Wellbeing & Leisure

Fly Smart: 7 ways to get the best deals on your next flight

Everyone wants the cheapest possible flight deals they can get. But since you can’t personally negotiate with airlines who offer fixed prices to everyone on their websites, how do you find deals? Well, here are some “tricks” or smart ways to get cheap deals on your next flight:

Search for flights at wee hours and incognito

incognito flying

Ever wondered why fares change and keep increasing when you search a route repeatedly? The cookies in your browser expose you, increase fares and prompts you to make impulsive bookings out of fear that fares will keep rising. The trick is to search for flights midnight or early hours of the morning and particularly in private browsing mode to see actual fares. Simply enable it using Crtl+Shift +“N” for chrome or Crtl+Shift+”P” for Firefox or Explorer. Close and relaunch browser for a subsequent new search.

Best days to fly

Established airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and some others often have higher fares on weekends or holidays, although this is not always the case. It’s advisable to fly Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays according to most travel agents but the reality is that there are no established rules to exactly which days are cheapest to fly. However, the trick will be to get a price summary on flights for the whole month in order to see the cheaper days available.

Early bookings

Most airlines release tickets every year in advance. One way to take advantage of cheap fares will be to decide your travel period and destination early enough. This avails you the opportunity to check at least once a week for any price variation. However, this is not applicable to periods between June and August which is the peak of the holiday season.

Last-minute booking

Travel agents are in the best position to seize these opportunities and it works best if you are flying alone or flexible with your travel plan. Sometimes, there are available seats on airlines due to flight cancellations or non-booked seats available before departure. So you have your bags packed and you are available at the boarding terminal about 3-4 hrs before departure. Your travel agent can get you a good deal, 10-25% cheaper than what is obtainable but always equal to the benchmarked airfare by the airline.

Make a travel agent your friend

Building a relationship with a travel agent is one smart move to getting cheap airfares. Trips are meant to be tailored to your needs most times and once an agent has a proper understanding of those needs, they are in the best position to find better fares and manipulate your trip to suit your needs, compared to those available online. Based on their exclusive relationship with airlines, they can even give you further discounts from their profits.

Flexibility and embracing Layovers

It’s no longer news, that flights with longer or multiple layovers or “stopovers” most often have lower fares. So if your trip isn’t time-bound and you won’t mind seizing the opportunity to explore shopping, cultural or culinary delights at airports or in some cases in capital cities for a few hours, then this will work. However, the smart move will be to patronize airlines (Emirates, Etihad etc) with amazing hospitable services (like free hotel bookings & breakfast) in order to maximize the experience.

Alternate airport landing

File photo dated 02/01/08 of a plane coming in to land at Gatwick Airport, as the airport celebrates its 80th anniversary of its first flight.
File photo dated 02/01/08 of a plane coming in to land at Gatwick Airport, as the airport celebrates its 80th anniversary of its first flight.

The costs airports charge airlines for their services ultimately reflect on their fares. Rather than take a flight to airports located in major cities, the trick sometimes will be to consider an alternate airport with a few hours drive to your destination. So if there is more than one airport near your destination, compare prices.

Subscribe and stay updated

One easy trick to stay informed about promo deals discounted fares or last minute cheap flights, is to either follow most airlines on social media, download their apps or subscribe to their e-newsletters especially if you do not want to deal with travel agents.

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