Post-Covid, airlines have been rolling out flights to make up for the dent the pandemic had created. It is no news that ticket prices have skyrocketed for some routes, yet it seems that some airlines are taking advantage of the dire situation to encourage more people to travel by offering vastly discounted prices and favorable return policies. So whether you are looking to go home, relocate to a new city or book a vacation after months of lockdown, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when searching for flights.
The first step for booking a more affordable flight ticket is to compare prices. You can use various search engines and the airlines’ own websites. There are also metasearch engines and travel agency sites that list you the cheapest option or the shortest flight to get to your destination, saving time and taking out the guesswork for you.
Browse in stealth mode
Make sure to take advantage of the incognito mode of your internet browser while searching for flight tickets. Thanks to this feature, you will have no history of searching for flights on your browser and hence no cookies, so you will not encounter increasingly different prices depending on your searches.
Clear those cookies
Clearing your browser history of all travel-related searches and deleting cookies from the search engines you use to ensure that there is no trace of your travel intentions. This will help list the most affordable tickets as travel sites will not be able to see that you have visited their pages before.
Use a VPN
The prices of flights do change according to the country or region you are in, so you may want to get help from a virtual private network (VPN) service or app when booking international flights. You can get much cheaper tickets if the airline sees you as a local customer or vice versa for some other countries.
Travel out of season
If you will be traveling in high season to get to your destination, chances are tickets will cost you a pretty penny, and you may be forced to fly business as cheaper seats will be long gone. For Turkey, for example, flights to the Aegean and Mediterranean regions are usually the most expensive at the height of summer, so choosing the months of April, May, late September or October will almost always yield cheaper options. For quieter holidays and avoiding exorbitant prices, travel during less popular times.
If you thought you imagined that the price of the ticket you were eyeing went up in the span of a few hours, you may not be wrong. Whether it is due to your previous searches, high demand or short-lived discounts and campaigns, being relatively fast when booking and having all the details you need ready will help you save more money.
Download the app
Mobile apps not only offer great convenience with user-friendly interfaces, but thanks to push notifications, you may also receive news about last-minute deals or mobile-only rewards. Some travel metasearch engines even offer to send out notifications when there is a price change in the flights you seek.
Subscribe to newsletters
Receiving daily, weekly or monthly emails from travel sites and airlines means you will likely be one of the first people to know about new promotions, announcements and changes. Some may even offer specialized discount codes for returning customers.
Call it airline rewards or frequent flyer programs, these schemes not only offer you points for every mile you fly or the time you spend onboard but can also offer perks such as discounted car rentals, cheaper stays at hotels and deals when shopping. With some programs, depending on their partnership with banks, your credit card purchases may even qualify you for loyalty points, later to be used to buy tickets or other amenities during flights.
Buy it one-way
Buying a round-trip from the same airline often means it will be more expensive. Before you buy, you should check for return flights from other airlines and see if you can save considerably by mixing and matching flights.
Choose the long route
Instead of choosing direct flights for long distances, you can save money by choosing connecting flights. Since people tend to prefer shorter and direct flights, those with layovers will usually be cheaper. The key here is to have enough time between each flight, not too short that you will have to bolt for the gate or too long that will have you bored out of your mind while pacing the terminal. If you have a day or two, you may want to choose layovers with more than a day in between so you can explore a new destination.
Plan well ahead
Last-minute tickets can be more expensive than tickets bought months in advance. Although there are sometimes last-minute surprise discounts, planning early can help you budget accordingly and seek out the cheapest price available. Buying ahead also means you will be able to sort out your accommodation and even make changes later on. Especially with the pandemic, it is best to buy tickets for much further down the road, considering that winter this year may be tricky.