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How to Find Cheap Flights [Step-by-Step Guide]

How to Find Cheap Flights [Step-by-Step Guide]

Let’s face it: flights can be one of the most expensive parts of any journey. Finding cheap flights has never been more difficult. Here is how to find cheap flights and book them so you can travel more for less.

The travel industry is no longer in the recovery stage. Indeed, airlines are seeing traffic like they never have before. If you’ve read our article on why flights are so expensive right now, you know that world conditions have created a cocktail for expensive air travel prices!

Cheap airfare tickets? It might seem like they’re a thing of the past. However, don’t put away that cheap flight-finding motivation just yet. Flight deals are still out there and can be found if you know where, when, and how to look.

Cheap airfare may be harder to come by, but that’s all the more reason to be fully aware of how to find cheaper fares for yourself.

Most of the internet guides we’ve seen on how to find the cheapest flights aren’t super-helpful in this day and age.

The truth is that finding the cheapest airline tickets isn’t as cut and dry as many make it seem. You must be creative, flexible, and willing to go back and forth between steps as your search evolves.

We’ve created this comprehensive, complete, easy-to-follow guide for cheap flights. There are countless steps to ensure you get the best flight deal, and we’ve organized them here in three parts.

  • Part 1 deals with getting creative with your dates and destinations,
  • Part 2 is all about the airlines and the specifics of your travel, and
  • Part 3 will help you be confident about the purchase and finally fly to your destination.

Note that truly locating the cheapest flights is a very dynamic process. While our step-by-step guide is organized, the cheapest flight often comes from repeating steps, often several times over.

In finding the cheapest flights possible, we’ve built a simple custom flowchart to help you understand the decision process and steps.

Decision Tree Flowchart for Booking Cheap Flights
Use this logical flow as a guide.

Leveraging the flow guide and some of our favorite methods in the article, here’s how you can think about each strategy for finding incredible flight deals:

StrategyDescriptionExamples of Savings
Sign up for Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights)Receive alerts for deeply discounted flights and mistake fares from airlines.Catching a pricing error could lead to international flights at a fraction of the normal cost.
Use search engines like Skyscanner, Kayak, and Google FlightsCompare prices across multiple airlines and booking platforms to find the best deals.Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” search might reveal a destination on sale, while Google Flights’ price graph shows the cheapest days to fly.
Be flexible with travel dates and airportsAdjusting travel dates or flying from/to different airports can offer significant price differences.Flying midweek or from a nearby, less popular airport could save hundreds of dollars.
Consider indirect routesFlights with layovers or connecting flights are often cheaper than direct flights.Booking a flight with a stopover might take longer but could cut the cost by 20-30%.
Explore off-peak travel seasonsTraveling during the shoulder season or avoiding holidays can lead to cheaper fares due to lower demand.Visiting Europe in the fall or spring can be much cheaper than the summer high season.

Using these strategies can lead to substantial savings on airfare, but it’s important to weigh the trade-offs, such as longer travel times or the convenience of travel dates, to ensure the best overall value for your needs.

Be sure to dive in deep so you, too, can book cheap flights to places around the world. Follow these tips, and your next trip is sure to be saved from the sky-high flight prices infecting the travel world. Good luck!

Part 1: Dates & Destinations

Dates & Destinations

You have to start somewhere; logically, it’s with your dates and destinations. But this first part is where most travelers ruin their chances of finding cheap flights: the truth is, you should try to keep both as flexible as possible.

Of course, you have to know where you want to go somewhere and when you want to go. But with rigid boundaries like this, you are at the mercy of the flight prices for those days and places. You’ll have to be lucky to score a flight deal on the exact dates and routes you want.

Instead, start with an idea of dates and destinations you want to visit. Do your search broadly with the steps below, and don’t ask for time off from work until you’ve found your ideal trip- not the other way around!

Flight Search Engines

Flight Search Engines

You must familiarize yourself with a search engine for flights to save yourself an exponential amount of time and headaches. Rather than going site to site by each airline, use one of these lifesavers to search nearly all airlines simultaneously, over significant amounts of time, and even multiple destinations.

Our favorites include Skyscanner, Kayak, Monomdo, and Google Flights. Also useful are Booking.com and Agoda, which you may recognize for hotel bookings, but you can also search for flights.

As mentioned, the huge advantage of these search engines is that they display fares for every airline possibly operating on the route, allowing you to find the cheapest flights quickly. They also return fares from most online travel agencies selling the ticket in case there is a better deal via a third party like Expedia.

We’ll get more specific below, but these sites are also your best friends for their ability to search with flexible dates and destinations, including nearby airports. These tools are essential to finding cheaper flights than you would with the old-fashioned way.

Here’s a comparison of the various flight search engines and each of their pros and cons:

Flight Booking Website Pros Cons Generally Cheaper? Read Our Review
Kayak Comprehensive results, Price forecast, Explore feature Can be overwhelming, Prices may change Yes Read Our Review
Skyscanner User-friendly, “Everywhere” search, Price alerts Prices may change, Not all airlines included Yes Read Our Review
Momondo Includes budget airlines, Multi-city search, Visual insights Prices may change, Long layovers possible Yes Read Our Review
Google Flights Fast, Tracks price changes, Google integration Not all airlines included, No price forecast No Read Our Review
Expedia Rewards program, Bundle deals, 24/7 service May not be cheapest, Website can be slow No Read Our Review

See Related: Kayak.com Review: Is Kayak Legit?

Flexibility in Dates

Kayak Flight Booking

Now that you know where to go for the best deals, you’ll need to show some flexibility with your travel dates to save money. Everyone has varying levels of flexibility, and it won’t always be possible to consider alternative dates. But if you can, this is one way to save a lot of money when booking flights.

Even if your vacation dates are already set and confirmed, consider flying out a day later or returning earlier. You may lose some precious vacation time, but you could save hundreds. It’s up to you if that is worth it, but I find that it often is- use that saved money on a nicer hotel room!

On sites like Skyscanner and Kayak, you have the awesome option to view flight prices in a grid format. Rather than searching all those alternative dates, select the plus or minus buttons for how many days are appropriate. Kayak even highlights the cheapest combinations in green for you.

If you have a huge range of flexibility and aren’t decided on a particular time to travel, Kayak and Google Flights also show you the cheapest days and times to fly by color-coding the calendar before you click Search. Watch for the green days to ensure it’s one of the cheapest flight dates.

Skyscanner has the same functionalities; you can search by entire month or even the cheapest month. Just change the search option when you click on your dates.

Skyscanner search engine site

Don’t forget that it’s often the most expensive to fly towards the end of the week, around holidays and special events. Are you planning a trip to Dubai?

Then you might not be aware that they have different weekends, nor do you know about their holidays and special events. Expanding your search will allow you to figure that out and ensure your flights work around them to save money.

Whether you have the flexibility to choose your travel period based on the cheapest time of year or you can afford to go a few days forward or backward, having some extra room in your travel dates can save you hundreds.

See Related: How to Use Google Flight Search Anywhere for Cheap Flights

Flexibility in Destinations

To go along with being flexible in your travel dates, you should also be as flexible as possible with destinations. Don’t worry. I’m not necessarily suggesting you be open to dropping your dream vacation!

Nearby Airports

Let’s start with an easy but important functionality vital to ensuring you get cheap deals no matter where you are flying. All quality search engines will have the option to search nearby airports, which can make a massive difference.

We don’t always know the alternative airports at a destination, especially if it is somewhere completely new to us. But flying into a secondary airport in a city can greatly impact flight prices. The operating costs are lower for airlines, and those savings are often passed on to us.

A classic example would be someone flying from New York to London, the world’s most profitable air route. In an example in Skyscanner below, I’ve input JFK to Heathrow, the main airports in each place that most people would know.

Skyscanner search engine

By simply checking the little box below each of them, I am now searching departures from JFK, Newark, Laguardia, Stewart, and more for arrivals to Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Stansted, Luton, Southend… you get the idea.

Multiple Cities & Airports

While that’s an easy addition to your search, there is a way to get even more creative regarding destinations. This will depend on what stage of your vacation planning, but it can also work even if you have a specific final destination.

You may want to be on a European beach and be open to different ideas. If you try searching for places like Mallorca, Croatia, and the Greek Islands, you won’t be happy with the prices you see.

However, try somewhere without a beach, like Milan or Berlin; you may be shocked at the difference. Add the fact that budget airlines fly between these major cities and top European seaside spots, and you may have just found a cheap beach vacation along with the bonus of a day in a new city.

Kayak and Google Flights have a wonderful function that allows you to input multiple arrival airports, or even cities, in one search. Just keep adding them in the search bar to find the cheapest among all of them.

Below, I’ve input the Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza airports. All are Spanish Balearic Islands with amazing beaches, and all are within a quick and cheap ferry or flight between each other. Even if you are dead set on one, flying to another could be very worthwhile, and using it for cheap airfare. 

Kayak flight list

Alternative airports and getting creative with your destinations are key to getting cheap tickets. Don’t be afraid to try interesting combinations and questionable routings to get a flight deal. You may add a new, cool stop on your travels!

See Related: Cheapest Places to Fly Around the World

One-Way, Round-Trip, & Multi-City Flights

This tip may surprise many people used to simply plugging in round-trip searches. You can often score the cheapest flight deals by combining one-way or multi-city tickets.

One-Way Ticketing

Round-trip flights are often no problem and maybe the least expensive option. But the problem with this is that you will be limited to the same airline group on all legs. This causes some constrictions that can lead to higher ticket prices.

For example, let’s imagine a trip from San Francisco to Tahiti. A round-trip ticket will have you on Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, or French Bee. The problem is that each airline only flies to Tahiti a few days a week. You will be stuck with sky-high fares if you choose the wrong departure or return date for your round-trip ticket.

Momondo Homepage

If you try entering one-way segments for each leg, you may find the cheapest price on separate airlines for your departure and return. In our example, United’s direct flight to SFO on Sundays may be the lowest outbound, while French Bee might offer a sweet deal for your return. Combine this with our tip above on flexible dates, and you’ve got a budget trip to French Polynesia– a hard thing to come by!

Searching one way is simple enough, right? Just note that there are a few downsides to this. When you book multiple segments, your reservations are not connected and are at risk in case of a cancellation. This means that if your outbound flight gets canceled and you decide that the trip is no longer worth taking, you won’t be entitled to a refund for the return.

See Related: How to Use Momondo to Find Cheap Flights

Multi-City Ticketing

One Way Multi City in Google Flights
Multi-City Flight Searches on Google Flights

There is a solution to this in some cases: multi-city tickets. This strategy involves booking various segments on the same reservation, protecting your ticket, and organizing the trip. The best part is that this strategy often lowers the fare exponentially because the airline is happy to keep you on more flights.

Multi-city ticketing is especially useful if you have multiple destinations within your trip already, but it can also work if you are trying to find the cheapest fare. Let’s take our trip from San Francisco to Tahiti as an example.

Perhaps you add a few days on Waikiki Beach to that trip, or you want to see if a connecting flight in Honolulu would be cheaper to get you back to SFO. On any of the flight search engines like Skyscanner, Momondo, Kayak, or Google Flights, select the multi-city option and plug in your legs.

Skyscanner choose flight

As you will often find, booking with multi-city ticketing is an incredible deal! The deal we found above is exponentially lower than a one-way segment to Papeete and another to Honolulu. Plus, being on the same ticket will get you the two free checked bags the whole way that Hawaiian Airlines offers.

To get back to San Francisco, you have the huge advantage of nearly every major US airline operating flights from Honolulu on the route. That means prices should be low and options plentiful.

Don’t forget to search Southwest Airlines separately on their website, as they do not allow their fares to be displayed on the travel search engines (and you’ll enjoy keeping the trend of two free checked bags!).

As we’ve mentioned, finding the cheapest flights is a process, so don’t hesitate to go back and forth between dates, destinations, one-way’s, and multi-city to ensure you get the best deal.

See Related: How to Book the Cheapest One-Way International Flights

Using Points & Miles for Free Flights

This has to be my all-time favorite time for getting the best flight deal- because the best deal is a free ticket! Few things are more satisfying than using just the right amount of points and miles to save hundreds or thousands on your trip cost.

I have met so many people who think that it’s just impossible for them to accumulate the thousands of points needed to actually use them, but that’s false. You should indeed sign up for every frequent flier program that applies to the flights you take to ensure you are awarded miles for them, but there is an easier way.

Credit cards have the wonderful concept of sign-up bonuses, which can run into hundreds of thousands of points. All you need to do is meet a minimum spending requirement within the first few months, depending on the offer.

If you plan a trip anyway and do a normal amount of grocery shopping and gas-filling, hitting these minimums should be no problem. There is no reason to go out of your way to spend extra money. You can hit these massive bonuses with regular spending if you apply for these cards wisely.

Our favorite cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Platinum Card, which earn points in currencies that can be used on almost any travel purchase. Both are also known for their incredibly generous sign-up bonuses.

American Express and Visa credit cards

Besides those, there are also co-branded cards offered by nearly every major airline. United, Delta, American, and Southwest come to mind. Every time you purchase any of these cards, you earn miles on that airline. That adds up!

These cards include extra perks like rental car insurance, lost luggage protection, and no foreign transaction fees. This all makes them essential components of a traveler’s wallet.

I could go on for days about travel credit card strategies, and I will discuss them more in Part 3. This is one of the greatest ways to offset those expensive flight prices!

See Related: Amex Points vs Chase Points: Which is Better?

Let Someone Else Find the Cheapest Flights For You

How Going Works in Steps

Here is another fantastic way to save your money on flights and time. A few services exist with the mission of finding the cheapest flight deals for everywhere going anywhere.

They can take the search off your hands for you, which is especially great for the busy person who doesn’t know when to find cheap flights during their day. Even if you don’t fall into this category, signing up for a site like this will at least allow you to focus your time on finding cheap hotels and cars instead.

We have three favorites regarding flight deal websites: Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), Dollar Flight Club, and Thrifty Traveler. All staff are dedicated to finding the world’s best flight deals. Their task is to constantly search various departure airports to all destinations.

All you need to do is sign up and tell them what departure airport or airports you are near. They will notify you immediately when they find an amazing deal that matches up with your city. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to grab it.

One of the best parts of their services is the access to mistake fares with premium memberships. If you’ve ever tried to find airline error fares, you know it is exhausting. But when they do pop up, we sometimes talk about discounts in the 90% range.

Rather than doing that hard work yourself, these flight deal-finders will notify you when they spot what they believe to be an error fare. If you’ve read our article about mistake fares, you know you must act quickly- so this access is priceless.

 Dollar Flight club Homepage

Scott’s, Thrifty Traveler, and Dollar Flight Club could save you a ton of time and money back when cheap flights were easier to come by. Nowadays, they should be one of your favorite tools during record-high flight prices.

See Related: Dollar Flight Club Review: Is It Worth It?

Part 2: Airlines & Trip Specifics

People in airplane cabin

Now that we’ve covered the initial search for a trip, you might have a potential trip in mind or a rough idea of where you are going. The work isn’t over yet, but it will get more specific.

We used some pretty creative strategies to find a great deal, and now it’s time to ensure those strategies pay off in actual savings. You would not want to have gone through all that work only to spend too much money on the journey.

In the next step, we will ensure that the cheap flight you’ve found (or that Going.com, Thrifty Traveler, or Dollar Flight Club found for you) is indeed the discount you’ve been longing for. Follow these tips to make sure that’s the case.

See Related: Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) Review

Get To Know the Different Airlines You Are Choosing From

People in the airport

Whether you’ve narrowed it down to a single great deal on a specific airline or you have the luxury of choosing between several, always do your research before buying the ticket. Knowing your inclusions and choosing strategically can save you even more.

These specifics will vary from airline to airline, so we won’t be able to mention them all here. But here are a few examples of the types of things to look out for.

Hawaiian Airlines generously includes two free checked bags on all international routes. If you choose between a direct trip on United Airlines or Delta Air Lines to somewhere like New Zealand or Australia, you might seriously want to consider a short layover in Honolulu to save hundreds on luggage. The same goes for Southwest Airlines on any route they fly- two bags always fly free.

You have plenty of airlines if you are headed across the pond to Europe. Many carriers often serve flights to cities like Milan and Athens at around the same price point.

These two cities, in particular, among some others, are also served by luxury airlines such as Emirates on routes known as fifth freedoms- when an airline flies between two points both outside its home country. Emirates economy class isn’t even comparable to what you will find on US airlines, so if the price isn’t very different, why not take advantage of a bit of luxury?

If traveling within the US, remember that United Airlines no longer allows an entire carry-on bag on most domestic routes. That will be an extra cost.

If seating is important to you, remember that Southwest doesn’t assign seats. This could be an advantage if you don’t mind checking in as early as possible or a disadvantage if you are seriously concerned about getting stuck in the middle.

As mentioned, these are just some examples of what to look out for regarding your airline of choice. If there are some things you cannot tolerate or will cost you extra, you will have to weigh the worth of your cheap flight tickets.

See Related: How to Find Mistake Fares [Complete Step-by-Step Guide]

Utilize Budget Airlines Wisely

Frontier Airlines is offering an All You Can Fly Pass from destinations such as Las Vegas, pictured.
Kyo46 – stock.adobe.com

Our tips can get you cheap tickets; choosing a budget airline can sometimes get you even cheaper tickets. Low-cost airlines are those that are openly no-frills, bare-bones, and pay-for-everything-extra.

While that may not sound very appealing, the truth is that budget airlines can indeed save you a ton of money if utilized properly. Their cheap fares are certainly eye-catching but should be scrutinized to ensure it is truly a deal.

Budget airlines fly all over the world, but you will most often find that short-haul flights are their main markets. In the US, we have Southwest, Spirit, and Frontier, to name a few. European budget carriers include Ryanair, Easyjet, and Wizz Air.

While a $10 international flight from Italy to Greece may seem like a no-brainer, weigh out all of the costs first. Do you need a checked bag or even a normal-sized carry-on? That will add to the price. Do you mind not having food or drink onboard? If so, you’ll need to pay. Does the flight involve a secondary airport that requires more ground transportation? Check the costs.

This can still absolutely turn out to be your cheapest option. I just returned from a trip to Greece, where I paid $10 for a Wizz Air flight from Milan to Athens.

I paid the $10 fare, plus $13 for a full-sized carry-on, plus $17 for a train ticket to Milan, totaling $40 per person. This is still a fantastic deal for ticket prices in Europe! The price to fly from my home airport of Nice (France) was $175 one-way, proving our point about low-cost carriers experimenting with departure cities.

Sometimes the cheapest way to book international flights to Europe is by finding the cheapest direct flight to a major European city, then using a budget airline within Europe to get to your next destination. This is a great way to save money on airline tickets.

Don’t forget that most budget airlines are inflexible with ticket changes and have hard-to-reach customer service desks. If all of this is fine with you, don’t hesitate to use them to get significantly cheaper airline tickets.

See Related: Ways to Find Cheap Flights to Europe

Layovers, Airports, and Visas

People crossing the hall in the airport

We know flying indirectly via layovers rather than nonstop flights can be much cheaper. Often, this may involve long layovers, even overnight – especially if you take advantage of multi-city ticketing as described before. This can add expenses to your trip where you don’t expect it. Be sure to budget appropriately for this to ensure your flight deal is still a deal.

In simplest terms, remember that you may need to buy (expensive) airport food on long layovers. If you have an overnight stop, you must budget for a hotel stay; unless you don’t mind sleeping on metal chairs or the floor. I find that a hotel is always worth it.

To save these cases, search sites like Agoda and Booking.com for accommodation. You can even input the airport code as the destination so you only see results that are truly airport hotels.

To save on food during layovers, check if you have a credit card offering a free Priority Pass membership. Priority Pass is a great program that allows you several entries to airport lounges around the world per year, and it is included in many travel cards – such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Platinum cards we mentioned before.

Finally, consider whether your layover country requires a visa to enter. This will be necessary if you are leaving the airport to go to a hotel for the night, and visas can be costly. This includes countries like Australia and Canada which don’t require actual visas from US passport holders but do require an electronic registration with a fee.

See Related: Best Airports for Layovers Around the World

Are You Going Around The World?

Are You Going Around The World page

This tip is a very specific one that will apply to certain, very long journeys. If your trip takes you completely around the globe, or at least around a large part of it, it may qualify for a round-the-world ticket.

These fares are offered by the three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and OneWorldfd. They consist of many partner airlines that can work together to get you worldwide at a lower price than you would pay separately and with better benefits.

If your trip is of this magnitude, it is definitely worth visiting their websites and plugging in your destinations to see the offers. By booking your ticket like this, you benefit from the simplicity of a single booking which allows for more flexibility and protection in case something goes wrong.

You will also normally get a free checked bag and earn frequent flier miles. A trip around the world will rack up tens of thousands of miles. This is enough to pay for your next vacation, and if you like free flights, this should be the top advantage!

See Related: Ways to Book an Around the World Ticket

Part 3: Purchasing & Flying

Finally, you’ve found the cheapest ticket possible, and your travel budget is alive and healthy. Congratulations! Now, we have some tips to save even more money at the end of the process and even begin saving for future trips.

The Great Debate: Miles or Money?

A dilemma is deciding whether to pay a cash fare or to use your precious points and miles. And if you aren’t carefully considering this, you should be. Not all reward redemptions are created equal.

Hawaiian Flight calendar

The key here is to weigh the value your points and miles are getting for you. Don’t just focus on the cost in dollars or miles. Consider both of them simultaneously. Just because you have the miles to pay for a trip doesn’t mean you should use them. What if the cash fare is exceptionally low?

Hawaiian Flight calendar, how to find cheap flights

A classic example is my first-ever travel credit card, the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard. I earned nearly 80,000 bonus miles by hitting the minimum spend, and I was considering how to use it.

Most of my friends with the card used their miles to fly on inter-island trips, such as Oahu to Maui or Kauai. This would generally cost around 15,000 miles, while the cash fare was always around $70. That didn’t make sense because I noticed I could fly to Tahiti for 24,750 miles. The average cash fare to Tahiti was in the range of $900.

Do you notice the difference? With my 80,000 miles, I could take five inter-island trips and save around $350 on the plane ticket. Alternatively, I could fly round-trip to Tahiti and save $900. The latter is more than double the value!

It is very important to consider the value you are getting for your miles, but there is one instance where this rule can be overruled. Points may be the way to go if you absolutely must travel on an unusually expensive flight in cash. These situations could be flights around holidays or special events, and you have no alternative. Miles can save you there.

See Related: How to Earn Airline Miles Without a Credit Card

Use the Right Credit Card

set of credit cards

This is a very important tip for any flight, hotel or car rental you book, whether you are searching for the best flight deals! You should always be using a credit card that specifically applies to the purchase.

Many factors go into choosing a credit card to make a travel purchase. Here are a few of the big ones, but remember that the list is potentially endless. You should consider your specific card options for your specific trip carefully.

  • Do you have a co-branded card for the airline you are flying? Airlines like United, Delta, American, and Hawaiian include special perks when you use their credit cards on their flights, such as free checked bags or seat selection.
  • Are you working towards a sign-up bonus for a new card? This is one of the few cases where you may want to not use a card that you normally would (like a co-branded one). A flight purchase could be a valuable addition to your minimum spending requirements to hit a bonus.
  • Which of your cards offers the best trip protection benefits? Most travel cards offer these: lost luggage insurance, delayed flight protection, delayed luggage provisions, and more. Look at the benefits of your cards to see which offers the best level of coverage- this can seriously save you if you need to use it.
  • Are there any spending bonus promotions running for any of your cards? Chase and American Express sometimes offer extra points per dollar on specific purchase categories. These points currencies are versatile, so take advantage of these offers when you see one.
  • Finally, is cash back more valuable to you at the moment? Non-travel cards often have cash-back benefits in the form of a statement credit. If that is better for your situation, there’s no harm in saving more money with this strategy.

These are just a few of the big considerations to make regarding credit card strategies. As you can see, it’s an important step that can save you not only on the trip you are booking but also on your next trips!

See Related: Best Credit Cards With Lounge Access (Ranked!)

Check Other Currencies

You might be surprised to know that sometimes, the sites that compute airfares are not perfect and can imperfectly convert currency. For international travel, checking another currency or two the airline offers to book is always worth checking.

The old, famous trick was on Norwegian Airlines’ website before they stopped flying trans-Atlantic flights. You could always get a better deal if you paid in Norwegian Kroner. I once saved almost 20% with this trick.

Flight ticket norwegian airline

It can work on other airlines as well, and if you have the time and don’t mind doing some math, it’s worth switching currencies a few times to check it out. Make sure you use a card with no foreign transaction fees.

See Related: Thrifty Traveler Review: Is Premium Worth It?

Self-Connect With Caution

We’ve thrown out a lot of creative tips when it comes to flying to alternative cities, using budget flights, and otherwise separating your trip. If you book separate plane tickets and self-connect, do so with caution.

Remember that when you are not on a single reservation, your connection is not recognized by your next airline. If your first flight is delayed, you cannot amend your separate connecting flight.

Self-connecting can save you a ton of money but be sure to do it carefully. Leave yourself plenty of time to connect. Ideally, book a flight on an airline with several departures to your destination on the same day if you have a cancellation.

See Related: Skiplagged Review: Is It Safe and Legit?

Sign Up For That Frequent Flier Programs

Delta Partners Program

Hopefully, this goes without saying at this point. If you are taking a flight, sign up for their rewards program! There is no reason to take a flight and NOT collect miles.

Research the airline to see who their partners are, and you might be surprised to see the programs to which your miles can be credited. Are you taking a flight on TAP Portugal Airlines but don’t expect to need their miles? You can add your United MileagePlus number and get credit there instead!

See Related: Guide To Ryanair Flights: Expert Tips & Tricks For Budget Travel

Know Your Passenger Rights

Many people don’t like to travel because they avoid the stress of potential delays, cancelations, overbookings, or lost luggage. These are definitely headaches, but if you know your rights well, you can be reassured that you are well-protected if something goes wrong.

When an airline cancels your flight or delays you are causing you to miss a connection. They are required by law to accommodate you. That means getting you on the next available flight, even putting you on a competitor’s plane. They must give you a hotel room with transportation and food if you are stuck overnight.

airline cancels your flight

If you’ve been denied boarding or bumped due to overbooking, you could actually be in for quite a treat. First, the airline must accommodate you in the same fashion as above. But even better, they almost always compensate you for this, and quite generously. United Airlines agents can pay up to $10,000 cash to sway volunteers into taking the next flight.

Can you imagine if a seemingly sad situation ended up paying for your next trip (or two)?

See Related: Best Apps & Sites Like Expedia For Travel

Use Schedule Changes To Your Advantage & Look Out For Upgrade Offers

Driking in the airplane

Along with the above point, a schedule change doesn’t always have to be bad. When an airline cancels or changes your flight well in advance (usually more than 14 days), this is considered a schedule change- not a delay or cancellation.

You can use this to your advantage. Try to get on a better plane or even a better booking class. You can also use the situation to better adapt to your trip if plans change since booking. Airline customer service agents are often flexible in these cases and will help you as a goodwill gesture for free.

One of my greatest success stories was going from low-cost to lie-flat luxury in first class. I booked on low-cost Level Airlines, which was not a pleasant seat. However, they changed my departure time by over four hours several weeks before the flight.

In reality, this wasn’t a big deal for me. But I wanted to use it. I called the airline, owned by Iberia (a full-service airline). The agent quickly accommodated me on an Iberia flight instead for no charge. I was in for free food, seatback entertainment, and a better experience – just for making a simple call and request.

Even better, I got an upgrade offer via email a few days later. Iberia would put me in first class for a 400 Euro upgrade fee. I took it, and for the price of a low-cost trans-Atlantic bus seat plus the fee, I got lie-flat luxury with Spanish wine!

Don’t ignore those email offers that come in a few days before your flight. They can be great deals and turn your long-haul sleepless night into a wonderful experience.

FAQs

What is the best day to look for cheap flights?

The best day to look for cheap flights is generally considered to be Tuesday, particularly in the early hours of the day. This is due to airlines often launching sales late Monday evening, resulting in other airlines lowering their prices on Tuesday to remain competitive. It’s important to note that deals can pop up anytime, so consistent monitoring can yield the best results.

How do I get the best airfare prices?

Getting the best airfare prices typically involves a combination of strategies, such as booking well in advance, being flexible with travel dates, and comparing prices across multiple booking platforms.

Utilizing fare alerts from several travel sites and apps can also be beneficial as they notify you when prices drop. Ultimately, patience and research are vital in securing the best airfare prices.

Where can I buy the cheapest flights?

The cheapest flights are often found on meta-travel search engines like Kayak, Momondo, and Skyscanner or from the airlines’ websites. These platforms allow you to compare prices from different airlines, making it easier to find the best deal. Discount airlines like Southwest and Ryanair often offer lower fares, especially on domestic or regional flights.

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