Just when it seemed safe to once again take to the skies with bargains galore and low-fare airlines a plenty, massive hikes in taxes, fuel duty and a world of other hidden nasties have seen prices once again soar clean out of the stratosphere. As a result, cheap flights have become something of an all too elusive commodity to say the very least, but this doesn’t mean that rare exceptions cannot be found in the form of the odd bargain here and there.
At least for those willing to follow the top 10 rules for snagging cheap flights:
10 Last Minute No-No
There once was a time not so long ago when waiting until the very last minute to book pretty much anything would bring about some staggering reductions and offers. Sadly, flights appear to have been once and for all counted out of the rule, thanks in no small part to certain travelers being willing to pay mammoth amounts to book and fly at the very last minute. Instead of reductions, flight prices in 99% of instances will now increase as time moves forward, therefore booking early has now shifted entirely to become probably the cheapest approach of all.
9 Check out Other Airports
Nobody really wants to spend the beginning of their holiday traveling half way across the country to fly from an airport with a name you can’t even pronounce, but assuming said airport could offer your flights for 40% or 50% less than you’d normally pay, would you rethink? A recent study concluded that for the overwhelming majority of the world’s population, the nearest airport to home is also one of the most expensive to fly from. As such, consider areas of lesser population and industry and the chances for savings are huge – plus you might get to see a bit of your country you never knew existed!
8 Off peak
Perhaps the biggest no-brainer of the list if ever there was one, we all know at this stage that flying at ungodly hours and avoiding weekends is a great way of making massive savings. Still, most remain reluctant to consider these options and avoid paying over the odds, which is surprising when considering the money saved could be used to add further luxuries onto the trip to hugely augment the compromise made.
7 Indirect Flights
Indirect flights to any given destination can often be found for far cheaper than those of a non-stop nature for no other reason that the latter of the two is in much higher demand from travelers across the board. True, sitting on a plane for an extra few hours and going through the transfer rigmarole is less than fun, but could easily see you sitting on a tidy sum of extra cash to spend when you finally get there.
6 Shop Midweek
A lesser known fact now – most airlines make the vast majority of their price alterations with regard to the previous weekend and the one still to come on Tuesday or Wednesday. As such, this means that any reduction to be applied to last weekend’s prices or special offers to be launched for the current weekend may go live midweek, making this the perfect time to jump the queues.
5 Sign up to Mailing lists
Yes, we all hate masses of spam coming into our mailboxes and yes, the vast majority of mailing lists offer nothing but spam for those who sign up, but when it comes to snagging bargain flights it may just be worth putting up with the rather infuriating bombardment. Those on airlines’ mailing lists are always the very first to find out in advance about upcoming promotions and are sometimes the only ones invited to make use of last-second temporary clearances and the like, so can in fact prove to be worth their weight in gold from time to time.
4 Ditch the Travel Agent
Another no-brainer now as it really takes little explanation to understand how the fees and charges of the travel agent do very little to make any flights cheaper to say the very least. Besides, these day it is so much easier and faster to book directly with any and every airline the world over online that there really is no realistic reason why the conventional travel agent need come into play when looking to book cheap flights.
3 Check for Extras
Shifty airlines and rather questionable online booking services today are refusing to respond to consumer cries by still insisting on including optional extras in all bookings, which have to be manually removed by the buyer should they wish not to pay for them. From additional baggage to priority boarding to extra legroom to travel insurance and even as far as things as car hire – the bottom line being that if you don’t check exactly what they are throwing at you, you may end up with far more than you bargained for.
2 Manipulate Credit Cards offers
A questionable practice in the eyes of come but proving to be more and more popular all over the world, there are so many credit card companies these days offering free flights and travel vouchers simply for signing up that resisting their lure is for some impossible. Of course, there’s nothing to stop anybody taking full advantage of these generous offers only never to use the credit card again once the freebie has been awarded, therefore if your willpower and credit rating both measure up to the job, why on Earth not reward yourself?
1 Seek a Refund if Prices go Down
Last but not least, almost never practices though perhaps the most easy and obvious tip of all, look into a refund and re-booking if the price paid goes down. Now, this of course only applies to those who actually have the option to obtain a full refund without paying a world of admin fees and the like, but assuming the tickets purchase have no limits at all, why should you not benefit from the same reduction afforded to all new passengers? And no, this is in no way underhanded… just hugely proactive and quite admirably cunning.