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Airline Web Sites Offer Good Deals and More

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RALEIGH — The vacation and summer travel seasons are just around the corner. Looking for some good deals on airline tickets? Airlines are more aggressive than ever, trying to dazzle travelers with special deals. OnLine reporter Tom Lawrence shows us how the Internet can be a great place to bargain shop.

There are lots of Internet resources for airline travel, and you can find interesting information about safety records of airlines, even individual airplanes.

Lots of folks are flying out of the Triangle for the long Easter weekend and some of them probably booked their flights online. Major airlines and travel sites have secure websites where, using a credit card, you can search for the flight you want and book it.

Student John Fonseca has shopped for tickets online: They automatically give you the cheapest fares to the destination you want to go to. All you have to do is basically put the day you want to fly, the time and when you want to return, and it pops up on the screen.

You can also check the progress of flights in real time onthetrip.com. We followed a Delta flight online from Charlotte to Atlanta.RDU's sitelists links to all airlines serving the airport. Check them for bargains and schedules.

Ever wonder about the safety record of the plane you're flying? Hook to the net and check out the new safety section of theFAA web site. It lists information you may have trouble sifting through. But you can enter the "N" number of planes to check on past problems. Would you cancel a trip if you found your plane has had problems? Some don't care.

"I've yet to see an airplane that I wouldn't fly from a standpoint of something that's not being done properly or a design problem," explains businessman Larry Watkins.

Keep in mind. This is raw information and may have little to do with present conditions of planes, airlines or airports.

Some travel and airline sites require that you subscribe, usually for free, to their service. TheFAA Safety siteis pretty complicated with difficult technical language. The agency put the safety information online under pressure from Congress following the Valujet crash in Florida.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Robert Meikle, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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