If you travel often, then you might have already come up with a trick or two for booking flights at the cheapest possible price. If not, then you’re in luck, because, in this article, we share more than a few secrets for making sure you get the best price for your next flight.
Consider every option available
Rather than arbitrarily choosing a random airline and booking a flight, experienced travelers usually take the time to check the websites of various airlines and consult a few travel search engines such as Hipmunk, Google Flights, and Skyscanner, among others.
Taking this additional step greatly improves your chances of getting a good deal. Furthermore, most travel search engines offer a feature that enables you to track airfares and set a price alert which informs you when certain flights become available at a specified price.
Just remember that in case your flight gets canceled, the process of resolving the matter with the airline will be a lot smoother if you had booked your flight directly with the airline than if you had booked the flight through a search engine for flights.
Make layovers work for you
This may sound painfully obvious if you fly frequently, but it’s worth mentioning. Flights with layovers are usually considerably more affordable than direct, nonstop flights. So one effective way to bring down the cost of your airfare is to go for a flight that has a layover.
To make the experience even better, give preference to flights that have long layovers, so that you have an opportunity to leave the airport. Essentially, this enables you to get two trips for the price of one.
Book a flight for which your end destination is a layover
Here’s how this hack works. Let’s say you want to fly from LA to New Jersey and you identify a flight that goes from LA to Chicago but has a layover in New Jersey. It is usually the case that a flight like this with a layover will be cheaper than the direct flight. Book that flight, but when you arrive at New Jersey, simply disembark and don’t board the next flight.
Even though this is not allowed by many airlines, you don’t break any laws when doing so. You may, however, be fined if the airlines catch you doing it. Fortunately, some websites are available specifically for identifying such flights. Just make sure that you are not caught. Otherwise, your return trip might be canceled. Also, don’t check any bags.
Book a flight with a connection that’s actually your final destination
This trick is most useful if you’re comfortable with taking some risk because it involves bold bluffing. For this hack, you book an affordable flight that has an extremely short connection duration, making it is nearly impossible to catch.
Then, before you even embark on the first flight, let the agent at the gate know that you’re concerned that you may not be able to make the connection, and find out from them if it is possible to re-book you onto a direct flight, which is often more expensive.
If the trick is successful, you’ve just managed to get a direct flight to your destination for the flight for a better price.
Don’t limit yourself to flying only with popular airlines
If you limit yourself to only flying with the popular airlines, you’re not doing yourself any favors. As with any other services, there are a number of upcoming airlines that offer exemplary travel services at very competitive rates. The only way of identifying one of these is by occasionally trying them out. Of course, before you try out a new airline, carry out some research into it.
Delete the cache and cookies in your browser before booking the flight
You’re probably aware by now that airlines and travel agencies can find the category of flights you’re most likely to be interested in by looking at the cookies stored in your browser. After determining the flights you want, they typically hike the fare to squeeze out of you a higher margin.
The good news is that you can easily prevent them from doing this by clearing the cache memory of your browser, browsing airline and travel agency websites on an incognito tab, or using a VPN to prevent the airlines and travel agencies from seeing your online activity.
Book a flight as early as possible in the day
Experienced travelers have found that getting up in the earliest hours of the morning to catch a flight is a good idea for two reasons. First, in the event that your flight is canceled, the airline will likely move you to another flight later on in the day. If a flight later in the day gets canceled, you’ll have to wait until the following day.
Second, if the flight you’re in gets oversold and you’re in no particular hurry, you can volunteer to get bumped to a later flight. In return, the airline will typically offer freebies such as lounge access, an upgrade, flight vouchers, and in some cases, cash.
Disguise your IP location
Airlines and travel agencies are among a growing list of businesses that vary the prices of their products and services from one user to another depending on the user’s geographical location. Many online companies offer more affordable prices to customers from low-income countries. So, for instance, pretending that you’re booking a flight from a country in Africa rather one in the West will get you a considerably better price.
One way to do this is by booking the flight from the version of the airline or travel agency websites dedicated to that specific country. You can usually do this by changing the last part of the web address to the domain of a country in a low-income region.
However, a more effective way of tricking airlines and travel agencies into thinking you’re booking from a different country is by using a VPN, which tunnels all your traffic through a server in a country of your choosing and disguises your location.
Note that there is a small risk that you may inadvertently book a resident-only price that only locals from that country are eligible to enjoy. However, in most cases, nobody will bother to confirm that you are, in reality, a citizen of the country from which you book your flight.
Whichever way you go with, have a safe trip!