At Cheapflights.com, Nicola Corrigan is known as various things: deal maven, the diva of deals and, more precisely, the fare finder.

Corrigan, who has been both a travel agent and a globetrotter-on-a-budget, earns a living by prowling for the lowest-priced airline tickets.

The deals she discovers in e-mails and unearths on Web sites are listed in weekly, free newsletters published by Cheap flights.com, an online travel search site.

"Airline pricing is either lunacy or inspired genius," Corrigan said from her office in Boston. "Your best chance of finding a deal is being realistic. You can't expect to find a deal if you're looking five days before Thanksgiving."

As more ordinary consumers realize how widely airline ticket prices fluctuate, they are becoming ardent fare hunters themselves. The Internet certainly provides some helpful tools, from individual airline sites to newfangled, robust search engines such as Farecast.com.

But Corrigan is in a different league. For starters, she knows a few more tricks - some of which she will happily share — but she is also more regimented than ordinary budget-conscious travelers. She is online every day, including weekends, perusing 20 airline Web sites and a collection of online travel agencies before she moves on to consolidators, such as CheapAir .com and UltimateFares.com.

Get the full story at the Austin American-Statesman