Take $30 off your US-Europe plane tickets today at Vayama

If you’ve been putting off the purchase of tickets to the EU recently, now is your time to strike. Airline search engine Vayama.com is offering $30 off any flight between the two continents today, softening the blow of the season’s expensive fares.

Checking a sample itinerary between Kayak and Vayama from Detroit to Stockholm, the Gadling Labs are pulling up fares of $690 and $713 respectively. Subtract $30 from Vayama’s fare, and we’ve got $683. Seven dollars saved. But hey, that $7 will buy you three espressos when you stagger off of the plane after a 8 hour redeye from JFK.

Why the fare discrepancy? Kayak pulls fares straight from the airline websites and a few other “no-fee” sites such as Orbitz and Cheaptickets (yes, we know they’re the same thing). On the other hand, Vayama is acting more like a travel agent, pulling in fares, tacking on a fee and returning results to the casual internet browser. While this gives them the flexibilty to put together complex itineraries and potentially put forth a good price, for direct itineraries like this it’s not as useful. Oh, and their site is prettier too.

Regardless, do your homework before you pull the trigger on an itinerary from Vayama. If tickets are cheaper, which they should be, book your flights before midnight tonight when the sale expires.

Fare alert! Tokyo on sale for under $600

Cherry blossom season is almost upon us, and that can only mean one thing for airfares: it’s time for the annual sale on tickets to Tokyo.

Most years there is a bit of a run on tickets to the Far East around this time of the year, but in this year’s prices, you can sense a bit of desperation. The economy is down, loads are light and the airlines are doing whatever they can to interest the American consumer in traveling again. Including slashing fares to Japan.

This round brings fares to anywhere between $550 and $600 from departure points all across the country. Plugging “flexible dates” into Travelocity, I’m finding $584 spring fares from LGA-NRT (that’s New York LaGuardia to Tokyo Narita,) while Los Angeles and Chicago are returning similar results.

All fares are on American Airlines (with some on United,) and travel appears to be good all of the way through May.

Need some help finding good tourist spots? Check out Big in Japan’s Cherry Blossom guide for a great start.

Fare alert! Take advantage of the fare war to Dublin!

It’s been a little while since we’ve had a good hootenany like we’re having this weekend. Dublin, as you know, is on sale from the United States, from almost every good port of departure.

From Chicago, Grand Rapids, New York, Cleveland and many cities in the midwest, tickets are as low as $330 for travel into March. West of the Mississippi, from departures such as Los Angeles, prices are only $45 higher at $375. You can even score tickets from your local podunk airport — Bay City, Michigan is rocking prices as low as $308.

But the most jaw dropping price appears to be out of Miami, where you can score tickets for only $220 round trip. That’s outrageous!

To find tickets, start by running a flex search at Kayak.com. Use +/- 3 days if you want the best prices, then when you find a good set of tickets, bounce over to the airline of choice’s website and book tickets. Right now I’m sitting on top of some Feb 20 – 22 tickets, but seeing as I was just there, I’m a little gunshy to book.

Interested in learning more about what’s going on in Dublin? Check on Gadling’s list of 10 Things you Didn’ t Know about Dublin.

Airfarewatchdog’s 2009 tips for saving on airfare

Our friends over at Airfarewatchdog are still working hard, day and night, finding cheap tickets for America. Their grass root efforts have gained them a cult following, and these days, most people I know subscribe to their newsletter.

To help us in our daily scouring, George and the team put together a list of 10 tips for saving on airfare in 2009. With the evolving airline industry, crazy oil fluctuations and new carriers on the market, this sort of stuff is important to keep track of every year.

AFWD’s tips range from the simple, like “use flex searches” to the subtle, like using direct airline websites instead of booking engines, but each of the points is relevant, significant and important to keep in mind while doing your fare searching. Make sure you stop by and take a look at the entire list — it could save you a bundle!

The art of reticketing flights

One of the world’s great mysteries is when exactly the best time is to buy airplane tickets. You want to wait just long enough so that the price hits its lowest point — but you can’t wait too long, or else it’ll skyrocket again. Is it four weeks out? Four months?

You can never know. Even with the help of tools like Farecast, Kayak and Farecompare, there is always the risk that two days after you purchase your family trip to Europe, the price of your itinerary is going to plummet.

What most people don’t know, however, is that many tickets can be repriced. In the same way that you can take a television back to Best Buy if you find out it went on sale the day after and get the difference, you can also exchange tickets weeks after you book them.

Airlines, of course, are a little more criminal stingy about the process. Almost all of them charge a rebooking fee that can vary between $50 – $150 dollars. But on a high priced ticket, that can be a fraction of a price fluctuation.

The key is to keep an eye on your ticket price, even after you purchase it. If you see your exact same itinerary drop significantly in cost, call the airline up and ask to refare or rebook the ticket. They’ll dig around to see if it’s worth your time after levying the rebook fee and if you’re lucky, they’ll issue a voucher for the difference in price.

Just last week, for example, I noticed that a huge fare sale to Salt Lake City affected the ticket price for a future itinerary that I have into Reno. Calling up Delta Airlines, I got them to issue me a $54 e-cert for use in future travel. Sure, it’s not cash in hand, but I can definitely use the voucher.

What this stragety is particularly good for is repricing business travel. Many travel agents will blindly book a ticket on a preferred airline at high cost. When you, the passenger, check back in and reprice the ticket later, however, the reward is yours.