Did you know that the same flight on the same date can vary in price by hundreds of dollars depending on where and when you buy your ticket? Did you know that the airlines play games with us in an effort to get us to pay as much as possible for our plane tickets? Unfortunately both are true but there are a few tricks you can use to help you avoid paying more than you should for your airline tickets and today we are bringing the 9 most useful.
1. Incognito mode is your best friend
The airlines are pretty clever and they can track when you’ve visited their site and searched for a certain flight. If you’ve checked the price of a flight and then thought you’ll make the purchase at a later date the webpage will register your interest. When you come back to make the purchase they will know that you’re interested in that particular flight and they will give you your very own price hike to reflect your interest.
Incognito mode stops them from doing this. The airline website captures your cookies when browsing for flights and it then uses this data to manipulate the prices when you’re looking to purchase a ticket. Incognito mode prevents them capturing your cookies and thus strips them of their power to manipulate prices based on your personal plans.
Although incognito mode means you’ll have to enter your login and password details manually, if you’re saving some money for your trouble it’ll be worth it.
2. Use the Best Search Engines for Flights
There are plenty of websites dedicated to finding you the best prices on flights. They’re all good but not all are as good as each other.
One of the best and most recommended is Skyscanner. As well as searching for flights among a huge number of airlines, Skyscanner also allows you to see the prices of flights to your destination for up to a month before and after your chosen dates allowing you to compare the different prices for the different dates.
Kayak is also a very good site to use if you’re looking for flights. It won’t just carry out your search, it’ll also highlight the cheapest flights to various destinations.
Also we recommend Drungli. This page has a different take on searching for flights. You tell Drungli where you’re flying from and when you’re going to fly and it will show you how much flights cost to various destinations.
3. Don’t Obsess Over the Dates
OK, plenty of us want to fly during the holidays or on weekends but remember that the busiest periods are also the most expensive. So, if you can, it will always pay to be a little flexible with your dates.
If you can avoid flying at Christmas or during the summer months you’ll see huge savings on flights booked during the “low season”.
If this can’t be avoided, however, do not despair as all is not lost…
4. Be Adventurous (At Least Once)
If you can’t budge on dates maybe you can be a little flexible with your destination. If you have certain dates free but aren’t sure where you want to go you can play with the websites to make sure you get the best bargains.
Google Flights is designed specifically for this, showing you all sorts of interesting offers for the dates you’ve picked. Skyscanner, which we’ve already mentioned, has the option to put in dates without a destination and Kayak also has the explore section which is designed to do the same thing.
5. Forget the Myth of the Last Minute Bargain
According to a study by the Airlines Reporting Corporation last minute bargains on flights do not exist. In fact the prices of flights increase substantially in the final 12 days before national and international flights.
If you’ve already got your dates approved then get your flights booked. For example if you were to try and book flights from Barcelona to Paris for this month the price would come in at around 100 euros but if you looked for flights towards the end of the year you would find prices closer to 50 euros for a return ticket.
6. When you buy is Also Important
According to the study mentioned above the prices of flights can vary a lot depending on which day of the week you are buying them. As a general rule you’ll find the best prices for flights on Tuesdays, no matter where you’re flying to. After Tuesday’s the best days to book are Saturdays and Sundays meaning, as much as possible, you should avoid buying flights on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
This isn’t an exact science and can change depending on airline (many low cost airlines can have price fluctuations throughout the day), but if you don’t need to book your tickets immediately it could be worth checking out the prices of your flights periodically as the week goes by and studying which is day to buy.
7. Don’t Rule out Stopovers
You’d think taking two flights instead of one to get to a destination would be more expensive. This, however, isn’t always the case and with long haul flights, more often than not, the opposite is true. This is the case even more so if you’re origin is an airport that isn’t a major international hub. For example, it is usually to cheaper to fly from Barcelona to New York stopping over in London that it is to fly direct.
To search for flights with stopovers simply click the “with stopovers” option on the webpage you’re using to search for flights.
8. Be Aware of how far Airports are From Your Place of Origin and Final Destination
Many cities have more than one airport in their vicinity. Although flights from major airports are generally more expensive you need to take into consideration how much it will cost you to get to and from secondary airports. If you’re not too careful you could end up spending more on getting to the secondary airport than you saved on your airfare by flying from there.
Also, once you know roughly how much it costs to travel to and from the secondary airports that are in your vicinity you can look at the money you could save by flying out of one airport and returning to another. This goes for airlines too. There is no law saying you need to return with the same airline that took you out and fortunately most flight search engines already take this into account when calculating the cheapest way for you to get from A to B.
9. Newsletters can Help you Stay Ahead of the Game
Although search engines and price comparison websites offer you the best way to find the best value flights it also pays to keep up to date with what types of offers the airlines are offering directly.
If you sign up for newsletters you will receive regular offers and promotions via email or even discount codes that you can apply when you pay for your flights. Furthermore, if you sign up on their website many airlines offer loyalty schemes which will reward you for repeated use of their service… Do not underestimate the power of the Newsletter!!!
So there are our favorite 9 tricks for getting the best possible deal when booking flights. If you have any other hints or tips that you use to save money when travelling let us know so that we can make this article even more useful for our readers.