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Hotwire Flights: The 411

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Hotwire.com

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You save a lot using discounted Hotwire flights, but know the ins and outs.

Are Hotwire airfares good deals?

Owned by Expedia.com, Hotwire enjoys huge buying power.

Think of Hotwire as a discount outlet store. Airlines are motivated to discount because once an empty seat takes off, they cannot sell it.

Hotwire discounts won't likely work so well during peak periods.

If you're traveling to Las Vegas on a Friday and returning on Sunday, expect airfares to be higher, with often little or no discount off regular fares.

However, check because you may get lucky. The Vegas spirit!

What are the best deals?

For best prices, look for a "Hot Rate" in the flight choices (sometimes already sold out)–

Hotwire.com

Whats airlines does Hotwire use?

Hotwire works with airlines like American, Delta, Northwest, Cathay Pacific, United, Singapore, British Airways, Frontier, US Airways, and Virgin Atlantic—the ones that generally offer advanced seat selection.

Hotwire does not use Southwest Airlines.

Are there advanced purchase requirements?

No, not for the fares displayed. However, your fare is not guaranteed until you pay.

Can you get Hotwire discount fares on same-day flights?

Yes, if still available.

In order for you to have ample time to get to the airport and go through security, Hotwire currently will not book you on a flight earlier than

Moreover, you cannot book international Hotwire flights after 4:00 p.m. (local time at the airport) for same-day departures. That limits what's available.

Must I stay over a Saturday night for the lowest fare?

Generally no.

Do I pick my flight times?

Hotwire offers two types of airfares —

What if I don't see a Hotwire "Hot Rate?"

Try other dates and airports.

Alternative Airports = Lower Fares

These low fares are usually worth some flexibility on your part. Hotwire may suggest alternatives.

What about connection times?

"Hot Rate" flights to Canadian or U.S. destinations travel either nonstop or with no more than one flight connection, unless Hotwire tells you otherwise prior to booking. 

80% of "Hot Rate" connection layover times in North America are 90 minutes or less. Scheduled domestic layovers are never longer than 3 hours, unless flight schedules offer no choice..

International travel other than to Canada may require longer connections.

Can I get a refund or make changes?

Once you authorize your credit card payment for a Hotwire "Hot Rate," you can not get a refund. You will not be able to change your ticket even by paying a fee.

Regular Hotwire flights follow the usual airline rules. These tickets are usually non refundable, but at times part of their cost may be applied to another trip.

How will I get my ticket?

Tickets to places in North America and most international tickets are issued electronically. You do not have to bring along a paper ticket, which could be lost or stolen.

Be sure to bring a copy of your confirmation (or cell phone boarding pass) for airport security and check-in. If you have no access to a printer, write down your reservation information.

Some airlines, but not all, allow you to stand by for alternative flights on the same day for a fee, when using Hotwire discounted tickets.

You should stand by for earlier flights. If not able to get on earlier, you can always use your reserved Hotwire flights.

What should I do after booking?

After an hour or two, call the airline to make sure that it correctly lists your reservation. Ask how soon you will be able to request aisle or window seats. The airline may confirm your choice then.

Also check deadlines for checking in and for being at the gate.

If not at the boarding gate in time, your reservation may be given to a standby passenger.

Reconfirm flight times several times prior to traveling, in case of changes.

These days, allow more time than you think you may need for getting to the airport. Remember that your tickets are usually nonrefundable.

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Hotwire.com

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Enjoy your savings on Hotwire flights!