With today’s sluggish economy, tourism is down around the globe, and while airlines have cut fees and costs to fill some seats, in general flying with the major airlines is still expensive. These four tips to find cheap flights can help families on a budget save some of their hard earned travel funds, but to do it, the key word is flexibility.
Flexible Dates and Times
Prices for airline tickets vary depending on the day of week you fly. If you fly in the middle of the week instead of the weekend, you can save money. Another way to save is to fly after a major holiday rather than before.
Book your trip during the shoulder season. This includes dates on either side of the busy or high season. Booking a flight early in the morning or late at night is another way to save. Do your homework and check different combinations of days and time to find cheap flights and book the best deal.
Most major cities have a secondary airport. These smaller airports are where most of the low-cost airlines fly into. Choosing to fly into a smaller airport can save you money on your airfare which includes landing fees. That’s right, airports actually charge a fee for landing, and smaller airports charge less. For example, instead of flying into Chicago O’Hare, you can fly into Midway. If you’ll be visiting northern Illinois, you may even consider flying into Milwaukee.
What airline you fly on can make a difference in what you pay. In this era of extra fees, pay attention to all the additional fees charged. We have booking fees, baggage fees, and all kinds of optional service fares.
In the United States we have only a few “budget” airlines. In Europe, there’s more competition and prices are lower. Fly the budget airlines when you can to save money, but if you do, figure in transportation at the other end when you get off the plane. Sometimes the cost of ground transportation can negate the money saved.
With the advent of baggage fees, many airlines charge if you check more than one bag. Find out what this will cost before you book your flight. Airfarewatchdog.com provides a chart for fees charged by U.S. airlines. It also includes fees for oversize and overweight baggage, too.
Learning to pack less is another way to save. Be aware of baggage policy for the airline you plan to fly on. You don’t want to be caught off guard and forced to pay fees you hadn’t expected.