Looking to find the best deals on airline tickets? The complicated web that is used to set prices can sometimes seem overwhelming. The best tool is to be informed. Airlines are constantly updating not only fares, but also the methods by which they determine them. With that in mind, here are a few great tips for getting the best deals.
Book in advance, or at the last minute
Most of us know that when it comes to buying tickets, sooner is better. The airlines offer their best discounts well in advance, but the seats come with restrictions. Saturday night stays and change fees are usually part of the picture. If you didn’t book early, there are sometimes last-minute deals. Airlines don’t want empty seats, so they will cut fares, usually a week to 10 days in advance, if the flights aren’t as full as they would like.
Book in pairs or singles
If you have a group of more than two, you can actually save money by breaking up the reservations. Fare formulas actually can penalize larger groups of people. When you select seats, there’s a decent chance you can still find seats together, even if booked separately.
Check various sites, but don’t forget about airline sites
You can frequently find better deals by shopping around, especially when looking very early or at the last minute. Fares are adjusted constantly, but the biggest day of the week for new fare adjustments is Tuesday, when new discounts are released. Websites like Orbitz and Priceline search across multiple platforms. Remember, however, that sometimes the lowest fares are direct from the website of your airline. Another tip: Erase the cache from your browser before going back to a site to buy. There are rumors of airlines raising fares to people who have been searching to drive a sense of urgency.
Book a Package
Online booking sites will often offer deals if you are booking your hotel and airfare together, or even more if you add on things like rental cars or excursions. If you are planning on booking a hotel, car or an excursion anyway, this is a good way to save on airfare. Check out some package deals here.
The more flexible, the better
Consider everything from changing your travel days to flying into different airports. A big metro area like Los Angeles, for example, can see big fare differences from airports that are still fairly close. When flying overseas, think about rerouting your itinerary to another airport and taking the train, or buying connecting tickets from one of the low cost carriers that might operate there.
Sign up for alerts and tweets
Most online airline sites have tools so you can monitor fares along routes you choose. They will send you a message when fares change. Sign up for the Twitter and Facebook feeds of airlines as well; they will frequently post online coupons. By taking a proactive approach, you can beat the airlines at the fare guessing game!