6. Get the Most Out of Expensive Airfare (look for refundable fares and first class)
If all else fails and you find yourself having to pay the sky-high price of a last-minute coach fare, consider the usually pricey option of a refundable fare, which is especially useful if you need to be flexible or end up not going. Another option: Fly first class. Believe it or not, it is often cheaper than a last-minute full-fare coach price, and since you're already paying an arm and a leg, why not be comfortable?
A final thought: If you can conduct your urgent business over the course of a long weekend, you can sometimes find really good weekend or getaway fares promoted by airlines as last-minute or getaway specials. American, United, US Airways and others offer such discounts nearly every week. These deals are usually available for Friday/ Saturday departures while specifically requiring you to return on Monday or Tuesday.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.
Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website, FareCompare.com, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.