With airlines prices always on the rise most people are looking at ways to save money on flights. With fewer airlines and fewer choices it becoming harder to get deals when you want to fly. But there are a few things you can do in your favor.
If you are looking for the best deal make sure you shop around. You should look at both airlines and alternative airports when possible. For instance if you flying into LAX you will want to look at fares at Long Beach, Burbank, Orange County and Ontario. All those airports are within the LA Area and have different prices. You never know if an airline is looking to increase market share in a particular airport and offering a sale.
All you have to do is look at airline customer service to understand that pricing seats is probably a mess as well. Prices actually fluctuate real-time and this why it so hard to pin down the best price. Airlines will even base their pricing on shopping interest. Generally speaking midweek flights are the cheapest. If you fly on Wednesday you get the cheapest flights. Also most people shop for flights near the weekend. The airlines know this and will raise the price as more people shop fares. Most airlines also release discount fares on Tuesday.
You also shouldn’t fly during busy times if you can help it. If you going to fly for a holiday like thanksgiving book early for the best deals. Not all airlines though are created equal so you need to be aware of who charges for bags and who doesn’t.
Hopefully you’re not going crazy yet. You have to remember airlines like to overcomplicate things.
Are you flying a legacy, Ultra Discount or Discount airlines? You need to know the difference between them.
Ultra Discount airlines- An Example of these are Spirit Airlines, Alegis, Ryan Air and Frontier.
These airlines offer the absolute lowest fares you will see anywhere. Many times they are hundreds of dollars less than the average carrier. When you fly them they truly are not much different than any other airline. I would say customer service is better because they promise you none at all. The problem with them is if you are not careful they will fee you to death.
All airlines have fees but these guys go the extra mile. For instance spirit air will charge you $100 for carryon luggage and $10 to guarantee a seat to next your young child. But if you add up the fees and check your luggage in for $20 the price is still pretty good. Usually can still end up a lot cheaper with these guys if you’re flying a family. You can also save on most fees if you know what you’re getting yourself into. Many Families end up flying on these airlines because it saves them a lot of money. To get the best deal you will need to get their email list. Remember you need to read the fine print with these guys. If in doubt call them.
Discount Airlines – An Example is Southwest, Jet Blue, and Virgin
At one time these were the no frills airlines. Sometime in the last 10 years they became the airlines with the most service. If you’re going to fly an airline these are the types of airlines you want to fly. Customer Service is much better than others and the flights are cheaper. They also have less fees than other carriers.
If the price is reasonable I will always end up flying on of these airlines. These airlines also have much better and easier to understand pricing. Sometime though you will need to check the website for the updated fares.
Legacy Carriers an Example is United, Delta, American
These all old Airlines that offered great service at one time but all have gone bankrupt in the last few years. Unless you fly with them all the time you will be treated like cattle. They also tend to have fares higher than everyone. You used to be able to get a good deal if there was competition but that is less likely. All of them are going off their old name and really only offer slightly more service than the ultra discount airlines.
So back to how to get good deal. Look at the ultra discount airlines and see if there is any deal for you. Add up all the fees you are going to need to pay including luggage you think you are going to bring and do a price comparison. If you see a good price is prepared to buy it.
If for some reason you’re not finding a good deal there is an alternative place to find a last-minute price. Priceline or Hotwire can be a good place to buy tickets last-minute. You do not always get the lowest price but you can sometimes get the average price of an airfare ticket within the 2 week window. This can save hundreds of dollars off a flight each way. I always use Priceline and Hotwire as a last resort. You also will need to give yourself plenty of time so if you have an event plan on flying a day early since you may be there late.
Post by Sarah, I am a freelance travel writer and photographer who specialises in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and Italy. I contribute and help on several guidebooks to the region and also contribute to newspapers, magazines, travel reference books, and online media.
I independently travelled in over 60 countries covering much of Latin America, Southeast Asia, India, Africa, Europe and Australasia in the last 17 years. As a travel writer I love searching out the quirky and odd little details that lie under the surface of a place. I aim to help inspire travellers to go beyond the highlights and venture out.
With several years of experience as a tour guide in North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey, and a keen interest in history and politics which shaped this part of the world.