Guide To Booking Cheap Flights

Guide To Booking Cheap Flights

On any given flight, you might sit next to a person who paid much more or much less than you did for the same itinerary, the same row of seats, the same airline meal. Getting the cheapest possible flight for your travel takes a little time and effort, but the savings are well worth it. Here are some tips for booking cheap flights. 

When to Book 

Opinion is split about exactly how far in advance is the "sweet spot" for booking the cheapest flight. Generally, the lowest fares are available to travelers booking either well in advance or at the last minute. The Airlines Reporting Corporation indicates that on domestic routes the cheapest flights tend to be booked about six weeks in advance of the travel date. However, for international and long-distance flights you'll find the cheapest flights booking up to six months in advance. Leftover airline seats are often sold cheaply in the days or hours before departure, particularly on short-haul flights. 

Midweek, Early and Late 

If the scheduling of a flight is unpopular or inconvenient for the average traveler, it is likely that flight will be relatively cheap. Flights departing midweek are usually cheaper than those on Mondays or Fridays. Flights leaving or arriving very early or very late are also less popular and therefore less expensive. Remember that, in addition to the inconvenience, taking a red-eye morning flight or a late scheduled arrival may incur other costs. If an awkward schedule means you end up paying for an extra night's hotel accommodation -- or a taxi before public transport starts running for the day -- the cheap flight may be a false economy overall. But if you just want the cheapest way to get from A to B, consider awkward departure times or convoluted routes with several changes. 

Competitive Routes and Outlying Airports 

Broadly speaking, the routes on which multiple airlines compete have lower average flight prices. If you have a choice of departure airports within reach of your home, consider which has the most airlines competing on the route you want to fly. Generally, cheaper flights tend to be available to and from outlying airports serviced by budget airlines. To use the example of London, England, flying to or from the outlying airports of London Stansted or London Luton is often cheaper than the more central London Gatwick, London Heathrow or London City airports.