For me booking a plane ticket is like a game. This might seem a little weird for some. However, I adore the challenge of securing the lowest possible fare. Often I am used as the go-to person to book a cheap flight. So I thought I would share a few tips with you.
1. Find out what airlines fly to your destination of choice
Sometimes this is easier said than done! So let’s say you are looking to fly to Bali. I normally either google ‘Bali Airport’ or go to Wikipedia and do a search for the destination airport. Wikipedia often lists the airlines that fly to the destination and where they fly from. Do a scan through the list to see if any of these airlines are suitable for your route. Keep in mind that these routes often change and maybe out of date so its best to double check.
2. Find out what budget airlines or Low Cost Carriers that fly to or near you
For this I always go to Attitude Travel. It is an excellent resource to find your budget airline, what routes they go to etc. Use the drop down menu and choose the country you would like to travel to. Alternatively check out webjet.com , Skyscanner.com , The Big Project or your local airport website.
3. Cross reference the list of budget airlines with your chosen route
So let’s say I would like to travel from France to Bali. I spot that Air Asia a budget airline operates this route and I go directly to their website to book. Bingo book a cheap flight for just over 200euro! [update 2014 this route no longer operates ]
4. If all else fails and you still couldn’t book a cheap flight…
Got to holidaypirates.com an amazing list of incredibly cheap flights, accomodation, holidays and tours are on offer. Most of the time you have to act fast or be able to fly last minute.
Also watch out for…
Keep in mind that neighbouring or smaller airports may have less tax and be cheaper to fly to. For example Schiphol Airport Amsterdam has departure tax of 28 euro (security surcharge 12.95, passenger surcharge 14.66 & noise reduction surcharge 2.00) compared to Dusseldorf where the aviation tax could be from 8 to 48 euro depending on your destination. It is only a 2 hour train ride (20 euro fare) from one city to the other and well worth considering for that extra saving.
The day you are travelling on
Midweek is generally cheaper than weekend fares. I have found Tuesdays and Wednesdays to be best when looking at low cost carriers.
The time of year
If you fly off season you can often more than half the cost of your flight. However, it maybe rainy or hurricane season so research the weather also.
Sign up for mailing lists
You will get updates on the latest specials and sale fares. To avoid you inbox getting clutted set up a filter to automatically send those emails straight to an email folder. So when you are looking to book a flight just dip into that folder and see whats on offer.
Check for luggage, tax, meals, insurance, car rental, seat allocation & other extras
Often these are automatically ticked for budget airlines and the seem to be inventing new ways to do this every day. So its worth doing a double check before
Do you have any other tips you use to book a cheap flight? Add your comment below …
Image courtesy of Didiz Rushdi