Secrets To Finding Really Cheap Flight Plane Tickets
Travel agencies are not the best place for really cheap plane tickets. Why not learn the best way to do your own search?
The best place to buy really cheap plane tickets is online. Travel agencies can't compete with discount ticket sites. Search Google ("cheap airfare south america", for example), or try the well-known sites, like Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, Hotwire or Priceline.
Just now I checked fares from Tucson, Arizona to Traverse City, Michigan on the five sites mentioned above. The cheapest quotes ranged from $704 to $432. Nevermind which was cheapest (oh, okay, it was Expedia), because you never know from day to day which sites will find the cheapest flights.
Check at least three places. In this case, it would mean a savings of $272. The flight durations are within minutes of each other, by the way, and the food is probably equally bad on all the flights.
Flexibility For Even Cheaper Airfare
The more flexible you are, the better your chance of getting a really cheap plane tickets. Try different departure and return dates if you can. Check the box "2 or more connecting flights". Mark the "anytime" departure, even if you don't want to leave at midnight - the savings might change your mind. Try all the options. If the savings aren't enough, you can always book first class, direct flights, or whatever you prefer.
Really Cheap Plane Tickets - More Ways
You can buy two tickets. The cheapest airfare from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Tucson, Arizona costs $451 roundtrip right now. Las Vegas to Tucson is only $161, however, and there are regular $199 specials to Vegas from Grand Rapids. It's up to you whether saving $91 is worth booking two flights. (It saved us over $1000 when we went to South America.) There is the problem of whether you'll get a refund if your timing is off on the connections (you probably won't).
Check for package deals, where you pay for plane tickets and your hotel room. I haven't had much luck with these deals, but it can't hurt to look at them.
Buying ahead of time gets you cheaper plane tickets. Any thing less than a week away tends to be expensive, although you never can tell in the mysterious realm of airfare pricing. Sometimes the "last minute specials" are the best thing going.
Priceline still has their "Name Your Own Price" feature. Make your bid, and the airlines say yes or no, depending on whether they have empty seats to fill. First search for the cheapest tickets you can find, then bid lower than that. If your bid is rejected, you can return to the website where you found the best deal and book it.
If You're Really Cheap
My wife and I once took a bus from Michigan to Miami, and flew from there to Ecuador. For us at that time, saving a couple hundred dollars was worth 38 hours on a bus. This won't save you much on domestic flights. Right now, for example, taking a bus from Traverse City to Detroit, then flying to Los Angeles, would only save about $70 (allowing for cab fare to the airport) over flying directly.
There are other options beyond the scope of this article. Courier flights, for example, can be a great deal if you don't mind letting a company use your baggage allowance (you get carry-on only). There are also stand-by deals and last minute deals and other ways to get really cheap plane tickets.
Are you planning to travel by air at some time in the near future? Great airline deals are out there waiting for you. But, there are also some things you can do to help bring the prices down. Here are some tips for finding cheap airfare.
We live in a wonderful age for budget-minded travelers. The internet has made finding airfare deals as easy as pointing and clicking. In the days before the information superhighway, you had to call up the airlines and ask about their prices. Now, there is an enormous variety of websites that allow you to shop around and compare prices for airfare deals
Before you lay down your cash, look at some of these sites and try to find a few that offer the best deals. If you can find one site that you like, you can get a membership and be eligible for more discounts and deals. One way to find a good site is to ask around. If you have a friend, relative or co-worker who flies a lot, see which websites they use to book their flights.
Once you have identified a web site you like, there are some things you can do to save money on airfare.
Certain days of the week are less expensive than others. Generally, the cheapest days to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. It is a basic case of supply and demand. These are the days when fewer people are traveling and the airlines want to sell those empty seats.
Certain times of the year are also cheaper. This depends on the destination, but usually August and December are the most expensive months for airline travel. Just remember that at times during which crowds of people are traveling, such as around major holidays, it will be more expensive.
Choose your trip around a Saturday night stay. This has always saved people money on plane tickets. If you need to, extend your trip by a day so you get this Saturday night stay.
Select a non-direct flight. This may be a pain in the neck, but if saving money is important, it will pay you to wait around in an airport for an extra hour or so.
Fly at night or early in the morning. These are often called "red-eye" flights. Most people choose to fly in the afternoons and evenings, so you can often find deals on red-eye flights. It helps if you are one of those people who do not have much trouble sleeping on board the airplane.
Make your reservation ahead of time. As a general rule, the earlier you book your ticket, the more you save. You also have more time to shop around for a good deal.
On the other hand, you can frequently save with last minute flights. When there are empty seats left on a particular flight, the airline will be desperate to fill them. Selling those seats cheaply is better than not selling them at all. The only problem is that it can be difficult to plan your vacation this way. What if you wait and there are no seats available? Take advantage of this option if your plans are flexible.
The most important bit of advice is this: Do not give up. Keep digging for those deals. Maintain the positive attitude that you can find the lowest airfare prices out there somewhere.
In this day and age there is little doubt that airfare ticket prices are more then most people wish to pay. No matter where you wish to go it will require a certain amount of money and if air travel is a part of your plans there is a good chance it will eat up the largest percentage of your travel budget. But if you know where to look you can find secret airfare deals that give you reduced prices on airline tickets.
It does take some work to find cheap airfare deals but it can be well worth the effort because it leaves you more money in your pocket for other travel needs. The problem most of us have is purchasing the first good deal we think we find. Chances are though if you would spend a little more time truly digging into all the potential money saving avenues you will find a truly great deal on your next airline ticket.
A good place to start looking for that airfare deal is with your local travel agent. Using a travel agent is particularly useful if you are traveling on business or with a larger group of people because they have the inside track on cheap last minute deals. Be sure to shop around when looking for a good travel agent because once you find one they are worth using every time you travel.
You can also find cheap airfare deals on your own through either the internet travel sites or by calling the airlines themselves. The beauty of the internet is the sheer amount of quotes you can get in a relatively short period of time. And while to more popular websites can save you a little cash try hunting down the more obscure travel websites which can offer up some great deals.
Calling the airlines directly can also score you big savings on your next airplane ticket because most airlines run internal specials that they don't actively advertise. And if you really want to save call the airlines after midnight when their reservation systems update with the new days ticketing prices.
Getting the best deal on air travel
Be flexible in your travel plans in order to get the lowest fare. The best deals may be limited to travel on certain days of the week (often Tuesday through Thursday, or Friday night through Sunday morning) or particular hours of the day (e.g., late-night departures). This applies to each of your flights, not just the first flight in your itinerary. After you get a fare quote, ask the reservations agent if you could save even more by flying a day earlier or later, or by taking a different flight on the same day. Or simply ask the agent what the lowest fare is, and what you need to do to qualify for it.
Discount seats are usually "blacked out" during holiday periods. However, you might be able to get a discount fare if you fly on the holiday itself (e.g., New Year's day).
Plan as far ahead as you can. Most airlines set aside only a few seats on many desirable flights at the lower rates. The real best bargains often sell out very quickly. On the other hand, if a particular flight is not selling as well as expected, air carriers sometimes make more discount seats available for a particular flight just before the advance-purchase deadline expires. For example, if the lowest fare has a 21-day advance-purchase requirement but is sold out for most dates, and you can go any time, ask about fare availability on flights 21 or 22 days from when you call.
While planning ahead is a good general rule, if you can bide your time you might encounter a "fare sale." Many airlines put seats on sale for brief periods several times a year (although you usually can purchase tickets for flights weeks or months after the end of the sale period). It is difficult to predict when these sales will occur, although they often fall during times when people are less likely to buy airline tickets (e.g. early autumn or right immediately after New Years).
In a large metropolitan area, the fare could depend on which airport you use. For example, if you are going to Southeast Florida and plan to rent a car, it might not make much difference if you fly to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, except for ticket price. Also, a connection (change of planes) or a one-stop flight is sometimes cheaper than a nonstop. Always check on alternate airports and routings when pricing a ticket.
Look into all airlines that serve the market you are interested in, including low-cost carriers that offer low fares. Many times the major carriers will match the fares of a low-cost airline between the same cities; but often this will only be for a certain limited number of seats on each flight. On a low-cost carrier, find out what you get for your money: baggage transfers from one carrier to another, meals, advance seat assignments, etc. Note that small airlines sometimes have only one flight per day in many markets, and they frequently will not reroute you on another airline if your flight is canceled or delayed. In such cases you may have to wait until the next day to fly.
Ask about all restrictions on your fare. Typical requirements for discount fares include purchasing a round-trip ticket, buying the ticket a certain number of days before departure (e.g., for many fares, at least 14 or 21 days before you leave), purchasing the ticket within 24 hours of making a reservation, staying over a Saturday night, traveling during a certain time of the year, staying no more than 30 days, and, as discussed below, refund/change restrictions.
Ask about your ability to change or cancel your flight if you need to. Even if you get sick, you cannot assume you will get a refund. In fact, most discount tickets now are non-refundable, but can be applied toward the purchase of other tickets on the same carrier. You must usually pay an administrative charge and any difference between the fares for the old and new flights when you do this.
Consider using a travel agent. Agents usually do not charge a fee (they get a commission from the airline), and they can tell you about "consolidators" and other sources of discounted seats that are not available directly from the airline. However, consolidator seats can have even more severe restrictions than the airlines' own deep-discount fares, particularly if the flight is delayed or canceled. A few travel agents sometimes have access to special deals with a particular airline (either discounts or extra services). If you are flying to a popular foreign destination, or to Las Vegas or Hawaii, ask the travel agent about Public Charters. These charters sometimes offer lower fares, but again with significant restrictions that are spelled out in an operator/participant contract that you should review carefully.
Ask the travel agent if the city where you live or the city where you are going is an airline "hub." If it is, fares may be higher than for flights to other nearby cities because of reduced competition. Someone who lives at a hub might save money by leaving from another nearby city, even if they end up connecting through the hub to get to their destination.