday Sep 9 – Saturday Sep 12

SFO-ORD $116.20 AA Sep9-12

 

AirfareWatchdog.com Top 50 Fares

One of the most useful features of airfarewatchdog.com is a page under Flights heading for ‘Top 50 Fares’.

AFWD Top 50 fares

Most of the $80 to $100 fares I posted yesterday morning from American and United matches of Spirit Airlines fares on certain routes were fares I learned yesterday afternoon were also posted on Airfarewatchdog’s Top 50.

There was a comment on my blog this summer questioning why I did not credit airfarewatchdog.com for the fare I posted one day?

Honestly, I looked at airfarewatchdog.com closely yesterday for the first time in years. I don’t create airfare alerts, subscribe to newsletters or follow other airfare sites closely.

Airfarewatchdog.com is a high-tech airfare database with a staff of analysts compiling thousands of airfare deals daily. A site like TheFlightDeal.com compiles low fares for 8 to 20 routes daily.

My objective on Loyalty Traveler is to make readers aware of current airfare deals from California and general trends in airfare. I can do that with about 15 to 30 posts per week on airfares from LAX and SFO to regions around the world. I have no interest in creating a comprehensive database of fares.

I tend to focus on USA routes only when there is an exceptional fare sale like we have seen this week when American and United dropped fares to under $100 round trip on many domestic routes for fall travel. There were so many routes on sale yesterday that I thought of checking airfarewatchdog.com while out on my hike along the Pacific coast. Usually there is far too much data on airfarewatchdog.com. Yesterday was a day when I wanted a database of routes to locate more airfare deals.

Airfarewatchdog’s Top 50 fares is a source for low airfares that I really did not know about until yesterday. I’ll probably be checking it more frequently in the future to locate low fares.

AFDW DFW-MSP

I may adopt some style points from airfarewatchdog for airfare posts on Loyalty Traveler. I like the display for advance purchase requirements, dates of travel, start dates and end dates.

But, when it comes to searching routes for low airfare dates, Google Flights is still my go to site.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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