Finding cheap airline tickets is like winning the lottery! Unlike hotel rooms most airlines are more or less the same. Here we will look at where to find cheap airline tickets with an emphasis on using websites to find cheap airline tickets.
The best way to find a cheap airline tickets is to travel when everyone else isn’t traveling. Try to avoid the days before any standard holidays but do look into flying on days like Easter, Christmas and New Years Day (morning especially). Travel in January, September and early spring (avoid spring breaks). When traveling in Europe try to avoid summer travel and look into spring and fall instead. Tuesdays are by far the cheapest days to fly and if possible try to include a Saturday night stay in your booking to get the cheapest airline tickets.
Today most travel searches begin by using the web and searching through many different travel specific websites. Some websites for cheap airline tickets include hotwire.com, cheaptickets.com expedia.com, orbitz.com, travelocity.com and priceline.com. You will also want to look into each airline’s specific websites. There are many other travel websites but we will just concentrate on these for right now. The rates across all these websites can vary considerably. Determine your location and then start looking across platforms for the best rates. Many travel sites have a tab that allows you to look at fares within a few days of when you want to go. Do this and you will find many flights that are cheaper as long as you are willing to be a little flexible. Take note of the cheapest airline ticket rate and come back and look through the rates one more time the next day to determine if the rates are going up or down. If they are going up- book quickly. If they stay the same or go down there isn’t any hurry but keep checking. After you have determined what the average fare is you will be able to spot a real bargain when you see one.
Where can you find cheap airline tickets? Well the airlines own website is a great place to start. If you know which airlines fly in and out of your city you can sign up for their frequent flyer miles program. Even if you aren’t a frequent flyer you can earn points through many credit cards such as American Express and transfer those points over to the airline. Then you can use points to book travel- sometimes for as little as a $7.50 fee. Recently I booked a flight to NYC using 35,000 points and my $7.50. My companion paid $950 dollars for the same ticket because he didn’t use points and booked later.
When is the best time to buy airline tickets? If you book too early you might end up paying way too much for your ticket. On the other hand if you wait until the last minute you can end up paying almost double.
Sometimes you can get great last minute deals. To find cheap airline tickets you need luck as well as skill. By signing up with an airline’s frequent flyer program you can ask the airline to send you last minute deals to certain places. This works great if you have friends or family to stay with at your destination. Websites for cheap airline tickets that specialize in last minute deals include: Airfarewatchdog.com, Lastminutetravel.com and the name your own fare sections on Hotwire.com and Priceline.com
Here is a tip that might snag you a free airline ticket. If you must book during a busy time get the best deal you can but remain flexible with your travel plans. Show up early to the airport assuming that your flight has been overbooked. When you get to the gate tell the gate attendant to put you on the list to give up your ticket in exchange for another ticket and travel on a later flight. Often times the airline can get you on another flight the same day and you are a roundtrip ticket ahead.
One final tip for how to find cheap airline tickets: Look at the fares in adjacent cities. Sometimes one city will be considerably more popular relative to the number of tickets available. Because of this the airlines will cut fares where they have extra tickets but keep their popular fares very high. A great example of this is flying into Oakland, CA VS San Francisco, CA. Both airports are attached to the BART transportation service into the city but tickets into Oakland are usually significantly cheaper. Anytime you are planning to fly make sure to check the fares at nearby airports that also meet you your needs.
To summarize, if you want to book cheap airfares the number one thing that will save you money is being flexible. This means planning your trips when other people aren’t flying and looking into maybe staying a little longer or shorter period of time to get a cheap ticket. Sometimes booking last minute can land you super deals but don’t count on getting a cheap last minute ticket. Last minute tickets are often the most expensive airline tickets out there. Look into joining frequent flyer clubs and using points for travel and try to land free tickets by signing up with the gate agent in cases where your flight might be overbooked. Enjoy all the money you will save on airline tickets and spend it on your vacation!