David Rowell, who writes The Travel Insider, notes that “it is enormously harder to get upgrades these days than it used to be. Well, correction, it is harder to get undeserved upgrades these days. The procedure for getting upgrades that one is entitled to has become almost 100 percent automatic and hands-off, and with all flights being full in both cabins, there isn’t much ‘wiggle room’ for people to exploit.”
Sites in this latter category, which is growing at a rapid clip, may include a search component, but they also provide a list of low fares and/or alerts about such fares, either delivered by e-mail or posted online. They're ideal for people who are just looking for somewhere cheap to visit, or who are hoping to travel on specific routes but want to buy when fares are at their lowest. In alphabetical order, here are 10 of the best.
Sometimes you might be planning a trip but can’t fully commit to buying the tickets just yet. Price Alerts let you monitor the price history of your chosen flight so you can pounce if the airfares suddenly start to creep up. Or perhaps you want to go away on a specific weekend but the flights are far too expensive. Set a Price Alert and you’ll be sent an email immediately if there’s a price drop. Flight prices change frequently, but Price Alerts mean you won’t be caught on the hop if flight prices skyrocket – and you won’t miss out on a deal if prices plummet. 

Setting the benchmark for ease of use and functionality, Google Flights has become a go to flight search tool for any travel that doesn’t require the advanced routing and functionality of ITA Matrix. Tracking across multiple dates, destinations, and cabins, Google Flights will let you track individual airlines or alliances, choose the number of stops, and will wrap up any changes into an easily digestible email showing which prices have dropped/risen. If you have Google Now, you can have the price changes sent directly to the app, or you can see all tracked flight in the drop-down on the left of the Google Flights homepage.
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Orbitz.com: This well-known online travel agency is best known for its fare search capabilities (like Farecast, it runs on ITA Software). But Orbitz also offers fare alerts with its "Deal Detector" (find it under the heading in the lower left of the home page under "Orbitz deals — delivered to you"). Once there, fill in the departure and arrival airports (you can also opt to get alerts for cities within 80 miles of your main choice), choose whether it's a weekend trip or not, specify your dates of travel, and decide whether you're flexible plus or minus 1 to 3 days. Then set your target price and whether you prefer nonstops. You can only sign up for one deal at a time, and again, Orbitz doesn't list every possible airline.
Extra seat: empty middle seat (valid for the transport of musical instruments larger than a guitar)	 	Extra ticket (same price as existing ticket if booked by midnight on the same day; otherwise the flight fare on the day the private seat is booked)	Extra ticket (same price as existing ticket if booked by midnight on the same day; otherwise the flight fare on the day the private seat is booked) 

ITA Software Classic Matrix Tool - This tool allows you to search for fares in different sales cities so that you can accurately plan purchases in any city around the world. Additionally it has an undocumented feature that allows you to specify specific fare buckets. If you want to, for instance, search for A bucket availability on the HKG-JFK route on Cathay Pacific you would enter the search as From: HKG:: cx+ / f bc=a and To: JFK:: cx+ / f bc=a. You can substitute the "cx" with the proper airline code for the airline you wish to check, and substitute the "bc=a" with "bc=X" where X is the fare bucket you wish to check. If you wish to check multiple booking-codes and not place any restriction on the airline format the request as JFK::/ f bc=x|bc=y|bc=z to check the x, y, and z buckets. Another undocumented feature is the ability to request multiple segments on specific carriers (useful for mileage runs). If you want to travel from Los Angeles to New York and take 4 American Airlines segments, you would enter the departure city as LAX::AA AA AA AA and the destination city as JFK::AA AA AA AA. This will search for a 4 segment connection in each direction on AA. You can also force connections in specific cities. So, for instance, if you wanted to connect in STL from LAX to JFK on American Airlines you would enter the departure city as LAX::AA STL AA and the destination city as JFK::AA STL AA You can find the syntax by clicking "advanced routing codes" and then clicking on the little question mark next to the routing codes box. There is also a useful discussion of how to use this tool to the fullest on Flyertalk.
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