Buying plane tickets is not an exact science, but it is an art. Finding an affordable plane ticket requires strategy, and skill. Whether you need a cheap plane ticket so that you can go on a holiday or a business trip, there are techniques you can use to score a bargain. Here are seven tips to help you get the best deal when buying plane tickets.
1. Buy Your Ticket On A Tuesday Afternoon
Travel experts agree that the best time for buying plane tickets is on a Tuesday afternoon. This is when tickets are typically the cheapest. Tuesday afternoon is the ideal time to book both domestic and international flights. If you work on Tuesday afternoons and cannot spare time to make a flight reservation, consider having a friend or relative book the ticket for you.
2. Try Websites That Aggregate Flight Rates
To be certain that you are getting the best deal on a flight, you will need to compare the fares offered by several airlines. The easiest way to compare fares is to search a website that aggregates flight rates from multiple airlines. Expedia and Kayak, for example, load fares from multiple airlines when you search. Using a fare aggregation allows you to compare rates faster than if you searched each airline’s website individually.
3. Check Fares For Local Discount Airlines
Although fare comparison websites are a good place to start your research, they do not include all airlines. In fact, if you rely solely on websites such as Kayak and Expedia, you could be missing out on the discount fares offered by budget airlines. Find out what airlines fly out of your local airport, and make sure that you compare quotes from all of these carriers. Even if you cannot find a fare for a particular airline on a major travel site, small airlines usually operate their own webpages where you can find prices and book tickets.
4. Consider Amenities And Extras
The cheapest ticket is not always the best value, especially if comfort is a concern. You should look into each airlineâ€™s amenities and extras before you book your ticket. There is generally a trade-off between amenities and cost. For example, Virgin Australia is a more expensive airline, but offers plenty of extras and creature comforts. Virgin Australia won two awards in 2012 from the Skytrax World Airline Awards. Virgin received the “Best Airline” and “Best Staff Service” designations. Budget airlines, such as JetStar, typically have few inflight frills. Whether you should book a flight on a budget airline or a more upscale carrier depends entirely on what you need on a flight. However, if you do book a flight on a budget airline, watch out for extra fees. Although Australian budget airlines such as JetStar typically offer the lowest base rate, customers are often nickel and dimed for every service, change, or amenity.
5. Sign Up For A Rewards Credit Card
If you fly frequently, consider signing up for a rewards credit card. Many credit card companies offer cards that give customers points for every purchase. When these points accumulate, they can be redeemed for free flights. If you pay off the entire balance of your card every month, you will not be charged interest. If you have the discipline to do this, rewards credit cards can be a good way to get cheap or free flights. Make sure you do plenty of research before you sign up for a card, and find out if there is a yearly fee.
6. Fly Early On Tuesday, Wednesday, And Sunday
You can find the cheapest flights if you fly early in the day on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday. Flights are more affordable at these times because fewer individuals need to fly on these days of the week. Businesspeople and individuals with families typically take weekends off for travel, and therefore depart on Thursday or Friday and return late Sunday. If your schedule is at all flexible, try to depart and return on these cheaper days. Not only will your fare be less expensive, but because fewer people are flying, you will not have to fight airport crowds and wait in long lines to go through security. The flying experience is cheaper and more enjoyable on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays.
7. Sign Up For Email Alerts From Airlines In Your Area
Another way to save money on plane tickets is to sign up for email alerts from airlines that fly out of your local airport. Periodically, these airlines will send special offers for discount fares. Typically, you will need to fly within a small window of time in order to qualify for these discounts, but if you have a flexible schedule, these email mailers can help you get some great prices when buying plane tickets.