When looking for a good deal, first begin your search on a travel consolidator site like Kayak or Expedia. You’ll get a quick overview of the price landscape of different airlines. And, you’ll be an anonymous shopper. You know how when you shop online all of a sudden ads begin popping up with things you may want to purchase? Your software is telling online vendors of your buying habits and this is supposed to be a nice service for you. Although not officially admitted, it’s said that airlines will track your flight investigations and prices will rise the more often you go back to check that flight. So, look anonymously first, they buy from an airline site when you are ready to commit. (I always did it the other way but not anymore!) If you are part of an airline loyalty program, that may drive your decision. Some credit cards let you chose from a number of airlines. The airlines often offer the best deals about eight weeks prior to a travel date. The can gauge demand by then. This is generally impractical for family travel as award seats may already be taken, school vacations drive leisure travel windows and the best seats assigned. So, my advice is book as early as possible … even ten or eleven months out.