If you’ve ever searched for flights online, you may have been surprised at the significant difference in prices charged by different carriers, even when providing the same level of service and comfort.
Travelling the same distance with different companies can often mean a difference of hundreds of pounds, or even thousands over long distances. Learning how to identify and track down these low-cost flights is therefore a worthwhile skill to possess as it will help your travel money to stretch further, especially if you’re a frequent flyer.
The internet is usually the best place to find cheap flight deals, but timing is an important factor. If you’re willing to take chances and flexible in your schedule, waiting for last minute fare reductions can be an effective way to snag bargain flights as airlines sell off their remaining seats. You could also save by searching well in advance of the flight date and snapping up cheap seats as soon as these become available.
Many people have differing opinions on the best times to find bargain flights, with some suggesting searching for flights at least 21 days prior to departure while others favouring a longer eight weeks. The day of the week you book your flight on can also play a part, with bookings made in the middle of the week (such as Wednesday and Thursday) often being cheaper than those made for weekends.
However, there are other ways to find cheap seats than carefully timing your flight search, such as checking the different airlines respective websites for details on their latest promotions. You may find that your chosen destination is currently being offered at a lower price by one airline, even though these lower fares do not show up in flight comparison searches. You should also note that some flight comparison websites only include a limited number of companies, which could mean your airline is not listed at all, and will need to be looked at manually.
Contrary to some opinions, you may also be able to receive discounts when booking your flights through a travel agent, especially if they have deals with airlines to offer a certain number of seats at lower prices. You can also receive discounts when making multiple bookings with a company that provides flights, accommodation and other services, such as car rental or tours once you reach your destination. This can also be a more convenient alternative to booking each part of your trip separately.