The way we buy our flights these days has change beyond all recognition from barely a decade ago. The days of popping into your high street or mall travel agency are long gone, although they still exist, somehow!
Online and apps is where it’s at these days for finding cheaper flights. Most people will use an app or online tool lick Skyscanner and then pretty much book from there. This is fine of course but it really is doing just the bare minimum. There are many other things you can do in order to save big on flights.
So here is a list of things we suggest you do in order to find bargain flights.
1. Keep your searches ‘cookie free’ to ensure the price doesn’t increase
This idea was first suggested a few years ago that the more you search for a particular flight, the more expensive it will become. This has neither been fully proved or disproved. In order to be safe you should always try and search for flights using an incognito browser session.
Either that or always ensure you clear your cookies before starting a new search.
2. Always, always book your ticket as soon as possible
If you are booking many months in advance then you can probably relax a little but if you are only one month away or less then you book that ticket as soon as you can!
The reason is that flights almost always go up in price the nearer to the date of take off. If you turn up at the airport on the day of the flight and try and book then be prepared to part with a lot of money.
This is one thing that can hit those travellers who may have missed their flight and need to travel on that same day. You can guarantee that your rebooked flight is going to be many more times expensive than the one you missed.
If you looking a flights over 6 months away then there is always a chance the price might come down. Airlines have sales and you might get a cheaper flight during the sale period compared to booking before.
3. Hidden city tickets
This is slightly controversial and you do this at your own risk because many airlines are angry about this.
We recently looked for a flight from Frankfurt to Lisbon. The cheapest flight was a direct flight with TAP and cam in around EUR 180.
We noticed that flights to Porto were considerably less, at around EUR 70. So where are we going with this?
The fare from Frankfurt to Porto was not direct flight. You had to fly to Lisbon and connect onto another carrier. The flight to Lisbon was the same one that cost EUR 180! This is of course makes no sense.
Now if you were travelling with only hand luggage you could simply miss your connecting flight at Lisbon and exit the airport. There is little the airline can do about this. Of course if you have checked baggage then this won’t work.
But sometimes it will work with checked luggage.
We looked at flights from Bangkok to London with BA. Flights were around £500 but a flight to Barcelona from Bangkok (via London) was only £350.
The Bangkok to London sector flew into Heathrow and the connecting flight was from Gatwick, which is a long way from Heathrow! This distance means that travellers are forced to ‘self-transfer’ and take their own luggage across London.
There would be nothing stopping you missing the onward fight to Barcelona. You could even complain to the airline that you missed your onward flight due to the self transfer being unreasonable!
Having said all that be careful. If the airlines get’s a whiff of you planning this they may kick you off the flight!
4. Booking your own connecting flights
If you are flying long haul, let’s say from the USA to Thailand then it might be better to book your own connecting flights. There are a couple of reasons why this could be a better option.
Firstly, instead of putting yourself through two back to back long flights then why not have a day or longer at your connecting city. You could fly from Los Angeles and have a stopover in Europe before flying on to Asia. This seems a much more enticing option rather than flying into London and having barely enough time to stretch your legs before having to board another flight.
The second reason why we are suggesting this is that is could well be cheaper. Booking your own connecting flight might enable you to have a broader range of airlines to choose from, some of which might be budget carriers.
Just remember that to give yourself plenty of time for your connecting flight. If you miss your onward flight then you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket. If you miss a connecting flight when you have one whole booking then usually the airline will sort out another flight for you, assuming it was their fault of course!
5. Paying in different currencies
This is worth looking at. Some airlines will allow you to pay in other currencies and it’s always worth doing a quick comparison. Of course this can work really well if you have access to other currencies otherwise make sure your card won’t charge you if you pay in another currency.
Start your cheap flight searches here…