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How to Book Cheaper Flights Online

Updated on October 17, 2012
air travel
air travel

Are you a frequent flyer, like me?

Do you book your flights online?

Have you ever wondered why a flight you checked the price on one day, is more expensive the next time you look?

Then read on to learn how to get cheaper online flights.

If you are anything like me, you have a group of favourite airlines who you look up.

Unless travel has got to be on a certain day, you may give the airline's website a range of dates that are suitable for travel.

The first time you check them, you may see some really good deals in terms of price as well as flight times.

But, you know, when you are making a casual forage into the idea of travelling from A to B within a certain timescale, you are perhaps not ready to make that booking.

You just want to know a rough idea of what is available, and at what price.

So you find a flight at a great price, but you are not sure that the date suits, so you come out of the website while you check the competition from your other favourite airlines, to see what is on offer.

After checking round them all, you decide on the cheapest or perhaps the one that offers flight times most suited to your particular itinerary.

If at that point, you don't make the booking for whatever reason, you don't worry too much because there is always tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes, and you go back to the airline's site, only to find that the price has risen!

This seems to happen frequently, and not just with airlines, but with domain sellers and many other online services.

A big hint to tell you what is wrong is when within a day or two you receive an email from the airline offering you special deals on the exact flight you were looking up.

This can only happen if you have flown with them before, so they have your email address.

This address goes hand-in-hand with the cookies these companies are depositing on your computer every time you access their website.

So, you get one chance to book a cheap flight, and that is the first time you access their site.

After that, the price rises every time you look. They know they have you hooked. You want that flight, or you wouldn't have returned.

The price rises each time too.

So, the simple solution, whether they have your email address or not, is to simply clean your cookies after each visitation to their site.

Then, when you return, you will be treated as a new customer, and will be offered their cheapest deals each and every time you look.


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    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 5 years ago from Australia

      That's a great idea Izzy, thank you :)

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      $300 is a massive difference in price! Rather than clearing all your cookies (which is a pain, because sites you want to recognise you, like your bank, won't be able to) you can print off a list of your cookies before you start your search for flights online, then afterwards only take off the new cookies that you have acquired, by comparing the new list to the old one. It is a nuisance, but well worth it in order to grab those cheaper flights.

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 5 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for this article. I did experience this exactly recently when flying to Canada. Within a couple of weeks of first checking fare prices on my favourite airline's website, the fare price for the flight I wanted had increased by $300!! Now I know to clear my cookies next time. Thank you!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      Such a simple thing and it never occurred to me to think of cookies. It was only when the European Union threatened to take the airlines to court over it that I realised it was even happening...and still is!

    • Liz-reviews profile image

      Eunice Elizabeth 5 years ago from Vancouver, BC

      IzzyM awesome tips on cheap flights, totally makes sense on the price rising when you go back to check thinking that the price will have dropped. Great hub.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      I've never used a MAC so don't know if its different. You can clean them from the browser. On Chrome go to Tools from the drop down menu top right, and choose to clean cookies. You can also find your cookie folder, and just delete the new cookies left by the airline site, if you can identify them. It does mean losing saved passwords if you clean them all, so best to check beforehand (print out the list), then see what new ones have been added and just clear them. It is a nuisance, but well worth it as you can really save a lot of money! I don't know about Pagewash sorry, not one I use.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I love this tip! Okay - I have a dumb question - how do I clean my cookies? (Sounds like when someone threatens to 'clean your clock'). I'm on a Mac, BTW - whole new world for me.

      If we do that, what does it do to other sites we regularly visit? Will it remove where we are registered on various sites (like my bank?).

      I wonder if Pagewash would accomplish the same goal of anonymity?

      Excellent tip here, Izzy - thanks!

    • sarahk80 profile image

      Sarah Kenatz 5 years ago from Kansas, USA

      Interesting! I hope I remember to try this the next time I book a flight.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      How annoying! I'm going to be looking up flights myself soon, so will doing a lot of cookie cleaning in the process.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      As usual I find out just after I book my flights to Majorca lol!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      @writer20, I live between Scotland and Spain (which are 2000 miles apart) and bounce between the two! The majority of flights are pre-booked by holiday charters, but there are always spare seats which the airlines sell off cheaply in order to fill the plane, else I couldn't afford them either. It is possible to get return flights between the two countries for less than $100!

      @Sophia, thanks! I only recently discovered the reason myself.

      @point2make, the EU are bringing a case against the companies for unfair practices, and it is the cookies they drop on your computer that allow them to know exactly what you have previously looked at, and to adjust the price accordingly. It's good to know, and probably good for your computer to get a frequent clean-out of cookies!

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      Interesting hub and very informative. I was not aware of why the price changed the next time you visited the airline site. Thanks for the info and tip.

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

      Hi Izzy, great article. Accurate, too!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I think you're a lucky person to be flying a lot because we just don't anywhere. Since retirement money has more short.

      Voted up and very interesting, Joyce.