These tips will help you get the lowest priced flights. With rising gas prices and economic turmoil cheap flights will be a little bit harder to come by. So follow these steps and stay ahead of the crowd.
1 – Plan, plan, plan. Planning your trip ahead of time gives you many advantages. The first is that you have more time to look for good deals. Second, airlines offer a few discount seats for each flight and they go quickly so having a plan works in your favor. Airlines also give you a better price if you book your flight at least 14 to 21 days before your departure date. If you know that you want to take a vacation in the summer but don’t know the exact date you should use http://farecast.com/ to predict the absolute best month to buy. For example, you might change your vacation from June to August because the rates are 25% less in August.
2 – Know your stuff. If you know the average price of your airline ticket you’ll be able to identify a good deal when it comes along. It’s a lot like buying stock. Warren Buffet knows the real value of a company and when the market does something silly and undervalues it Warren buys it. The only way you’ll be able to take advantage of great deals is by knowing the average ticket price and acting quickly once you see the price dip. Airlines make discount seats all the time and for different reasons. Usually they’ll reserve a few seats as discount seats. Sometimes they’ll liquidate a lot of seats on a flight that isn’t filling up. Knowing their behavior is key into finding a great deal.
3 – Buy Direct. You might use an aggregator service like Kayak, Orbitz, or Sidestep to do the digging but when you actually buy your ticket go direct to the airline’s website. Buying direct has many advantages especially things go bad. You’ll also avoid any extra fees that a third party place might charge.
4 – Be flexible. If you’re flexible with your dates, time of day you fly, and the airports you fly from you’ll come out ahead. Changing the days you fly or the time of day can greatly influence your ticket price. Being flexible on your airports also pays off. You could cut the price in half simply by changing the airport you fly from or fly into.
5 – Go against the crowd. Fly on the days people don’t like to fly. Traditionally, leaving on a Tuesday and returning on a Thursday, leaving Friday night and coming back on a Sunday morning yields better rates. Instead of flying before the holiday fly the day of the holiday (like New years). Fly late at night and early in the morning. Airlines will be more then happy to give you a screaming deal if you go against the crowd.
6 – Go old school with a travel agent. Using a travel agent can yield great results. Most are paid through commissions from the airline and not through extra fees. They have inside information on “consolidators” who can provide even deeper discounts. If you’re flying to a popular destination (Hawaii or Las Vegas) a travel agent may have access to charter flights. While these options provide deeper discounts they also may greater restrictions or limitations. But if price is your most important factor these restrictions are easily dealt with.
7 – Sign up for email updates from the airlines. Subscribing to emails from airlines will insure you’re the first to know when discounted seats are available.
8 – Be old. Many airlines offer senior citizen discounts for customers over a certain age. Additionally, many airlines will offer low rates in the event of serious injury or family tragedy. If an airline does offer discounts under these conditions documentation might be required.
9 – Call and complain (nicely). If you bought your ticket and notice the price go down you can get some of your money back. Simply call the airline you purchased the ticket from and explain what happened. Many times they will accommodate you with cash or something nice, like an upgrade.
10 – Be Creative. A man from California earned over a million frequent flyer miles by purchasing $3,150 worth of Healthy Choice pudding. His scheme gave him 31 round trips flights to Europe, 42 trips to Hawaii, 21 trips to Australia, or 50 trips within the United States. Read the Pudding Guy Story here.
So there you have it. If you have additional tips comment below. Good Luck!
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