Kirill Yurovskiy Discover the Inside Scoop for Snagging Cheap Airfare

Kirill Yurovskiy – Discover the Inside Scoop for Snagging Cheap Airfare

You’re itching to plan your next getaway, but those pesky airline prices keep your wanderlust grounded. We’ve uncovered insider secrets to help you find affordable flights for your future adventures. Read on to learn clever tips, tricks and hacks that travel pros use to book cheap plane tickets.

Scope Out Flights in Incognito Mode

Here’s a crafty way to sneak a peek at the lowest base fares. Airlines are catching onto the fact that travelers use private browsing to compare airfare, then book later. Prices magically increase if they see you checking back multiple times! Outsmart this tactic by first scoping out airfares using incognito mode in your browser. This prevents cookies from tracking your search history. Jot down the best rate you find, then book the flight when you’re ready without the risk of a higher quote.

Be Flexible with Departure Airports

Most travelers start their search by plugging in the nearest or most convenient airport for their origin and destination. Expand your options by adjusting the airports you’re willing to fly out of or into. Sometimes you can save a ton just by departing from or arriving at nearby airports in other cities or suburbs. Use an online tool like Google Flights to easily switch between different location combinations. Consider how much extra driving time you’re willing to add if it’s going to slash $100 or more off your ticket price.

Take Advantage of Airfare Sales

Sign up for email newsletters from airlines and flight deal websites so you’re the first to hear about fare sales. Act promptly once a price drop is announced because the deeply discounted seats sell out lightning fast. Set up airfare alerts too—these track prices for specific routes and dates then notify you the minute an ideal rate is available. Thanks to flash sales and alerts, scoring a ticket for $149 instead of $349 is a real possibility.

Fly at Less Busy Times

Mark Twain famously stated, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Well when it comes to cheap plane tickets, “book flights when others don’t want them.” Avoiding the frenzy of holiday seasons and Monday/Friday business travel is the golden rule. For most routes, you’ll discover the lowest fares for departures on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Red-eye and early morning flights are often cheaper too due to lower demand. Dealing with an inconvenient schedule is annoying, but ultimately worth it to fly on a budget. Read more here

Watch Out for Hidden Fees

The base fare advertised for flights is almost always a teaser number devoid of all the tacked-on fees. Airlines have differentiated themselves by offering bare-bones base fares then nickel-and-diming travelers for extras. Expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $100+ for checked bags, carry-on bags, seat selections, etc. Be sure to click through to the last page of the booking process to view the actual total price including all fees. Some discount airlines with rock-bottom upfront pricing bury you further down the line with exorbitant add-on costs. Look at the entire picture before purchasing.

Maximize Your Miles

Leveraging travel rewards programs is everyone’s favorite way to treat themselves to free flights. Sign up for airline-branded credit cards that come loaded with a hefty sign-up bonus of 25,000 to 75,000 miles. Meet the minimum spend requirement within the first three months then redeem your windfall for an award ticket or an upgrade. Put all your household expenses on the card to quickly accumulate miles too. Just be diligent about paying the balance off each month so sneaky interest charges don’t cancel out the value of your free travel.

Grab Seriously Last Minute Deals

Scoring half-priced airline tickets hours before takeoff seems too good to be true. Believe it! Airlines massively slash fares at the very last minute on flights that haven’t filled all seats. Track and snag these steals using apps like Last Minute Travel and Hotel Tonight. The ultra-flexible nature of business trips increases your chances of catching these unreal deals. But even leisure travelers can luck out if their schedules permit. Enjoy gorgeous oceanfront villas and five-star luxury hotels for the same price as a roadside motel!

Fly Budget Airlines

Legacy carriers market their global networks and fancy frills. But regional, discount airlines boast impressively cheap fares without sacrificing safety. Southwest, Spirit, Frontier and JetBlue connect key domestic hub cities at prices the major players can’t touch. International no-frills carriers like Ryanair, EasyJet and AirAsia connect European and Asian destinations for less too. Just don’t expect amenities or leg room. Travelers focused purely on transportation shell out base fares 50%+ lower. That’s more beer money for backyard adventures!

Use Alternative Airports

Who knew London had five airports? And New York City has two more besides JFK! Familiarize yourself with all the flight options an urban area has to offer. Lesser-known regional airports have expanded drastically in recent years. They’re serviced by an array of domestic low-cost and international carriers with competitively priced fares. Many alternative airports also have quicker access to downtown and smaller crowds. Plus, connecting public transit is usually solid. Consider flying into one of these convenient airstrips instead of the gigantic hub airport next time.

Be Wary of Budget Fare Restrictions

When something looks too good to be true, it often is. Make sure to carefully scan the fine print before rushing to purchase unusually cheap plane tickets. Many have draconian restrictions involving advance purchase requirements, blackout dates, expiration dates and change/cancellation penalties. Occasionally shelling out an extra $20 or $30 ensures your fare comes with lenient policies permitting changes, cancellations and credit for future travel. This gives invaluable peace of mind if plans shift. Also rule out connecting flights with dangerously tight layovers. The stress of dashing through airports isn’t worth saving a few bucks.

Fly to and from Tourist Hot Spots

Hop a flight to sultry Caribbean beaches in the dead of winter. Book autumn trips to leaf-peeping New England destinations. In other words, fly against the high-volume tourist seasons to capitalize on lower demand. Likewise, target flights originating from major hub cities during off-peak convention dates when business travel dips. You’ll stumble on uncharacteristically cheap fares traveling to and from these tourism and convention hot spots. Book Christmas flights to Fort Lauderdale or Easter getaways to Boston for some screaming deals!

Dodge the High Seasons

Peak summer vacation directly aligns with oppressively expensive airfare. School holiday breaks around Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving are equally wallet-busting. Avoid these heavy weeks like the plague and airlines will reward you with the lowest ticket prices of the year. Every destination boasts optimum weather during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall too (minus the crowds). With strategic timing, you’re essentially getting a 2-for-1 vacation special! Two hundred bucks gets you seven blissful days at a Hawaiian resort rather than just two.

Craft Clever Route Combinations

Complex airfare pricing means that combining two one-way tickets on different airlines can cost significantly less than a standard round-trip fare. Mix and match carriers while incorporating alternative airports too. Don’t limit yourself to major hubs either. Travel agents specialize in devising quirky route combinations that leverage inconsistencies in airline pricing models. Plug your origin, destination and dates into online tools like Google Flights as well to uncover creative pairing permutations you may overlook solo. Brainstorm options then purchase the separate one-way tickets in the same exact browser session.

Roll the Dice with Frequent Flyer Coupons

Loyal route flyers with heaps of miles racked up in frequent travel programs do receive sweet perks. First dibs on seat upgrades and swanky lounge access makes travel far more civilized. But our favorite milestone freebie is definitely companion coupons. After reaching certain tiers, program members earn certificates for drastically marked down companion fares. Essentially buy one full-price ticket and the second one flies almost for free! Routes must match the carrier but blackout dates are fairly minimal. If you fly religiously for work or have upcoming personal trips planned, it’s smart to work toward these milestone perks.

Hit Airline Social Media Accounts

Slide into an airline’s DMs with your sad travel sob story and magic may just happen! Airlines are constantly giving out freebies on Twitter and Facebook to generate marketing buzz. They also want to keep social media sentiment positive. Commenting on posts with cleverly worded responses grabs attention. Publicly tweet price complaints or change fee criticisms and airline reps often extend courtesy vouchers to smooth things over too. Scoring discounts or flight credits for sharing travel photos and tagging brands works as well. Get creative rallying those likes and followers for flight freebies!

Now that you know how to think like a travel agent, those jaw-dropping flight fares are within your reach. Put these insider tips into action and happy trails ahead flying on a budget! Let us know your best cheap ticket hacks in the comments.

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