When we are looking to book Cheap Flights, for business or leisure, is wise to know how things work and who the main players are.
- Aggregators-Before you search you need to know that an aggregator is a website that search for deals across multiple websites (Online Travel Agents, Airlines) and shows you the results in one place. Kayak, Skyscanner, Hipmunk, Google/Flights and Momondo are amongst the top aggregators.
- OTAs-When you find your desired flight and price they redirect you to the Online Travel Agent to complete your booking. You have to be conscious though here, since in many cases the lowest airfares shown might not be available. Expedia, Priceline, CheapOAir and Orbitz are the most well known Online Travel Agents.
- Airlines-They are distributing their inventory through various sales channels (Traditional Travel Agencies, Online Travel Agencies, Travel Management Companies, Direct Online and Direct Offline) with their main goal being to be as more profitable as possible.
Here’s what you need to do in order to find the cheapest airline ticket.
Search for One Passenger-In the online Travel booking engines Everyone’s fare is the same price. So when you search for a particular flight for a family, if there are two of the very cheap seats left, one that’s a little more expensive and four that are pricier still, it’s only that last option that will show up in your family of four’s search. So, start your search for a party of one, and then scale it up until prices change. As long as you don’t mind booking the seats in several transactions, you could save by achieving cheaper fares for a few people in your party.
Register to Airlines Newsletters, in order to get their special offers well ahead. Sometimes is wise to buy a cheap return ticket that costs up to 70 Euros, at a period you believe you will most probably travel, rather than wait the last minute and buy it for several hundred Euros. In case you need to change the dates of the ticket then you can always do it by paying for reissuing fees and the difference of the fare at that time.
Become a frequent flyer of all the airlines you are flying with. You will be gathering loyalty points that can be exchanged to flights, free meals, gifts, better seats, more luggage on board, use of airport VIPs lounge and many more.
Be really flexible- The newest generation of booking engines aims to support travelers who don’t have a destination in mind. Some sites like Google/flights, their search results show the best current fares out of your home airport over a given time frame. You can see all that at a user friendly interface on the map, with prices, similar to booking.com map when you search for hotel accommodation.
Disregard the Myths -In the last few years there has been a rumor that by deleting your cookie files when repeating a flight search will make it cheaper. This is definitely false, since the booking engines don’t work this way. Another myth is that buying on specific days will get you a better airfare. While it’s often cheaper to fly on Tuesdays to Thursdays, airlines definitely do not drop their fares for those who buy tickets on those days of the week. It’s also not correct that last-minute fares are always more expensive. While mostly true, there are some airlines like Thomson that continue to offer special last-minute deals.
Combine Airlines and Airports – Most of the online booking engines will display various options when searching for a flight. They would provide you with the option to combine different airlines for a return ticket from London to New York and different airports. Thus, you don’t have to necessarily leave from London Heathrow and on your return arrive at the same airport; it might be cheaper to get to Gatwick. The same goes for New York, JFK airport flights are more expensive compared to Newark. Nevertheless, just have in mind that this rule applies to all the big countries with multiple airports.
Finally in case you’re not into web surfing, I would suggest that you consult your Travel Agency, as with a small service fee, they will provide you with various cheap flight options.