Flight tickets account for a large chunk of your travel expenses, especially when traveling abroad. While this doesn’t stop travelers from traveling and exploring the world, it definitely gets them searching for cheap airline tickets so they can stick to their travel budget. When it comes to booking cheap flights, have you always waited for that big airline sale that offers special discounted fares on international flights? What if we say you don’t have to put off your trip and you can book cheap airline tickets anytime to anywhere in the world? We know you might be shouting a big ‘no’, but believe us, it is possible with a few tricks. We are presenting those much-needed tips for booking cheap airline tickets in this article. Read on!
Start searching much early and book early:
Don’t wait to book your flight tickets once you have decided where to go. In general, most airlines release flight tickets for sale before 11 months, so start searching early. According to studies, airfares take an upward curve during the final three weeks before departure; and the ideal time for booking cheap airline tickets is 11-12 weeks in advance for international flights and 6-7 weeks for domestic flights. Another advantage of booking flights early is that you always have the privilege of selecting the seat of your choice, for which you might have to shell out extra money if you wait too long.
Subscribe for airfare alerts:
Given your busy schedules, if you think you couldn’t check airfare frequently, the best thing to do is to sign up for airfare alerts from online travel agencies or directly from airlines. Several reputed flight booking companies like Indian Eagle offer you to set fare alerts for the desired destination. For example, if you are flying to India from the US and wish to receive fare alerts for a specific route, say from New York to Delhi, then you specify this route and Indian Eagle sends regular fare updates for the selected route to your inbox, thus helping you book cheap flights to India.
Consider booking an early morning flight:
It is not that you totally miss your chance of saving on airfare if you are not flexible with your travel dates. There are many other tricks too for booking cheap airline tickets, one of which is being flexible with flight departure time. What we mean is that booking early morning flights can help you save money as it is said that the morning flights are much cheaper than the flights that depart later in the day. Studies have shown that there is little chance of delay in the case of early-morning flights as air traffic is at its lowest in the wee hours. If you are more comfortable being a night owl than an early bird, go for red-eye flights, i.e., late-night flights. Save on airfare by choosing to fly during unpopular hours.
Which day you book flights is important too:
Although we cannot say for sure that this day or this time of the day is perfect for booking cheap airline tickets, we suggest you avoid booking flights on the weekend as prices tend to be higher during the weekend than during the weekdays. This is due to the obvious reason – people often make travel plans when it is a holiday season or when they get a break, i.e., a weekend. So, this high demand for flights during such times makes getting a good bargain less likely. This is also the reason why Tuesdays and Wednesdays (mid-week) are considered the cheapest days to book flights.
Be flexible with your destination:
As said, there are other ways to grab that cheapest flight even when you can’t be flexible with ‘when’ you fly. Being flexible with ‘where’ you fly is one of them. No, we are not suggesting that you change your travel plans, we are saying that being flexible with your origin or destination airport is a good way to save money. For example, let’s say you are looking for cheap flights to India, more specifically from New York to Mumbai. When searching for JFK-BOM flights, do check the airfare for EWR-BOM flights or LGA-BOM flights or JFK-PNQ flights as flying from/to these nearby/alternate airports can be cheaper sometimes. Indian Eagle always highlights such nearby airport deals when you search a specific route.
Consider booking connecting flights:
Coming to the flight route, there is one more tip to save on the amount you spend to reach your destination; and it is – booking connecting flights instead of direct flights. Connecting flights or flights with multiple stops prove to be cheaper than direct flights or one-stop flights. The downside of this is that you lose a lot of your time traveling. But if you have no issues with spending some extra hours traveling to save some extra pennies, then book connecting flights to your destination.
Book non-refundable tickets:
Refundable tickets are more expensive than non-refundable ones. So, it is a good idea to book non-refundable tickets if you are very sure of your upcoming travel, be it for business or vacation or emergency or any other purpose. Yes, refundable tickets are a bit more logical, but non-refundable tickets are a lot cheaper. Although it is not possible to get a refund on a canceled non-refundable ticket, you can apply its value to your future travel with a certain fee, depending upon the airline policy.
Check the airfare in other currencies:
Have you so far paid the airfare in the currency of the country you are flying from? The next time you search for cheap airline tickets, compare the price of your ticket in different currencies and choose the currency that is the cheapest. It happens that you get the flight tickets at a much cheaper rate when you follow this trick. So, select the country whose currency is weaker than your country’s and check the airfare. For example, when booking cheap flights to India from the US, paying in INR rather than US dollars helps you save money. But before doing so, ensure that this transaction doesn’t result in a ‘foreign transaction fee’ being levied on your credit card.
Join a frequent flier program:
Airlines offer special rewards to their customers as part of their loyalty programs and enrolling in these frequent flyer programs benefits you greatly if you prefer flying with the particular airline. You can use these miles or points you earned for each of your bookings for various purposes, such as booking discounted flights, flight upgrades, free hotel stays, free access to airport lounges, shopping deals, and more. You can also earn free flights to your favorite destination! Guess what, signing up for these programs is free. Isn’t it the most enticing deal for travelers?
Use the airline credit cards:
The above point makes it clear that more travel means more miles and more miles means more benefits. But do you know you can earn these miles/ reward points in other ways too? Yes, the answer is airline credit cards. There are sign-up bonuses, and you will earn miles/ points whenever you use these cards, not just for booking cheap airline tickets but also for using them for everyday expenses. Along with frequent-flyer miles, these airline credit cards come with various other perks, including free checked bags, priority boarding, seat selection, access to airport lounges, etc. The only condition to be fulfilled is that you have to book the flight ticket directly with the airline and pay for it using the airline credit card.