If you are looking to get the best price on airline tickets, it takes more than going to an online comparison site. One area that can help bring down the price you pay is the flexibility you have when making the reservations. Here are some things to consider when trying to get the best deal on an airline ticket.
Departure times: Choosing an early morning or late at night “red eye” can decrease the cost of your ticket.
Departure Days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are usually the cheapest days to fly and many comparison sites will let you factor in a few day window into the search. Just be sure to remember a better deal on the flight isn’t saving you money if you have to pay for an extra night hotel room and an extra day of car rental.
Booking windows: Airlines use 21 days, 14 days and 7 days in advance booking windows with prices increasing the closure to the departure date.
Alternate airports: Smaller airports on the outskirts of cities often are less expensive to fly into and out of than the main airport. Just make sure that the money saved on the ticket is enough to justify any extra costs in getting to the smaller airport.
Time: If you’re willing to do stop overs and not take a direct flight, you can often save money, but you should calculate what your time is worth to determine whether or not the savings on the ticket is worth it.
Once you have determined how flexible you can be, you can check the following places to find the best price.
Airline web sites: The next step once you have found the best deal from the main comparison sites and the aggregators is to visit that airline’s web site directly. You can often find the same ticket on the airline’s site at a cheaper price since they do not charge a booking fee.
Discount airlines: Some of the discount airlines run website only promotions or may not be listed, so it’s worthwhile to visit their sites directly to see if they have a better deal: Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and Skybus
Travel agent: Once you have found what you believe to be the best ticket price, contact a travel agent to see if you can get a better price. Sometimes they come up with a travel plan that works that you never considered.
Travel packages: If you are also going to need a hotel and rental car, consider travel packages as they can be less expensive than reserving each individually.
Taking the above into account will help you get a good price on your next airline ticket.