Airlines employ artificial intelligence & algorithms that factor – in demand, time, weather conditions, fuel costs, major festivals, holidays, and much more to price a ticket.
Still, flight deals are available if you’re willing to put in some time & effort. Here being flexible with your schedule and getting creative with travel plans will help you find a cheap flight ticket.
Follow the tips given in the article to get started, but don’t waste hours and hours hunting for a cheap flight.
A truly cheap price will ask for more flexibility with dates, destinations, and timings.
#1. Keep Travel Dates and Times Flexible
Depending on the time of year, day of the week, and upcoming holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving, airline ticket prices vary greatly.
For example- traveling to Hawaii for Christmas, then you will find the highest prices.
Traveling to Europe in August, when everyone wants to go will cost you more. Similarly, on weekends most people will fly to catch up with friends and family leading to a busy travel time.
Early morning and Red Eye flights will be priced lower in comparison to day flights.
Monday morning flights to commercial city centers and business places will be packed with executives returning to work resulting in higher ticket prices.
Note – Your ticket is going to cost more if you are going to fly when everyone else is flying.
#2. Keep Boarding or Destination Flexible
Applicable only if you are boarding from a city that has more than one airport or a nearby airport that is easily accessible.
At times tickets from nearby airports cost less. For example, I was looking for a ticket from Miami (MIA) to Dallas (DFW). The direct ticket was costing $281.
Whereas the same ticket from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Dallas was costing $232. Cheaper by $49.
But you need to add on the cost of transportation from Miami to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport and then compare the benefits.
#3. Search Ticket for Single Traveler
Avoid searching or buying multiple tickets in a single purchase.
For group ticket booking airlines will show the highest ticket price and that means – you’ll end up paying more money.
If you’re searching for four seats then the airline will find four seats together and show your fare based on the highest ticket price.
For example, if seat A is $140, seats B and C are $208, and seat D is $310, the airline will price tickets at $310 each instead of adding up the individual ticket prices.
#4. Fly Budget Carriers
For short-distance requiring an hour and a half of travel time, flying budget airlines is a good alternative to flying full-service.
The list of budget airlines includes –
|Country / Region||Budget Airlines|
Sun Country Airlines
|Canada||Air Canada Rouge|
Hong Kong Express
But budget airlines charge for seat selection, checked bags, carry-ons, printing your boarding pass and even for using a credit card.
Add all the charges to the ticket price and then compare it with the price of a full-service carrier.
#5. Check for Hopping Flights
Hopping flights have one or two intermediate stops before the final destination.
At times Frankfurt or Lisbon hopping ticket costs less when flying to Zurich (ZRH) from New York (JKF) instead of taking a direct flight
For example, a New York to Zurich direct flight ticket will cost you $590.
Whereas a flight ticket that stops at Frankfurt costs $400, a direct savings of $190. But the travel time increases by almost 2 hrs.
If you have more time then stopping at Lisbon would save $590 – $348 = $242.
#6. Check Bereavement Fares
Few airlines help you out when traveling for a funeral in the family through bereavement fares.
Alaska Airlines, Delta, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Hawaiian, and WestJet offer bereavement fares. The amount of discount still depends on the airlines.
You need to provide a copy of a death certificate or a doctor’s note before booking.
To get bereavement tickets you must meet the airline’s specific guidelines, which may include restrictions on travel times and destinations.
#7. Booking Two One-Way Flights
Rather than round-trip, booking two one-way flights gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of –
- Choosing different airlines
- Choosing departure and destination airports
- Combining cash with points redemption
- Fly one leg with full service and the second with a budget airline
Note – Useful only when the total cost of two single flights is less than the round-trip costs.
#8. Airline Error & Sales Page
At times seriously discounted flights are available when airlines commit mistakes in posting their fares.
Reasons for errors can be –
- currency conversion mishaps,
- technical glitches,
- human error.
Popular sites for tracking error fares are Scott’s Cheap Flights and Jack’s Flight Club.
Ticket ROI will come at the point where you are willing to forgo some of your comfort in exchange for the money.
You are the best judge of your travel plans & expenses. So you need to focus on getting the best travel experience at a value-for-money price.
Bottom line is to book immediately if you’re happy with the deal because airfares change by the minute.