Air travel is an expensive business, and getting more so all the time, with high fuel prices and the tough economy forcing airlines to slash the number of cheap tickets available to consumers. Getting a cheap flight is now a competitive business, and below are some secrets for scoring cheap airline tickets.
The first secret is to be flexible, both in your destination and when you want to fly. If you absolutely have to fly to New York on the morning of July 19th, you are obviously going to have fewer options than if you just look for a city break holiday in late July. There might be cheap tickets available to other less popular destinations.
As well as flexibility, timing your booking is key. A recent Time article by Martha C White suggests that early Tuesday mornings (between 6am and 9am) are the best time to find deals, after airlines tweak their pricing over the weekend and roll out new deals first thing on Tuesday.
When it comes to timing, you should also consider that early morning flights tend to be cheaper than peak-time travel. While it’s never pleasant to get up at 3am so you arrive at the airport in time to make a 5am flight, you can make a substantial saving and, as White also points out, the airport has not had time to build up a backlog of delayed flights on the runways, so you are less likely to experience delays. A very early flight also gives you effectively a whole extra day at your destination.
If at first you don’t succeed… wait until the last minute. There are two ways of scoring cheap tickets on any given flight. First, by booking as far in advance as possible and bagging the limited cheap seats available. Or secondly by waiting until the very last minute and hoping there are some tickets left.
Airlines might be trying to trim the number of cheap seats, but they still need to fill their planes, so in the event that there are spaces left on a flight, you can still find them heavily discounted in the last weeks and days before a flight. Again, this might mean you need to be flexible about your destination or flight time, but it’s a good way to bring a little spontaneity into your otherwise predictable life!
Finding cheap flights is not as easy as it was five years ago, but there are still great deals available for those who are able to be flexible about their holiday arrangements. Keep your eyes open, set your alarm clock and prepare for the holiday of a lifetime – even if you don’t yet know exactly where you’re going to be going!