Maybe you are looking to go on holiday during the winter months, or planning ahead for next year, and you’ve started choosing destinations, but haven’t booked any flights. Look out for cheap flights! You may or may not know that you can make considerable savings by searching with price comparison sites or looking for sales on airline websites. By knowing where to look you can often make considerable savings, which can be the difference between a trip going ahead and not working out.
Buying flights on the day in person is often prohibitively expensive, even for domestic or regional airlines. Much better to book as far in advance as possible, when there is often a discount for the first buyers before variably-priced tickets start to increase in value as the planes fill up. Buying well in advance is the best method when traveling with expensive carriers, or booking long-distance holiday flights. They are often cheaper than their last-minute equivalent, but there are some exceptions.
Booking Late – Cheap Flights 101
If a plane is mostly empty, the airline will often still run the service, as they need to keep slots with the airline and so cannot afford to cancel planes. In order to entice passengers onto the plane and reduce the losses of flying with empty seats, you can sometimes find short-haul flights for just $20 and medium routes for $50 or so. This is an ideal scenario but gives you limited possibilities for customizing your dates of travel. For long-distance bookings, this type of deal is normally unavailable.
Using Price Comparison Sites – Cheap Flights 101
Various sites exist that allow you to compare the best rates offered by travel agents, bookings agencies, and direct airlines. You can enter your preferred dates of travel, passenger details, and route, and the site will compare all available travel and booking agents to find the cheapest deal. Some sites even offer hotel and car rental comparisons alongside flight booking.
Another useful feature is to search by country instead of for a specific airport and to use the cheapest month feature to find when travel is less expensive. Particularly for far-flung destinations, this can help you choose the best time to book a trip as the seasonal rates vary significantly. As a general rule, summer at both the start and end points will be more expensive, as will any national holidays or school holidays. Midweek flights tend to be cheaper than weekends, although this doesn’t hold true on all routes, particularly those seeing a lot of business travelers. Of course, business and first-class tickets are significantly more expensive than the economy and do not exist for most short-haul routes. You can often get extra legroom by booking ‘premium economy’ or simply choosing a seat in front of an emergency exit.
Going Direct on The Airline Website vs Agencies
Airline websites will often have deals, including for early and late bookers, advertised directly on their website. Even if you’ve already checked via agencies, it is often worth looking directly as you will be able to see a full selection of routes, won’t need to pay any additional fees, and sometimes sales are advertised.
Going direct is not always the cheapest, as many agencies buy tickets in bulk and then sell them for a discount. Particularly if the plane fills up and prices start to climb, the remaining agency tickets are often the cheapest way to get on the flight.
One of the number one expenses for travelers is often flight costs, along with accommodation. Comparison sites are a great way to compare rates for both, although they don’t always include all the deals. To be really sure that you’ve found the best deal, check the airline site as well as compare agency rates for the same or similar tickets. Think about whether another nearby airport or a different day might have a better rate, and consider either booking early (if you have a fixed date) or leaving it till later and going with whatever last-minute deals are available. Of course, if you choose the second option, you want to be sure you have flexible accommodation in case you need to move the dates or destination!