Have you ever wondered how some people always manage to get the cheapest flight deals possible? Isn’t it frustrating when you spend days searching for cheap flights only to find that the prices just keep going up? Don’t you just hate it when you see a cheap flight advertised, but when you click “buy” there are all sorts of expensive added extras included that you don’t want?
Well, we feel you and we’ve got your back!
Being budget travellers, booking flights tends to be one of our biggest costs. So it’s important to us to make sure we’re always getting a great deal. When we first started travelling we had no idea how airlines worked, no clue how to book the cheapest flights and in fact ended up paying a significant amount more than necessary for many of the flights that we took.
Since then we’ve spent hours researching the subject and we’ve put everything we’ve learned into this easy to follow guide on how to book the cheapest flights possible.
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Use a Flight Search Engine
The single biggest tip we have for booking the cheapest flights possible is to use a flight search engine. There are tonnes of flight search engines out there that are all a slight variation on the same theme such as Momondo, Skyscanner, Kayak etc. But we’ve discovered a relatively young one which has introduced a brand new concept that they call Virtual Interlining.
The flight search engine is called Kiwi.com and the innovative part of what they do is to connect flights that aren’t intended to be connecting – Virtual Interlining.
For example, if you want to fly from London, England to Cancun, Mexico, it may be cheaper to fly to New York on one airline then from New York to Cancun on another.
But if you book the two flights separately, you’ll be up the creek without a paddle if there’s an unexpected delay (let’s be honest, it happens all the time) and you miss the second flight. So what people tend to do is book a high cost direct flight or go for a more expensive connection with the same airline.
Kiwi.com allows for virtually limitless combinations of cheap flights – and it does all of the hard work to find the most suitable ones to combine.
What Kiwi.com also does is guarantee the connection. This means that even if you do miss your second flight, they will take responsibility for getting you on the next possible convenient flight.
When we first discovered the Kiwi.com website, the prices for the flights we wanted were so cheap we actually thought it was a scam! But we’ve now flown all over the world with them and they generally always offer the cheapest flights possible (yes, I still check multiple other search engines and even direct with the airlines).
We also had an issue with a delayed flight so have experience of their customer services and they were absolutely fantastic. It’s easy to get through on the phone and speak to someone, there’s no waiting in long call queues, and they sorted out our problem extremely quickly.
Kiwi.com works best when you’re travelling long haul but you can also make savings when travelling shorter distances so it’s always the first place we go to when looking for cheap flights. Try it out below for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
Be Flexible On When You Fly & Who You Fly With
Now we know that this isn’t always possible, but flexibility really is key when it comes to getting the cheapest flights possible. We’re lucky because we’re not normally restricted to travelling on certain dates or at specific times, so if it’s cheaper to fly at midnight or at 4am then we suffer the inconvenience to make the saving.
Obviously time of year also make a massive difference to the price of flights. If you can visit a destination outside of its popular peak times then you’ll automatically start to see the price come down.
If you are restricted by dates, it may still save you a significant amount of cash to book an extra day’s holiday at work and fly on a Friday rather than going on a Saturday. The variation in price can really be vast.
It’s also important to be flexible in the type of airline that you fly with. If you’re not into flying on budget airlines then you really are ruling yourself out of accessing the cheapest airfares, period.
Kiwi.com also has a few extra handy features on the website which, if you’re able to be flexible, allow you to make things even cheaper. You can search from a distance surrounding your location meaning it will show you flights from an airport that’s not necessarily your local one.
The beauty of this is that it may be cheaper to buy a train or coach ticket to get you to that airport, reducing the overall cost. You can also search to “anywhere”, so if you don’t have a set preference on where you go it will bring up the very cheapest destinations. Also, when you click on “Departure” or “Return” it opens up a calendar that displays the daily price for that flight and you can scroll through month by month to see the lowest available.
Start Looking for Flights as Early as Possible
One of the most frequently asked question about booking airfares is “What’s the cheapest time to book flights?” Well actually there isn’t one.
Many people are obsessed with the idea of last minute deals and a whole industry has grown up around them. But in many instances it’s actually cheaper to book as early as possible, before other people begin to show interest in the flights and drive the price up.
There are loads of so called studies out there that claim Tuesdays or Thursdays are the cheapest days to book flights. Though this may be true as an average, it doesn’t guarantee that the flight that you want to book will magically be the cheapest if you look on a Tuesday or Thursday!
Most airlines sell their flights using a system called “dynamic pricing”. Easyjet have a nice explanation of dynamic pricing on their website, and sum it up as “the higher the demand for seats, the more expensive they are likely to be”. So the key is to be prepared.
Always have in mind what would be a good price for you – we get an idea by researching flights across a 6 month period and seeing what the average is then watch out for anything below that. It’s impossible to always guarantee the very lowest price, but if you know what would feel like a good deal to you then you won’t be disappointed.
Go Undercover When Searching for Flights
We can’t actually verify whether this tip does in fact work because there are so many other factors at play that it’s almost impossible to isolate this one. But many people believe that airlines and flight search engines track the cookies they place on your web browser. By doing this they know how many times you have looked at a particular flight and put the prices up when you return to look at it again.
This could be a part of the dynamic pricing strategy if airlines and search engines count what could just be casual browsing as an intent to buy. Just to be on the safe side, it’s probably best to use the private browser mode when looking at flights and always close all tabs down and reopen a fresh one before performing another flight search. We know people who swear they’ve experienced it happen so there’s no harm in taking the precaution.
We’re pretty confident that if you follow these tips you will be securing yourself the cheapest flights possible. But we’re also aware that we don’t have all the answers and so we’d love to hear what strategies you use to find cheap flights? Are there any of these that you hadn’t thought of? And is there anything really, really important that we’ve missed?
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Travel lover, professional writer and football (soccer) obsessive, James loves nothing more than getting outside and exploring little known corners of the globe. He’s also very partial to a drop of Guinness.