I recently used Flightfox to book a flight from Monterrey, Mexico to London. The cheapest flight I found was US$1109, Flightfox found one for $959. It was well worth my $49 fee.

However, I'm puzzled as to how they found me this bargain price. The flight they found for me included third flight, which I didn't use (and indeed couldn't use), from San Jose, California to Reno, Nevada, on Alaskan airlines.... on a date I was in the UK.

The retail price on this trip was roughly $1300, and I got it for $959.

Somehow by bundling this flight with my round-trip fare from Mexico to the UK, I was able to save money.

How was Flightfox able to find this deal? How can I find them myself--assuming that's even possible, without some special agent mojo?

  • 1
    hop into the Travel Chat, we have had a few discussions on this on occasion :)
    – Mark Mayo
    Feb 20, 2014 at 23:10
  • 1
    possible duplicate of How does "Fuel Dumping" work?
    – Doc
    Feb 21, 2014 at 3:11
  • Note that whilst this isn't exactly a duplicate of the above post, the discussion of how to find these fares is probably not something worth covering as it's generally against the airlines Contract of Carriage, and can have multiple negative side effect...
    – Doc
    Feb 21, 2014 at 3:12
  • @Doc: You're saying that these bundled prices, like the one Flightfox gave me, aren't worth it? I'd love to know why... perhaps I should ask a new question?
    – Flimzy
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:33
  • 3
    @NomadTraveler: Look at the link at the top of the question. This "bundle discount" I got was actually, upon closer examination, a case of "fuel dumping," and not an intentional discount at all. The linked question explains what this is, in basic terms... it's quite complicated. I've decided I don't care enough to learn to do it. :)
    – Flimzy
    Feb 25, 2014 at 1:07

2 Answers 2


I can't give you a single tip that would work for you or anyone else. Ticketing and air fares are a serious business and there is no single tip that can give you the kind of knowledge to find these fares.

Not every ticketing agent is qualified to come up with these nice prices, you can visit a travel agency and two different agents would give you two different prices (I had first hand experience). They need to have deep knowledge in many things, including the reservation system, IATA rules, airlines` rules, etc. This kind of knowledge has no single source, it is an academic knowledge (rules and regulations) combined with technical knowledge (reservation systems) combined with real life experience.

If you have the will and the time (and some money), you can always join one of IATA's courses on the topic, they will give you a good starting knowledge on the topic. Then you can continue reading online about fares and ticketing. Also, you need to have a course on one of the ticketing systems (like Amadues), this will give you a solid knowledge on how the real life ticketing and fares process is done. From this point you will be able to come up with better fares.


I was one of the flight experts on flightfox when it was contest-based last summer. Just didn't have time to do it anymore.

In the era of priceline, kayak, cheapoair, itamatrix, etc, searching for airfare online is much easier than before. If the journey is simple (e.g. roundtrip without any constraints), then simple search in one of these sites will result in the cheapest airfare. Multiple searches depending on dates, etc might be required. There are some tricks like not all airlines are available through online travel agent (e.g. priceline). If you are US-based, southwest is an example.

If the journey is more complicated, multiple cities, fixed or variable order, etc then it might become impossible for automated/exhaustive search engines to evaluate all of the possible options. Although, the human travel agent cannot try all the possible options, but he/she can find a solution.

Yes there are some tricks but you need to know how to search and be patient in trying out different options.

  • 3
    there are some tricks but you need to know how to search -- this question is asking about those tricks :)
    – Flimzy
    Mar 28, 2014 at 21:37
  • I cannot list them all on the top of my head. First and foremost is international roundtrip is not double oneway. It is usually a little bit more (sometimes less!!!) Mar 28, 2014 at 21:40
  • Stopovers are sometimes permitted. Say, you have a connection in an airport. Sometimes, you might be able to extend your stay with little or no additional pay. Mar 28, 2014 at 21:41
  • There are multiple ways to combine one way with a roundtrip ticket if the journey has multi-stop. Mar 28, 2014 at 21:42
  • open jaw is sort of like a round trip. Mar 28, 2014 at 21:42

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