Perhaps like me, you may have read many articles related to the search for cheap flights. Nevertheless, the problem for me was about finding these tips useful; to know if they were applicable – when to use them or even how to apply them in practice.
In this practical guide to finding cheap flights, you will find useful tips that not only tells you the ‘what’ but shows you the ‘how’ and ‘when’ to use them, so you can become better informed at knowing how to use the required tricks for finding a flight that fits your budget.
There are several factors that will make it easier to search for a cheap air ticket. However, the first and perhaps the most important of the tips is that you are flexible when booking your flight.
- Dates and Schedule: traveling the day before or after a holiday and during the week is usually cheaper. In addition, taking flights very early or late at night is cheaper since most passengers prefer to avoid flying at that time.
- Airport: in larger cities, there is usually more than one airport. For example, if you are going to Paris or London, be open to the possibility of going to its smaller airports or to one that’s far from the center.
- Destination: Do you want to travel but the final destination of the airline’s flight schedule is not as important? Find more than one alternative to find a reduced price flight.
- Low Season: The cost of traveling to the US from Australia, for instance with a round flight in October and November can double its value at Christmas or during summer.
- Different Airlines: It is also common to find cheaper flights with different companies’ round trip or even if you fly with stops.
These errors make the price of airline tickets reduce so much that their prices seem ridiculous. It is usually due to human failures, errors with currency conversion or even errors when omitting fuselage charges.
How to find these airline mistakes? It would be crazy if we checked these errors manually on the airlines day by day on their websites. Fortunately, there are websites specialized in this, such as Secretflying.
Here’s how to use Secretflying in Two Simple Steps
- Write the city from which you want to fly leaving the destination blank.
- Select the airline error that interests you most.
- And viola… You are good to go!!
FOLLOW AIRLINES IN SOCIAL NETWORKS
Make a list of airlines with more presence in the city where you live. For example, if you live in Houston, TX, the main airlines would be Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, EVA Air, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Emirates.
Then follow them on your social networks: Instagram, Facebook and especially Twitter. Airlines usually launch offers with ridiculous prices from time to time.
USE FLIGHT SEARCH ENGINES
Choose 'Random Destination' instead of a specific destination. For example, if you are traveling from Dallas with a random destination, do the following:
- Open the calendar of dates by clicking on the return date and choose the month in which you would like to travel
- Look at the destinations, offers and choose where you would like to travel
On Google Flights
- Leave the trip destination blank.
- Click on the return date.
- Select 'flexible dates', the month you would like to travel to and the time range; usually within a timeframe from a weekend to two weeks.
- Choose the destination according to your budget.
If your departure date is fixed but your return date is flexible, try 'random destination' in the flight search engine.
For example, if you want to travel from London from October 1 to 30 with a random destination, here are some recommended steps:
- Select at the destination 'anywhere'
- Choose a flight that fits your budget.
When your DESTINATION is FIXED but your flight schedule is FLEXIBLE, use a FLIGHT CALENDAR. The one I like the most is Google Flights.
- Enter Google Flights.
- Select the flight London to Paris and click on 'search'. The flight date you select is not important
- Enter 'price graph' or 'date grid'
- You can also find the price calendar by clicking on the return date.
Finally, find out which of the flights and schedule best suits your budget!
FIXED DATE AND DATE
There are also websites that offer these tailored services where you can easily find the airlines with a better price offer. If, for instance, you want to fly from Texas to Paris with departure 12/08 and return on 12/21, follow these steps:
- Enter a flight search engine (e.g. Momondo, Skyscanner or Google Flights).
- Select the destination and dates to travel.
- Choose the flight that is most convenient for you.
The 'price alerts' are notifications that the user receives when the desired flight rises or falls in price. They are completely free and can be activated or deactivated at any time. This option is particularly effective when you know that you are going to travel on fixed dates and fixed destination well in advance.
If, for example, we are in the middle of the year, and I wanted to l follow the flight prices to return home for Christmas. Here are some practical steps:
- Enter a flight search engine. In this case, we will use Skyscanner.
- Select the desired dates and destinations.
- Search for the flight and activate the price alert
- You will receive alerts in your email every time the flight price goes up or down.
iii. Hidden cities
This approach involves booking a plane ticket with a stopover to your destination city, and not taking the next flight. For example, if I want to go from Atlanta to Orlando, I could take a final flight in Dallas, but not take this last leg because it would be cheaper than flying nonstop to Orlando.
There are, however, certain rules to this trick:
- The airline should not find out about your plan since they could prohibit you from flying.
- It works only with the outbound – not with roundtrip flights.
- Once you miss one of the flights, your reservation is canceled.
- You cannot check baggage as it would go to the final destination.
- Do not abuse this technique.
The question now is, how to find these flights?
There is a website specialized in finding this type of flights, it is called Skyplagged. Here are the steps:
- Select a one-way flight to your desired destination
- Compare flights and see if there are options with hidden scale (skyplagged) cheaper than with a normal flight.
Do note that this technique (according to my experience) works mainly with flight destinations within the US.
MYTHS WHEN SEARCH OF CHEAP FLIGHT OFFERS
There are countless blogs that tell you that it is cheaper to BOOK flights on TUESDAY or WEDNESDAY. But the reality is that there is no evidence of that theory. Neither is there a day of the month or time when booking flights are cheaper.
For example, there is no proof that booking a flight on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. on the 19th of each month is cheaper.
Conversely, the reality is that flight search engines work with complex algorithms, so these myths probably won't work. But finding cheap flights doesn't have to be that complicated.
I hope you learned a thing or two from this guide. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Cheers!!