I spend a good amount of my extra income on airline tickets—yes they aren’t cheap, (they are relative to the past) but I wouldn’t have it any other way because buying one typically means I’m either seeing my family, fiancée, or both.
In the continuous process of searching for a better way to save money in this area, a few websites I always check: Kayak, Orbitz, and Southwest.
Kayak searches nearly all travel websites for the best deals available. Orbitz offers a decent search with better operability (meaning I find it easier to follow). Southwest Airlines offers different levels of ticketing, which often leads to a great deal.
I used to think the best way to purchase airline tickets was last minute; however, in most cases it’s better to buy a long way out (30-60+ days if possible).
Interestingly enough, I used to think one-way tickets were a joke. However, I managed to lower a $450+ round trip ticket to $227 using two one-way tickets with different carriers (American Airlines and Southwest Airlines in this case). Once again: it pays to do your homework!
Anya Kamenetz, offers Ten Tips on Traveling Cheaply—well worth a glance.