By Cynthia Nkala
1. Book Early
Regularly check and compare prices, and book ahead because fares always increase closer to the departure dates. Avoid just turning at the airport expecting to get cheaper tickets because because airlines are desperate to fill their seats. Although there is a last minute discount, its not always that you get a cheaper fare. Book about seven weeks in advance for short haul flights and approximately 18 weeks for long haul flights. Airline tickets usually go up two weeks before departure date.
2. Be Flexible
If possible, try and fly outside peak times as flights would be cheaper. Be flexible with your dates, plus or minus 3 days as a minimum. Its usually cheaper to travel midweek like Tuesday and Wednesday. Also be flexible with flying times, its always cheaper to fly early mornings or late at night. Be flexible with the airport for departure and arrival, for example in London, you can use Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports, and chances you might get a cheaper fare on any of these. Avoid flying on Fridays and Sundays as fares are usually up on those days. It is always cheaper to fly on a major holiday for example , Christmas day, New Years Eve, and New Year’s Day, you will save money by flying when no one else is flying. Be flexible with your route too, for example if you are flying from New York to Amsterdam, it might be cheaper to fly to London and then take a budget airline to Amsterdam. Therefore its worthy checking alternative routes and avoid flying direct to save money.
3. Always Check the One Way Option
At times, processing the tickets at as one way instead of return might work out cheaper, therefore always check for both options. You can book one ways with different airlines, this works of cheaper and also gives you the flexibility. If the departure date is still far in advance, you can purchase the outgoing flights, whilst keeping an eye on deals for a return flight, this will also help spread the costs. Another trick is to search tickets as a single seat, because if searching a group fare, the airline always show the highest ticket price in the group.
4. Consider Flying From the Nearest Airport
Always consider the nearest airport to avoid the cost of travelling to the airports further away.
5. Register With Airlines
Subscribe to airline websites to get the updates on special offers and last minute deals. Tuesday afternoon is the best time to check for sales because most airlines would have figured out whether their weekend flights are fully booked or not, and they will slush the prices accordingly. Airfare alerts through emails is the best way to track fares, also use twitter because some travel companies put their flash deals on twitter. Try to fly with airlines that are partners, so that you earn reward points, even if using a different airline.
6. Credit Cards
As from January 2018, travel companies are no longer allowed to charge the credit card fees. Therefore its now cheaper to use the credit card. Subject to good credit history, apply for airline’s credit cards and use them because they offer rewards and air miles. Mostly these credit cards are an extension of the frequent flyer program and you can make huge savings especially on long haul flights. Airline branded credit cards are a great way of making savings. You can use airline shopping portals and earn points whilst shopping. Airline credit cards have also dining rewards, so you can extra points when dining at participating restaurants.
7. Buying Flight Tickets Last Minute
Although buying in advance can be cheaper, sometimes last minute can offer great savings, as airlines will be desperate to fill their seats.
8. Shop Around
Like any other shopping, never buy the first fare you find, always shop around. Check for deals and discounts and compare the prices before purchasing your flight ticket.
9. Watch for Hidden Extras
Some airline charges extra for checked in bags. Some will tempt you into booking insurance (that you probably have). Budget airlines charge a lot of extras, so watch out for the total price. They charge fees, checked baggage, printing your boarding pass and you have to buy your own meals and drinks during the flight.
10. Fly With Budget Airlines
Budget airlines are also another way of saving money, these budget carriers are now flying long haul flights, and if you not too worried about the comfort you can fly between Europe and Asia for as low as £200 each leg of the journey.