Securing the best flight deals requires more than just a quick search online. Whether you’re planning a spontaneous getaway or a long-awaited vacation, understanding the nuances of airline pricing (and a learning a few flight booking tips) can save you significant money.
Our aloSIM team put together a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the complexities of flight booking tips, ensuring you get the best value for your money.
Here are the things to consider:
Flexibility is key
If you can be flexible with your travel dates or even your destination, you’ll often find better deals. Typically, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Fridays, Sundays and Mondays are the realm of business travelers, so are often pricier. The next time you search for a flight, try changing the ‘exact’ dates to ‘+/- 1/2/3 days’ and you’ll see the difference.
Set fare alerts
Websites like Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Kayak allow you to set fare alerts for specific routes, informing you of price drops. After inputting your desired destination and travel dates, these websites offer an option to ‘track prices.’ This service keeps an eye on fare changes for you.
Consider alternate airports
Major cities often have more than one airport. For instance, London features several airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, and London City Airport. Exploring flights to and from these alternate airports might save you money, as each offers a range of destinations and airline choices.
Fly on the off-peak or shoulder season
Every destination has its peak and off-peak seasons. Flying during the off-peak or shoulder season (the time between peak and off-peak) can be cheaper and less crowded.
For instance, the Caribbean offers better deals from late April to early December, avoiding the busy winter months.
Europe‘s shoulder season in April, May, and September brings milder weather with fewer tourists.
Japan is less crowded and more affordable in the early summer and winter months, outside of the famous cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons.
In Australia, traveling during the Australian winter (June to August) can mean lower prices, and for cities like New York, the best times are just after New Year or during the fall, avoiding the holiday and summer peaks.
Use points or miles
If you’re part of a frequent flyer program such as American Airlines’ AAdvantage, Delta’s SkyMiles, United’s MileagePlus,British Airways’ Executive Club, or Emirates Skywards, or have a credit card that accumulates travel points, keep an eye out for redemption opportunities. These programs regularly offer special deals, bonuses, and promotions that can provide significant savings or perks for your travels.
Book a package
Sometimes, it can be advantageous to look for package deals that bundle the costs of flights, hotels, and sometimes even car rentals. These packages are often offered by travel agencies or booking websites and can provide significant discounts compared to purchasing each component of your trip separately.
By booking a package through a website like Expedia or Travelocity, you may also find that you have access to better flight times, hotel rooms, and car rental options that aren’t available when booking individually.
Check multiple flight booking sites
Don’t rely on just one site. Compare prices across multiple aggregators such as Expedia, Kayak, Skyscanner, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Priceline, as well as the airlines’ own websites. By cross-referencing these platforms, you’ll often find the best deals and options tailored to your travel needs.
Be mindful of extra fees
Low-cost carriers, such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Southwest Airlines, and AirAsia, might offer attractive base fares but could charge extra for everything from seat assignments to baggage. Ensure you’re comparing the full cost when considering these airlines.
Consider stopovers during flight booking
Non-stop flights are convenient but might also be more expensive. If you’re not in a hurry, a flight with a stopover can be cheaper. Plus, if your stopover is long enough, you might have the chance to explore a new city or country, turning a part of your travel into an additional short trip.
Join airline newsletters
Airlines often send special promotions to their subscribers, which can include percentage-off discounts, special one-time offers, or early-bird rates. Alongside promotions, newsletters often include travel tips, destination highlights, and itinerary ideas to inspire future trips.
Book connecting flights separately
Sometimes, booking two separate one-way tickets on different airlines can be cheaper than booking a single ticket. Just ensure you leave enough time between connections for potential delays. Also, check baggage policies, as you may have to pay for checked bags on each ticket if the airlines have different baggage fee structures.You’ll also need to check in with each airline separately, which may require extra time at the airport.
Use airfare maps
Some tools, like Google Flights, Skyscanner’s map view, and Kayak’s Explore feature, show a map with prices to fly to different destinations from your city, helping you find a bargain to a place you might not have considered.
Remember, the best travel experiences begin with smart planning – so keep these flight booking tips from aloSIM in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to snagging those deals. Safe travels and happy landings!