The best tips to find cheap airline tickets!
Looking for some tips on how to find cheap airline tickets? This is surely something that will interest most people when they plan a trip. As soon as you choose your destination, it’s time to look for your plane tickets. Many people decide to leave without going with a travel agency, but don’t know all the tips to find cheap airline tickets!
How many times have I heard people telling me “going there? It’s too expensive!”, “No, but it costs me too much to go there by plane”, etc.? Often, the person has only checked with the travel agency where he/she lives, and has never even done a search on an online flight comparator…
We are often dealing with people here who do not necessarily have a lot of travel experience, or who are just starting out on their first trips. In any case, there are a lot of tips to find cheaper airline tickets, for any destination. You just have to know them!
I’m not saying that you can find cheap tickets to go anywhere, but with a little research, time, and patience, it is possible to save a lot of money in the end!
So, how do you find cheap airline tickets?
1 - Be flexible with your destinations
This is the first piece of advice I would actually give. If you have the soul of a traveler, you certainly have particular travel desires, corners of the world and names that make you dream, but you should also be happy to discover a region of the world that you do not know! No matter which one it is. So, finally, the advice is the following: travel wherever the airfare is cheap!
To make it simple, you can use the online flight comparators which allow, for some, not to fix the destination. I quickly present you my 3 favorites!
Indeed, Skyscanner is one of the flight comparators that I use and appreciate the most. It has the big advantage (among others) of being able to leave the destination box blank (“everywhere”). In this way, you set your departure airport and you can then see prices of all destinations!
- Kayak and its “worldwide” function: It goes the same way as with Skyscanner. You enter your departure location and choose “worldwide” as your destination. Kayak’s “explore” function is also very interesting. Indeed, it allows you to see on a map, from a chosen city, the possible destinations and their prices!
- Momondo and its “take me anywhere” function: Again, it’s the same system as Kayak or Skyscanner. Very interesting too.
In short, as you’ll have understood, you should use flight comparators to find the cheapest destinations and adapt your trip accordingly!
2 - Be flexible on your travel dates and times
It seems obvious, but the fact of not having a fixed date of travel or vacation can make you save a lot of money on a plane ticket. For those leaving for several months, it’s pretty easy to manage. For those on vacation, it might be ideal to find the cheapest vacation dates for your destination first, and then request your time off.
Here again, flight comparators are very interesting:
- Skyscanner (yes, again!) offers you a very useful “all month” option for that. For example, let’s say you have to leave in February 2022 for London, and you are looking for the cheapest flight. You enter your departure/arrival cities, and select the “all month” function, then “February 2022” and you do “search”.
The result is as follows (see below). All you have to do is choose the cheapest days on the graph (or calendar).
- The same is also possible with Kayak and its “any time” function. Here, you can also set a month, Christmas or summer vacation for example, or how long you want to go.
- Momondo also offers this possibility in its “Tripfinder” function, which is very interesting too. You just have to click on “any time” and then choose your month and city of departure, and the comparator will give you all the possibilities.
Once again, you will have understood that, depending on the dates of your trip or vacation, prices can greatly vary! So, do not have a fixed date in mind.
3 - Buy your plane ticket in advance
This is often a big debate. To buy in advance or not his ticket? In 2017, a study was conducted by the website CheapAir.com on more than 2 million completed flights. The evolution of ticket prices was followed over a period of one year before departure. The findings are as follows:
- From 1 year before departure to about 6 months: prices are mostly higher and do not necessarily change;
- From 6 months to 4 months before departure: prices start to drop slightly. This is a waiting period, so to speak. On average, prices tend to drop again after…
- From 4 months to 3 weeks before departure: this is, according to the study, the best time to buy airline tickets. It is therefore this period that should be targeted;
- Less than 3 weeks before departure: prices increase again, slowly at the beginning, to explode in the last 2 weeks. To be avoided!
The figure below explains it very well!
4 - Use flights comparators!
As seen together above, flight comparison websites are one of the essential elements to help you find cheap airline tickets for your trips or vacations.
Be careful though, many people make the mistake of confusing flight comparators with online travel agencies. To put it simply, a flight comparison website will not sell you anything and will always redirect you to online agencies where you can then buy your ticket!
In my opinion, it is better to avoid online agencies like Opodo, Bravofly, E-dreams, Go voyage etc. Moreover, if you do the test on your side and you search on flight comparators, you will always be redirected to these online agencies!
I mainly recommend:
5 - Leave from secondary airports
All major cities have a secondary airport, often located outside the city. The majority of low-cost airlines depart from these airports. Taxes are much cheaper and ticket prices are therefore generally lower.
From Paris, for example, you can fly to Sweden (Stockholm) for about 80€ with low-cost airlines, depending on the period. However, you will have to go to Beauvais airport, north of Paris. When you arrive, you will also have to take the bus to get to the city center of Stockholm.
In Asia, Air Asia, a low-cost airline par excellence, often lands in secondary airports (eg: Bangkok, Kuala Lampur, etc.).
It is a very good option to reduce costs. Do not hesitate to search from where the low-cost companies leave around your home. You might be surprised!
6 - Make stopovers, choose long flight times (and sometimes change airlines)!
This can be sometimes a good solution. Don’t hesitate to look at the price differences with the online flight comparators (Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo, etc.) if you have a longer stopover to get to the desired destination.
Also, if you have time, you should not mind flying a few hours more.
One of the possible solutions is to change airlines on long flights. It is sometimes possible to do a part of the trip with one airline, collect your luggage, and then do the rest of the trip with another airline.
A concrete example is a flight to go to Polynesia. You can make a first flight from Paris to LAX with a low-cost airline (XL Air or Norwegian) and finish the trip with a “big” airline, like AirFrance or Air Tahiti Nui. It’s not the fastest solution, but if you have time, it’s cheaper!
In short, you will have understood, check the secondary airports around your home.
7 - Book your ticket at night
It may sound like a strange advice, but plane tickets and file fees are often less expensive at night. You’ll just have to set your alarm clock to get up at 4am to buy your tickets (
and don’t get the dates wrong, right?).
If you buy 2/3 tickets at the same time, you can save some money this way…
8 - Avoid rush periods - Travel out of season
Again, by rush periods, I am thinking of:
- All school periods. It seems obvious, but not everyone has the choice either. If you have it anyway, avoid going during these times,
- All major holidays, Christmas / New Year’s Day and co!
Ideally, try to travel out of season because:
- Tickets will be cheaper!
- Accommodation will also be cheaper (you can save up to 50% or more on off-season accommodation depending on the site, since there are no tourists: the law of supply and demand!)
- There will obviously be less tourists (and trust me, that’s good, you will be quiet)
Well, out of season, you will have to pay attention to the weather so that you don’t find yourself in difficult conditions once there. If you prepare your trip, you will be informed anyway.
The trick is to find a balance that will allow you to find cheap plane tickets but still be able to enjoy your trip!
9 - Leave during the week instead of the weekend
Yes, it’s silly, but going on a weekday is always cheaper too!
10 - Use overbooking
This is a technique that many airlines use, especially on long flights. The idea is to sell more seats than the plane will accept on a particular flight. They usually rely on a percentage of cancellations.
The technique on your side is to book a “regular” flight (Paris -> London or Paris -> LAX etc.) in the middle of the season for example and try to check in at the last minute. If you are lucky, and there are not many cancellations, the airline may deny you boarding, and compensate you (sometimes large sums). Usually, you’ll be put on the next flight!
Well, this technique obviously works under several conditions: 1- you are not in a hurry 2- you are not afraid to spend the night in an airport (or in a hotel) 3- you do not have a connection
11 - Set up alerts for flight price changes
This is also a technique that works particularly well when you are looking for flights on price comparison sites. These allow you to subscribe to email alerts to follow the evolution of the desired ticket prices (Skyscanner and others do it very well). This way, you are informed of the current price and any changes!
12 - Empty your cache and work in private browsing
Few people know about this possibility, but in fact, if you search several times in a row at intervals of a few hours, days or even weeks, the site remembers your visit (cookie system) and the ticket prices will increase. It is therefore very important to empty your browser’s cache.
It is also interesting to put yourself in “private browsing” mode when looking for airline tickets.
That’s it, I’ve covered all the techniques I know to find cheap airline tickets or save money on airline tickets. Do you maybe have any other techniques on your side?