Kayak.com, Hipmunk, Momondo, Onthefly and Skyscanner are a few sites to begin my search for airfares. Aggregators work efficiently to provide fares on most airlines, then send me to the individual site for purchase. Consolidator CheapOAir sells directly; not many sites carry China Southern but I found a great price for a Taipei-Kathmandu flight. Google for local airlines flying to my destination’s airports as many aggregators do not cover these foreign airlines. I track fares using Airfare Watchdog and Kayak; check Bing for buying advice, and Seat Guru for seating suggestions. When I see the flight, convenience and price I want – book it. Period. I lost a great direct flight to Taipei by puttzing around waiting for something better.
Before I purchase my airfare, I either clear my cookies or use a second browser to check on the airfare. Airlines have been known to track the traveler and charge accordingly. I don’t want to pay more for a ticket because I search on a Mac.