The prices of airline tickets vary and change in as little as an hour or a day. The cheap ticket or the discount seat you are hankering about might be gone by the time you call. Of course, there is a chance that tickets for the flight you want are cheaper when you call later. But experience had taught us that the first possibility is more likely. However, there are ways, or tricks to increase your chances of finding a good deal. Just keep the prices of your airline tickets to yourself because your plane neighbor is likely to murder you if he finds out that you only paid half of the amount he did.
Whether you intend to use the internet or travel agency, start your search early. By early, I don’t mean a week or an hour before. A month before your desired date is ideal to find better prices of airline tickets. Don’t buy just yet, just search. It’ll give you an idea of how much and when the rates are likely to fluctuate or inflate at later dates. Keep in mind that airline rates depend on three factors: competition, demand, and inventory. Depending on how their competition is holding up, your choice airline might lower or increase its rates. For example, if Northwest decides to give 10% discounts on airfare, it will not be long before American and United announce similar discounts or travel promos to lower Northwest’s competitive advantage. So start searching early and keep yourself updated about the changes in airline trends.
Do not give definite dates when you call the airline. Just ask for the lowest rates for your destination and say that your travel date and time are flexible. This is especially good if airfare price is more important than your dates like if you’re only considering a vacation or personal trip. It is easier to change travel dates than to pay for expensive airline tickets. To clue you in, winter is the cheapest season to fly except for the days before the Christmas holidays and Thanksgiving. If you can afford it, arrange for vacation trips during the winter. Another trick to save a lot on tickets is to adjust your flight schedules. Ask the airline for the late flights rather than peak hours. The two a.m. flights are generally half-priced compared to morning and mid-morning flights.
Don’t get too excited about discounts; most come with restrictions so research and ask before you purchase your airline tickets. Discounts only work for you if you purchase tickets within the restriction rules. These rules are easy like advance purchase or Saturday night reservation. Advance purchase requires you to buy your tickets a week or three in advance. This guarantees that you have discount seats. Stays or trips that include a Saturday night fall under excursion trips which are cheaper than business trips. Learn about discounts and restrictions so you can use them to your advantage. Also, get round trip tickets instead of using another airline for your return – they are priced the same.
If you’re old like senior citizen old, flaunt your age when buying airline tickets. There are air fare discounts which fall under the age category like senior citizen discounts. As a senior citizen, you are more likely to be given wider berth (read: more perks). Students can use Student Advantage to get discounts. For a hardworking professional, other alternatives are using an alternative airport and smaller airlines. You can save 50% on your ticket just for enduring a two-hour drive.
Lastly, buy airline tickets and use them at the appointed time. Cancellation of flights and rescheduling often have stiff penalties. The $100 you saved from your discounted ticket may not be enough to cover penalties. Enjoy your trip; after all, the cheap airline tickets you have are not really good deals if you did not enjoy.