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Airline tickets. How to buy cheaper?

Updated on February 17, 2013

Factors which determine the price of a ticket

Nowadays it is much easier to travel and to make flights from the point A to point B. It is simple to make a booking online and to pay for it by credit card with the help of numerous booking systems. You probably noticed that sometimes the price is high, sometimes it falls down (alas, not that often as we would like to) Do you know what influences these prices?

Photo from a public domain
Photo from a public domain
Photo from a public domain
Photo from a public domain

Season

Most airlines have different prices for different seasons. Periods from June to August and December are as a rule a “High season” for any airline and even minimal prices in these periods are higher than in any other time.

A “Low season” is November and February - March. This time is the cheapest time for travel. Flights are often half loaded and airlines offer different discounts during this time to attract passengers.

Shoulder season – all excluded from above, namely September – October, January and April – May. This is an intermediate period between the peak season and low season. There are often special offers from airlines at this time and in general this is a good period for buying tickets.

This division is general and it is not always the same with all companies, but try to avoid flying in summertime and in Christmas. It is expensive.

Advance purchase.

Many companies give an option of advance purchase at low prices. They offer special “early bird“ prices and tickets purchased several months in advance can be very cheap. On the other hand I come across such a situation that not all airlines actually provide such an option. Some companies may raise (!!!) The prices for advance purchase just to cheat the passengers who assume they buy it cheap.

In my opinion based on many years of work in this industry if you are looking for early bird fares, compare the price with other periods to find if it's really the best price you can have.


Do not postpone buying tickets till the last minute.

The last minute purchase usually has the highest price. Most companies have such an approach to last minute buy – if you must fly you pay any price for your ticket because you MUST fly. I often heard stories about cheap tickets in the airports before departure but I can neither prove it nor to say it does not exist. May be it exists in some cases with some airlines, but for me it sounds much more like a fairy tale (at least here in Ukraine).


Round trip ticket or a one way ticket?

Regular airlines make a huge difference in prices for a one way ticket or for a round trip ticket. One way ticket may cost 100 $ while round trip ticket may be around 150$. Why a one way ticket is more expensive? I can't say that for sure. Probably the airline wants to attract passengers and to make them use their service. So, if you want to fly cheaper – buy a round trip ticket.


Photo from a public domain
Photo from a public domain

Minimum and maximum stay.

Many companies have such a limitation as a minimum stay and maximum stay. If minimum stay is programmed by an airline it is usually 3 days OR a night from Saturday to Sunday. That means if you buy a round trip ticket and stay in your destination point from Monday to Wednesday it can be more expensive than to stay in your destination point from Monday to Thursday or from any day till Sunday.

Maximum stay is another factor which can influence the price because sometimes round trip ticket for 2 months stay or more can be more expensive than a ticket for a 1 month stay. Any special price or discounted price for a regular airline means that you cannot stay in your destination point more than 1 month. Sometimes maximum stay can be 10 days or 2 weeks. It all depends on the airline but anyway maximum stay cannot be more than 12 months.


Photo from a public domain
Photo from a public domain

Buy your ticket talking with an agent

Of course it takes some time to find an agency, to come to it or to call there, but it will pay out if you buy a couple of tickets there and will come later as a regular client asking for a discount. In general all airlines and agencies can give you a discount as a regular passenger.

Another advice is to bring some small souvenirs after your trip and to present to personnel of the agency and they will definitely inform you if they have any special offers for a necessary destination. It is also good to buy tickets from an agent because he/she must inform you about rules of refund and exchange of your tickets. Most of us are too busy or lazy to read these rules while buying online. Believe me it is important and you should know how much you lose if decide to change your schedule.


Fly without home pets

No matter how passionately you love your sweet dog do not take it on board, unless it is necessary. First you pay extra money for it and the price may start from 50 USD and up. Another thing- you ought to book this service in advance. Some companies limit the number of pets carried in a cabin. If you come and your dog will be number 5, while they accept 4 – you get in trouble… If you have an international flight the situation with pets becomes even worse because you have to check the rules of the country regarding the entry of animals and sometimes you would need documents confirming necessary vaccinations of your pet. That adds you extra headache and extra cash to spend.


Budget airlines

If you have a budget airline which makes flights to the necessary city I would choose it. My own experience of flying and selling such European low cost companies as Rayanair and Wizzair shows their high competence and in-time flights. Of course there are exception in every situation and there many passengers who buy regular flights. If you want to fly in business class or need some extra service on-board or free drinks and meal you better choose regular airlines. But if the question is to save money - budget companies are a good solution. Besides, budget companies are fast growing and their fleet mostly consists of new aircrafts. I believe it is much safer to fly buy a new plane, while regular airlines often have older planes.

As you see choosing a better price can be a tricky thing and if you need to save money it is better to try different booking systems or, better, to go to any agency which sells tickets and add them some headache looking for the cheapest possible price for you :). They are paid for it.


Do you prefer budget airlines or regular ones?

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Now about disadvantage of cheap tickets:

To buy a cheap ticket means to pay much much more if you decide to cancel your flight!!

Cheap tickets are never refunded! Cheap tickets are very expensive to change! So never ever buy cheap ticket if you are not sure about the dates. Always ask the agent what you can do with your ticket if your plans will change. Even illness of a passenger is often not an argument for the airline to refund you your ticket. Therefore think twice and make a good planning to avoid changes of dates.


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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Hub. Good Information. Hope your weekend is going well. :)

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Nice to see you Theresa. Just returned after a trip to Europe and enjoy being home. Thank you for stopping by:)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 4 years ago

      Pavlo ~ Useful information. Blessings, Debby

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Thank you! I hoped someone would need this info.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      Very useful tips Pavlo, I am bookmarking this hub for the summer, or I mean spring so I can buy tickets ahead of time :) thanks great info!

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      hi, I havent seen you for ages!!! Glad to read your comment! Feel free to ask if you need about it.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Some budget airlines sell insurance and if you buy airticket but had to cancel due to illness etc, you might be compensated. If this is possible it will at least help defray some of the losses should anything happen. You have listed lots of good and useful tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I am glad you liked it! Insurance is a good thing and can really help to reduce loses in some cases.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Congrats on this hub. Very useful for the travel folks. Keep on writing such good stuff.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Evening Pavlo - Just reread this informative and useful Hub. Still a very good and helpful essay. Its nice to know how things work from someone inside the system. Have a great week. :) Sharing.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      to sunilkunnoth2012 and phdast7: Glad you enjoyed it! By the way this time of the year is a great time for a discounted travel! So if you need to fly somewhere - think about possibility to do it now!

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