Home >> Write >> Travel >> Flights >> Cheap Flights >> Seat Sales
You know you want to fly somewhere but you're not sure if you can afford it. As of now you can't possibly afford to go anywhere really interesting if your are forced to pay full price. So you decide to look at other options. Low cost airlines come to mind as well as seat sales on the regular airlines. Unfortunately you are all out of frequent flyer miles, and you need to get something booked as soon as possible.
You hit the streets, both cyber and otherwise and you start looking for the best deals. You find that it's a little harder than you think. Here are a few reasons why, even in our information technology economy you are still having a hard time finding a cheap flight.
Different searches will reveal different prices for different airlines at different times. This can be really frustrating because you don't want to buy a ticket and only have the price reduced next time you refresh the web page. There is nothing you can really do about this, the sites update almost randomly. You just have to do your best.
Also, each web site uses different technology to search for cheap flights, that's why the companies are different. My advice is to start with a practice flight. Don't actually purchase anything, just constantly check the prices and see which one tends to have the best deals to the places you want to go.
Day You Are Traveling
The basic rules of supply and demand are just as prominent with airlines as they are with any other business. So, because most people like to start their vacations on the weekend, the flights are always more expensive then. What you should do is try and schedule a flight for the middle of the week. Even if you lose some time at work, you might more then make up that money with a cheaper flight.
Discounts and Seat Sales
These two factors can have a huge impact on how much you pay for your flight. You might notice that one company will drastically reduce the price of a flight. Chances are another airline will notice this and drop their prices as well. They may even drop them lower. Of course, if they are dropped too low, no one will follow suit. I would suggest that after a seat sale, make sure you keep tabs on availability and wait to see if any other airline can trump them.
This has happened to some friends of mine. They were in line waiting for a plane ticket that they though was a massive discount. However, as they waited with the price quote in hand the cost of the fare changed. By the time they were ready to pay, the price had gone back up. This is a hard lesson to learn and it takes away some of the strategy of waiting for another airline to offer a better deal.
Some airlines will offer a seat sale to attract people to their flights, but there are a limited number of for sale seats on the flight. This means that you'll try and buy the ticket and the available cheap seats are all gone. But don't fear. These seats are usually distributed based on demand. This means that if not enough people are willing to buy regular price tickets the airline might open up more seats on sale. So don't lose hope.
Okay…now that you know that things can be tough you need a battle plan. You can get a cheap flight but it takes hard work and a bit of luck. But always take comfort in the fact that you are consumer and there is a lots of competition and all the airlines want your butt in their seats and they will go to extreme lengths to put it there.
The following are some tips that can help you get the most out of your search and ultimately send you flying to your destination of choice with enough cash left over to actually have a good time.
Early Bird Gets The Worm
Once you have decided where to go, you need to get on that search as fast as possible. One golden rule of getting cheap flights is that the earlier to reserve your flight the better deal you will get. Sure you might not get the dream price but you will surely get a better price then if you have to buy the ticket at the last minute.
Point A to Point B Is Not Always Best
You know where you want to go and you want to get there cheaply. Well if you are really looking for a cheap flight then chances are you have more time then money so a flight that takes five extra hours, but haves you $100 is well worth it. That's like getting paid $20 an hour for being patient. It's a good wage.
Also, you might think about mixing up your travel. For instance, a flight into Istanbul will be much cheaper than a flight into Bulgaria. So, you can fly into Istanbul and then take a train to Sophia. This might take an extra day, but you could save close to $400 dollars. Plus you get a lovely train ride through the Balkans.
Be Flexible About Your Dates
If you are willing to sacrifice a day, or spend an extra day in your destination you might also save a lot of money on your flight. It's always best to look at savings in terms of how much you would make if you were working at your job. If that extra day will cost you several hundred dollars, the extra day might not be worth it.
Also, the time you fly can have a big effect on the price. You can save some money by taking what they call the 'red eye'. This is an over night flight that is usually less than desirable. And it may even work in your favor if you are traveling through different time zones.
Airlines Are Desperate
They want you on their planes. Most airlines take a loss on a surprising amount of flights. They have to keep running them to keep their reputation. This means that every person they have on those flights is preventing the hemorrhaging of money. This can work in your favor, in what they call flying standby. If you are willing to jump for the next flight at any moment you can wait at the airport and if there us a cancellation you can purchase that seat at a massive discount. You have to be a pretty hardcore traveler for that.
Also, if you are one of these intrepid travelers you can always just hang out at the airport and wait until a cheap flight comes along. If you don't care where you go this can be a huge adventure. Just think about it, you'll be America one day and some random country the next. This is traveling in its truest form.
If you are a senior citizen, a student or if you have a small child you might be able to get a better deal on a flight out of that. Some airlines offer student discounts and all airlines offer some sort of seniors discount. But the trick is they often won't just automatically offer you the discounted price. You have to ask for it. So no matter what ask the ticket seller if they have any deals like that. It could have you up to 20% on your flight.
We have covered these in another section, but it is still worth looking at. You can really save some big bucks by checking out these low fare pioneers. Obviously your comfort won't be their highest priority but really, you are cheap and you'll take what you can get. The golden rule of early reservations applies twofold with the discount airlines.
If you fly more than twice a year, the discounts you get with a travel club membership can pay for themselves. It also pays in the long run to see how many frequent flyer miles you'll get from your flight. It might change your decision.
In recent years these companies have gotten bad rep. Not from their poor prices, but rather from going out of business and leaving people stranded with useless tickets. These companies buy tickets in bulk from the airlines, then rely on their marketing (usually in newspapers) and make their money selling them at a slight mark-up…usually less then the mark-up the airlines employ.
Just make sure that your ticket consolidator has been in business for a while. You can even consult the better business bureau in your area. They should be able to give you lowdown on the consolidator.