How To Find Cheap Flights And Upgrades - Search For Cheaptickets
Everyone wants to know how to find cheap flights. We all want to travel on a budget, fly to destinations near and far - on the cheapest ticket possible. And there's nothing wrong with that. Yet despite the sheer volume of online travel sites - sourcing the lowest priced flights is not always an easy task.
This guide will show you how to find cheap flights - in as pain free and simple a way as possible. There's so many wonderful offers, so many hard-to-ignore budget flight lures around the 'net that it's understandable that most of us struggle to sift the wheat from the chaff.
I’m not saying ignore offers relating to cheap flights – you never know. But in my experience, I’ve yet to book a flight as a direct consequence of buying into a delicious looking offer. Usually I’ve found that there are hidden costs. The offer is very cheap – it’s the taxes that aren’t. With some, the actual destination range is very narrow.
It’s no good paying £32 for a return flight to Turkey if you wanted to go to the Algarve. Often, you’ll find that it’s not just the range of cheap flight destinations that are mediocre – it’s also the departure airport. There’s only one … and it’s at the opposite end of the country from you.
Lowest Price Flights
So, how do you filter out the debris and discover the lowest price flights? How do you avoid wasting time? How do you uncover the elusive cheap flights? If I’m honest, there’s no magic answer but, hopefully, this guide will at least allow you to spend your time doing something that’s far more enjoyable than endlessly trawling the internet for cheap tickets: looking forwards to the actual holiday.
That's always the main focus anytime we plan ahead and start thinking about looking for the lowest price flights available. It is a fun part of the holiday planning but still - looking ahead means booking ahead ... and that's a little part of the secret to locating some great budget airfares.
- American Airlines
American Airlines can be used to check flight prices from some 36 different countries so a great all-round direct web site. An easy to use site, despite it's capacity for providing flight information pretty much world wide.
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Finding Internationl Flight Deals
Basically, there are three discount airfare type sites that you should use to find international flight deals:
Direct, flight brokers and aggregators. Think car insurance. You can buy your insurance direct, via a broker or use an aggregator. Travel sites work on the same principle.
The first type are direct sites. These are the official sites belonging to the airlines. British Airways or EasyJet are two examples. They are simply the ‘store front’. The place where you can access the service or product that you are looking for.
Although they work with aggregators and brokers, they still sell direct. They are worth checking out and using as a means to compare. They can, at times, be the cheapest option and occasionally do throw up some very cheap flights.
International Flight Deals
Dohop searches some 600 different airlines - so if they're willing to save you some time, use their software. In return, they could save you some money. As with other sites, bargain deals are visible.
You can sometimes find insanely cheap flights on aggregators, otherwise known as screen scrapers. These are simply feed reader sites. They collect data together, via web application software then collate and produce the data onto one site.
This makes it easier for you – the user – to find what you’re searching for: they’re often the easiest method of finding the flight you are looking for at a price you want to pay.
There tends to be two slightly different forms: the deal finders and live availability – though sometimes both are combined into one.
If you do find cheap flights with an aggregator, you will be redirected to the airline to complete the actual booking.
Check Travelocity out. This is one site that some of the aggregators don't use - or check with. I have found one flight via this comapany, though it was the UK version of the site.
Last minute International Flights
Check for last minute international flights on broker sites. Basically, brokers work in conjunction with different operators. They are selling you, the consumer, a product that you want, on behalf of a company that supplies the product.
They take a commission for connecting consumer to service provider. This can be included in the price of your flight or be visible – as in you know you’re paying for it because the site tells you so.
Should you find any cheap flights with a broker, expect to pay their commision at some point.
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10 Cheap Flight Tips
Grab a pen - here are your cheap flights tips:
1. Cross check between sites.
Prices can vary quite wildly. If you do find a flight within the range you’re wanting to pay, take a few more minutes to make sure it really is the cheapest. You may find that an aggregator offers a great price – then find it a bit cheaper with a broker.
If you know your dates can be flexible, search with that in mind. If you are committed to specific dates, then you’ll have no choice but to take what you can find. However that doesn’t rule out bargains. Cheap flights are still there - if you look in the right places.
3. Mid-week filghts.
Different days of the week affect the price of flights - mid-week flights tend to be cheaper. Flying on a Friday or Saturday for e.g. will push the price of the flight up. Why? Because most people prefer weekend flights – and the airlines know that consumers will pay more.
Can you be flexible re airports? If you’re prepared to put a few road miles in – or even train miles – prior to arrival at your departure airport, you may find that your flight costs are significantly reduced. However – do factor in the costs of fuel/train tickets – there may be little or no difference. I once drove to Birmingham for a flight. Another time, I found a couple of cheap flights from London - Heathrow and, after I added the costs together, it was still worth the train journey to travel down to Heathrow.
5. One Way Flights.
Consider one-way flights. You may find that separately booking the outbound and inbound flights reduces the price. I have found this to be the cheaper option on several occasions. My last flight was a return but the one before; I flew inbound/outbound with two different airlines. The combined price of the flights was cheaper than simply buying a return ticket. Don’t be afraid of using this option is it brings back the best available price. Why pay more than you have to?
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6. Book Early.
The general rule of thumb is that if you book early – your flights will be cheaper. This isn’t always the case but the majority of times, it is. The longer you leave it the higher the price tends to be. Airlines, as with any other service provider, need to make a profit. Therefore they exploit consumerism where they can. Last-minute flyers are usually prepared to pay more simply because they need to go somewhere at short notice. Also, some airlines offer cheap flights because you’re prepared to book early – though there may only be an allocated number of ‘cheap seats’.
7. Upgrade - not always worth it.
Are you prepared to choose price over comfort? Upgrading costs more. Simple. Space is at a premium on aircraft. The more space you want, the more you’ll pay. If you’re happy to sit in a bog standard seat, you’ll pay less. Some of the short haul airlines don’t always provide a different seat class though – the planes are smaller therefore there’s less space to ‘play’ with, in terms of creating different ‘class’ areas. I have flown with one airline that sometimes provides it’s customers with the same service, that being Air Tap. Imagine my surprise when I was offered free food and drink. A rarity but a plus for the airline. I have flown with them since; purely based on the fact that the in-flight service was excellent. This is the objective of providing the service. Repeat bookers are always better than one-off customers.
8. Low cost airlines.
If you’re flying on a short or mid-length flight, there are now various low-cost airlines to choose from - and they are well you'll find some great cheap flights. Don’t be put off by the term ‘low-cost’. Just because a company will fly you from A to B for a much reduced cost does not reflect on the quality of their fleet, safety and in-flight services. They are governed by the same guidelines as larger or more commercial airlines: all must follow strict safety procedures. I have flown many times with EasyJet and BMI – and neither compromise safety and quality of service as a means of offsetting higher profits.
You are likely to find that your flight will cost more if you’re particular about the time of day you wish to fly. If you’re prepared to fly late evening or first thing in the morning – your flight will be cheaper. This is just common sense – no-one likes to work unsociable hours. The same principles apply to the airways. I’ve picked flights up for really silly prices – simply because I’ve taken flights that depart before 06:00 or taken a flight after 19:30 in the evening.
10. Right price.
Finally – don’t leave your search too long. It’s better to have a flight booked; at or around the price you’re wanting to pay - than to have no flight at all. Decide on what you’d like to pay. Once you find a flight near to the figure, book it. The cheapest price is an elusive creature. Don’t end up paying a price way above your initial figure simply because you didn’t buy the one at the right price when you found it.
Last Minute Cheap Flights Round-Up
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So, your cheap flights hints and tips in a nutshell are:
- Cross check between sites
- If you have flexible dates – use them
- Mid-week flights are usually cheaper
- Choice of airport
- Consider buying your outbound/inbound flights separately
- Early booking
- Standard seats cost less
- Consider low-cost airlines
- Time of flight affects the price
- Once you find the right price – book it
If you bear in mind most or all of the above – you should be better equipped at finding the flight you want at the price you want to pay - the so called cheap flights. I do believe there are flight bargains out there, providing you know not just where to look but how to look. The cheapest flight I’ve paid was under £64 return. That included all taxes and so on. The most I’ve paid is £168. That’s a big difference. The less you pay for your flights, the more you’ll have when you arrive at your holiday destination. Simple!
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