If it seems to you that the era of cheap airline travel is over – or at least gasping for its last breath under the stranglehold of rising oil prices, increased staff costs and growing environmental concerns – then maybe you are just not looking in the right places. There are still plenty of cheap flights out there for those searching tactically and flexibly. Finding a cheap flight is not rocket science, but it does take patience. Here are some sure-fire ways to increase your chances of finding those cheaper seats.
Be flexible with travel dates
Airline ticket prices vary depending on the demand for them. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, you will find significantly cheaper flights.
- You should avoid public holidays and school holidays, including half-term breaks.
- It’s generally cheaper to fly during the middle of the week rather than on a weekend.
- Booking in the tail-wind of a public holiday can help as demand drops after such times.
- Have a look at different times of the day to fly, as less people take the earliest or latest flights.
Be flexible with airports
There are secondary airports that serve major cities and sometimes nearby destinations may have airports that are serviced by cheaper flights. All airports charge landing fees, and smaller airports charge lower fees, which can often mean a cheaper flight price being offered to you. For example, if you are flying to Los Angeles, have a look for flights to Long Beach as well as searching out deals to LAX.
Be flexible with your route
Thinking creatively about the route you are prepared to take can cause your fare to sky-dive. Let’s say you are off to Madagascar. Opting for a flight with a stopover in Mauritius, rather than Reunion, for example, may help to lower your fare. Better still, booking a flight from Paris and taking a budget carrier from London to Paris to catch it may help even further. The reason is that Madagascar is a former French colony and has more French visitors, which means the flight fares are more likely to be lower.
Be flexible in your search
Have a good look around for your cheap flight using a variety of sources. Comparison sites such as www.fly.co.uk allow you to compare a number of carriers, whereas individual airline sites may carry exclusive deals. Do not forget to browse even package holidays, because as many have bespoke flight carriers, it can be cheaper to take a cheap package holiday and forget the accommodation and even the return flight.
Finally, remember that the days of last-minute flight deals are over. As a plane’s seats fill, its fare rises, so you need to book early to secure the best deal. There is a whole cod-science that revolves around predicting exactly the best time to book a flight, but the simple truth is the earlier the better.
Plan ahead, be flexible and search wide and hard to find those cheapest air fares – and enjoy the flight.
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