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Travel Tech: Airfare Searches for the Truly Frugal

Carol Sottili

If you're the type of traveler who needs to unturn every stone in search of the absolutely lowest airfare before you'll buy, take a look at Priceline's new product, called Inside Track.

It's the latest player to offer sophisticated airfare analysis for consumers. Other sites, including Kayak, Farecast and FareCompare, offer similar search mechanisms, but Priceline's offers a few neat spins.

The new Inside Track option basically "mines" the results of airfare searches conducted on its site to pinpoint the cheapest deals. You can ask it to look at Washington, and it displays a long list of destinations, and then tells you whether the fare is dropping, going up (by percentage) or staying stable. Click on a particular city, plug in your dates, and a calendar pops up displaying the cheapest days to fly, and which airline is offering the deal. Using the calendar, I found a $631 round-trip fare to Amsterdam (with taxes) and a $237 round-trip fare to San Francisco. It's particularly valuable for those with flexible travel dates.

Inside Track also will alert you to price drops. Plug in your cities, and it'll send email alerts when fares drop.
As the airlines keep raising fares (in the past week, United, Continental, Delta, US Airways and American all announced fare hikes of as much as $50), travelers should take a look at every tool available when hunting for the increasingly elusive low fare.

By Carol Sottili |  March 18, 2008; 7:47 AM ET  | Category:  Budget Travel , Carol Sottili , Deals
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