Whether you are a travel enthusiast, work internationally, or even a person who rarely goes abroad, there is one we all enjoy: A cheap flight. And we do not mean cheap as in ‘budget airline, knees to ears seating cheap”, we mean flights at a lower cost than normal.
Out of 2,922 respondents, 42% of individuals paid £100 or less for a single journey flight, and 31% of individuals paid between £300-£500. For a return flight, only 17% paid less than £100 for a return trip, and 33% paid between £101-300.Statista 2021, Price Paid For Last Flight Survey
We want to help get the above 42% and 17% figures higher.
What are the best ways to find cheap flights?
There are many ways to find a cheap flight ticket, however, below are the tips that we have found to be the most effective.
- Flexibility is key.
- Book your flights in advance.
- Book your own connecting flights.
- Check payment options in different currencies.
- Search multiple websites.
- Always carry out your research in Incognito.
- Fly at unsociable hours.
- Call the airline direct.
- Check multiple departure/ arrival airports.
- Use travel agents to your advantage.
1. Flexibility is key
One thing to note about airline ticket prices is this – they are forever changing. They can change for a variety of reasons, be it the time of the year, date of the week, or even season.
Prices will usually go up when there is more rush, so the trick here is to be flexible. If you can be flexible, we would suggest flying off-season and in the middle of the week instead of weekends. You will find that the ticket prices are always more economical.
If you cannot be flexible with time because, for example, you have children and they have set holidays, we would suggest being flexible with your destination. If you have not decided on a set location, search the various Airline websites to find the cheapest place to travel.
2. Book your flights early
If you know where your next holiday destination will be and have already booked those days off work, you should book your flights as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher those ticket prices can become. So, always book your tickets in advance to make significant savings.
3. Book connecting flights on your own
If you have connecting flights (i.e., two or more flights to reach your destination), you should research the price difference between the connecting flight cost as a whole and the cost of making separate bookings by yourself. You can use a flight comparison website, such as Skyscanner, to find the different routes available.
4. Check payment option in different currencies
If you are traveling abroad, then do not forget to check if payment can be made in other currencies. Even with the exchange rate costs, you may still find that it is cheaper to make payments in the destination’s local currency.
5. Search multiple websites
I am sure you would have all thought of this, but just to be safe – If you want to find the best deal, you should always search different websites. Not all websites are equal, even if you have a favourite, therefore it is always a good idea to search a few to compare.
6. Use Incognito/ InPrivate Browsers
It has long been suspected that airlines will probably show you higher prices for the routes already searched before. Whether this is true or not is for someone else to answer!
One way to avoid this, however, is to use anonymous browsing with Google Incognito or Edge InPrivate browsers. Failing that, you can also delete your search history and flushing your cache before and after each search for tickets.
7. Be flexible with flying time
If you are booking a flight last minute and want the ticket at a low price, you may need to explore different times of the day to fly. You should select undesirable hours for travel, which are either early morning or late at night.
As you might imagine, many do not like traveling during these times. Consequently, there is a higher possibility that these flights will have unfilled seats, each cheaper compared to the flights during peak hours.
8. Call the airline
Once you have narrowed your search to a select handful of airlines, it is a good idea to call them directly and check what cheap last-minute flights they have available. This is a great tip if you are planning an impromptu holiday!
9. Check departure/arrival from different airports
If you are visiting or flying from a city with multiple airports, compare the prices of all the nearby airports. You will find that there are price differences between them all. You will usually see that the further out from the city centre, the cheaper the price.
This may not work for all destinations, though, as some flights and airlines will only operate from specific airports.
10. Take help of travel agent
If you are worried about booking the flights yourself, or simply do not have the time, you should use a travel agent. They are, or should be, experts in finding and booking discounted flights, therefore can suggest the best options available. Even if you need to pay them some fees, you can still save money compared to booking on by yourself.
What To Avoid When Booking Flights
There are many factors that cause you to pay a lot for a flight, many of which can be avoided. Here are the most common mistakes and explanation on how you can avoid them:
1. Never make the booking in a hurry:
If you found the website offering a low-priced ticket, you should not spam that buy button. There is always the possibility that you can find a ticket at an even lower price on another website. You can still add the ticket to your cart, however, and try to find a cheaper ticket within the given timeframe to buy. If you cannot find one before the cart timer runs out, spam away!
2. Do not book on peak days:
The most expensive days of a week for flight prices are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This is due to all those “weekend get-away’ers”.
According to a 2020 study carried out by Skyscanner, Wednesdays are the cheapest days of the week to travel. The next cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesday and Thursday.
3. Always check the miscellaneous costs:
Most flights and websites will have miscellaneous costs or add ons, ranging from baggage fees, meals, to service charges. Make sure you check them before confirming your booking.
4. Do not keep connecting flights too close in time:
If you are booking connecting flights, ensure that there is enough time difference in each of them – Especially if you booked them separately yourself. If the timing is too close and your first flight is delayed, you might miss your second flight.
Once you have found and booked your flights, your next thoughts may turn to your commute to the airport. If so, check out our article on finding cheap train tickets so you can save more money!
James Banerjee is an Account Director who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. He works in SEO on clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle and he has a keen interest in personal finances and money-saving advice.