2. Talk to the airline You may resort to online sites to compare prices of fares across various airlines, but don't forget to contact the airlines directly. "Airlines like Southwest don't allow their airfare to be posted to third-party sites, so you could overlook a better deal," says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. "Also, buying directly from the airline will reduce the hassle associated with dealing with a third party in cases of flight changes or cancellations." 3. Book airfare and hotels Booking a flight and hotel at the same time can result in significant savings. "A Travelocity study found that you can save up to $525," says Courtney Scott senior editor at Travelocity. "Plus, these packages are dynamic so you can choose any flight and hotel combination - they are not pre-packaged - it just means booking at the same time." 4. Fly out of a smaller airport
6. Time matters The most cost effective flights are the ones during odd hours of the day - including the first flights of the day at 6 a.m. and the red eyes overnight. "I recently researched a flight from Denver to Orlando, and the cost for a 8:15 a.m. departure is $298," says blogger Kendal Perez of HassleFreeSavings.com. "The 12:42 p.m. departure cost $70 more at $368. Similarly, a return flight at 8:32 p.m. from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) on JetBlue cost $129 -- whereas the 11 a.m. flight cost $198." 7. Book well in advance While this is tough for business travelers who need to fly for an unexpected meeting, aim to book flights several weeks in advance when the prices are lower. "For domestic flights, if a consumer books 12-35 days before departure, they can save up to 6%," says Kayak.com spokesperson Maria Katime. 8. Coupon Codes When you see a space to enter in a coupon code on an airline's website, don't skip over it - you're missing out on savings. "Treat this process like shopping for clothing," says Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com. "Some airline providers like JetBlue have sales. You can also find coupon codes online and earn cash back (a portion of your online purchase that is deposited into an account for you) when you buy online." 9. Airport Parking
10. Special fares For students and young people, it never hurts to ask the airline if there is a special discount. "There are plenty of organizations that cater to student travelers," Hinkle adds. "Search online for student-only airfares or try last-minute stand-by tickets for reduced fares. There are also youth fares -- discounted tickets for ages 18-22 and you don't have to be a student to use them."