- Travel and Places
Plan Your Flights in Advance for Lowest Prices on Airfare
There is a method you can use to guarantee that you get the cheapest airfare available. If you are able to plan your flight far enough in advance, you can track prices and find the best deal available. The lowest rate for airline tickets is six weeks before the date of departure. If you can plan your flight at least six weeks ahead of the departure date and watch for the price drop, you will be able to lock in on the lowest airfare.
Knowing when to expect the lowest fares, gives you the advantage in the price game. It is similar to playing the stock market. You plan your flight well in advance and then track it, watching for that six week price drop and when you see it, you have to jump on it. Airlines only offer this rock bottom price on a few seats on each flight. That means you have to be quick in order to secure one before they run out.
Another thing to consider when planning your flight is the day of the week you want to travel. It is actually cheaper to fly on certain days of the week—usually Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Also, to save money, choose the last flight available at night. Keep in mind when booking a weekend trip, that it is cheaper to plan it for Saturday-Monday rather than Friday-Sunday. Sunday is the most expensive day of the week to fly.
There are also some unpredictable situations that can lower the price of airfare at the last minute. Competition among airlines can cause price dropping on particular routes. Another situation that can happen at the last minute is price lowering due to a particular flight not meeting the expected booking. If a flight fails to meet the expected booking, airlines will sometimes lower the price to attract passengers.
Always check alternative airports for lower fares. If you live in a metropolitan area that has more than one airport, or another airport is within a two-hour drive from your location, it might be worth it to drive the extra two hours in order to save a few hundred dollars on the ticket price. Major airlines will usually match the price of low-cost carriers between the same cities, but the number of seats are extremely limited.
Watch out for restrictions on discount tickets. Most discount tickets are non-refundable now, but can be applied to the purchase price of a new ticket. Usually you will have to pay an administrative fee and the difference in price between the two tickets in order to change flights.
Take advantage of frequent flier programs and airline incentives. You can enroll in promotional programs on some airlines that help you save money or find cheaper tickets. Also, take advantage of senior discounts if you are of age. Most airlines offer a discount in prices for senior citizens of a certain age.
Finally, sign up for email alerts offered by airlines, even if you plan your flight ahead of time. Watch for alerts offering your flight at a cheaper price than you purchased it. Fares change all the time, and if you happen to see that your flight is offered for a lower price than what you paid, sometimes the airline will refund you the difference; but only if you ask.