ITA software, by Google, has a neat online airfare search tool which you will find very addictive to use. It’s called Matrix Airfare Search and it’s a powerful tool for travellers because it allows you to search for airfares across entire months at a time, rather than a specific date or week. The website does not actually sell any fares; it just finds them for you. Once you’ve found the one you like, you can hop on over to your preferred travel website to make the booking. What’s great about this is that there is no conflict of interest. Matrix Airfare Search simply displays the lowest fare, and is not paid by airlines to sell their tickets.
Using their website I was able to find a return ticket from Melbourne (MEL), Australia to Los Angeles (LAX), United States for €736.26 (USD 960.00), including all taxes and fees. Here’s how I did it:
Note that I entered the sales city as Dublin, Ireland. This forced the search engine to look up fares as if they were sold in that specific country. In my case, it made a huge difference to the fare than if I were to leave this field blank (in which case it would have defaulted to Australian dollars). To elaborate; booking the same flights from an Australian website would have cost around AUD 1450 (USD 1410) – almost $500 extra.
Now, before you get too excited and start inserting Dublin every time you go to look for a fare, be advised that this technique does not always make a difference. For example, I did the same thing today and the fares came out exactly the same for both sales cities (at the equivalent exchange rate). My advice here is to experiment. Any price difference may be dependent on whether that particular country is having a sale for a designated airline.
One last thing: When you’ve found an airfare that you want to book, you need to go to a travel website to do so. In my case, because my sales city was Dublin, I booked the airfare at expedia.ie (the Irish edition of Expedia). If you didn’t input a sales city, this step would not be necessary, and you could just book at expedia.com. Also, don’t forget to earn your kickbacks with TopCashback before clicking through to Expedia, or any other travel website.