Travel plans can become expensive before you even know it, in which case, having a budget vacation seems like a great idea. But creating a budget for a vacation is pointless if you end up paying too much for airfare. Finding cheap plane tickets can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. According to JoeSentMe publisher Joe Brancatelli, any airline aims to get you to pay as much as you have. This is the complete opposite of what any traveler wants. He also adds that there can be multiple pricing categories for a single flight. For example, travelers could be paying 50 different prices on a single 150-seater plane. This difference is a result of various specifications opted by passengers, including baggage fees or priority boarding. Thus, the first thing to do when planning to travel is to find cheap airfare. Herein, we provide some unusual tips that can help you book the cheapest flight tickets possible.
Book seven weeks in advance
According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), passengers are likely to find the cheapest flight tickets around 50 days before their flight. Fares are approximately 10% lower than the average airfare. This statement is supported by data compiled through an examination of ticket sales through corporate and online travel agencies. But this phenomenon is more of a trend than a measured strategy. Nowadays, airlines offer various deals for cheap airfare from time to time. Hence, using the right deal can drop your traveling costs. However, the 50-day approach is majorly found to be successful.
Pick the right time of the day
Most travelers aim to get any discount available to source the cheapest flight tickets possible. A common belief is that tickets are cheaper when booking online early in the morning. But according to a study conducted by FareCompare, 3 PM (EST) on a Tuesday is the best time to book tickets. Much like the 50-day approach, this factor depends on varying availability of deals.
Book on the cheapest days of the week
The cheapest days of the week to travel depend on where you wish to travel. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are good for domestic travel. If traveling to international destinations, you might get cheap plane tickets on any of the weekdays as compared to weekends.
Fly out early
Apart from the days of the week, the price of flights also depends on what the departure time of the flight is. The earlier your flight, the cheaper your flight ticket will be. However, there are multiple time brackets during the day when you can find the cheapest flight tickets. Two such time brackets are during the average lunch or dinner hours.
Compare low-cost airline fares
Several sites offer comparisons between ticket prices and aim to provide convenience to the traveler while booking airline tickets; one such example is Kayak. But these comparison sites don’t provide every option as some low-cost airlines do not permit these comparison sites to quote their prices. Hence, it is important to check the ticket price of these airlines separately. Also, make sure that you’ve considered extra charges like checked baggage fees or carry-on baggage fees.
Sign up for free alerts
People who have ample experience with booking tickets online probably already follow this tip. Most major online booking websites send price alerts to frequent travelers. A major part of these alerts is to notify consumers of a drop in airfare. Some popular names that do so include Hitlist, The Flight Deal, and Secret Flying. You can also opt to receive alerts custom alerts from Kayak or Google Flights. This customization includes your desired flight routes or your desired date bracket. You should also not ignore online travel agencies like Priceline or Expedia. These agencies purchase seats from airlines in bulk quantity and sell them for a price depending on market conditions. You can save a lot of money in the case that these agencies have over-purchased seats on a particular route.
Build a relationship
In addition to the usual discounts and offers, airlines dive deep into customer service. Airlines are now focusing on travel experience for consumers on an individual level. Hence, being a frequent or a long-standing customer of a particular airline can be highly beneficial. One way to build a relationship is to have an airline’s credit card. Credit cards associated with airlines offer a wide range of perks. These perks include seat selection, free checked bags, and priority boarding among many others. Flying frequently on one airline can be fruitful to a big extent. You can also collect miles that can be redeemed for the cheapest flight tickets.