FOX43 Finds Out: How to snag a cheap flight

YORK COUNTY, Pa -- It can sometimes seem like there is no rhyme or reason to how an airline determines a flight price.

"We joke a lot in the industry that we think somebody is still in a basement at the airline offices with a dart board and where ever that dart sticks is the price for that day and flight," said Vickie Everhart, who has been a travel agent at Krouse Travel in Red Lion for more than 20 years.

She has seen trends in the airline industry when it comes to prices, but says a lot of those myths about booking flights aren't even true anymore.

"It used to be if you booked on a Tuesday you got the better deal. It`s not like that anymore. It really isn`t."

Everhart says it's really all about destination, suppy and demand.

"It`s not the time of purchase so much as it is the time of travel."

We tested that theory.

If you want to fly from Baltimore to Miami on the day before Thanksgiving, which is the busiest travel day of the year, and then return that on Saturday - Ameican Airlines will charge you $495 round trip.

If you took that exact same flight schedule, the week after thanksgiving - look at the price, $165.

That's a more than a $300 just a week apart.

This is why Everhart says if you can be flexible with your travel plans, you can save money.

"Do you really have to fly the day after Christmas when everyone else wants to fly or can you fly two days after or three days after?"

You should see if where you're flying to or from is an airline's home base, you might find a cheaper price.

"If you`re flying into one of their hubs that will help the cost. If you`re flying into an area where they have a lot of flights."

Everhart says there is one airline's practices that impacts flight prices more than others and that's southwest.

"They will introduce their flight reservations 6 months or so in advance where the others release theirs 11 months before."

Which means, if southwest's prices are cheaper when they come out, that could mean the other airlines might lower theirs as well  to stay competitive.

That is why some travel experts believe flights to hawaii could soon be cheaper, after southwest announced it plans to fly to the hawaiian islands sometime next year.

The travel agent though says the lowest price, may look appealing, but could cost you in the end.

"You have the carriers such as spirit that they give you something that looks like a great fare but then you start looking at the add-one to get a seat assignment, to carry on a personal item on the Flight. It`s adding up and before you know it, it`s more expensive than the other flights."

Also make sure you look at flight times, nobody wants a 21 hour layover even if it does save you some cash.

That's why Everhart recommends getting a travel agent to help make planning a bit easier.

"We will my promise somebody the best prices, but we`ll give them the best schedule, the best value for the money that they`re spending."

The travel agent does have some advice on how far in advance you should be booking a flight.

She suggests to start looking at 11 months out from when you went to travel.

You can wait until the 6 month mark to see what southwest puts out for their price.

You'll have to do some research though and see if Southwest actually flies to your destination, or else you're waiting for no reason.

Between 5 and 6 months out is when you should bite the bullet and book the flight.

If you're traveling over a holiday or school break, Everhart says book it when you see it because those flights fill up fast and get expensive quickly.