Most of us fly to get to exotic locations. Here are some tips you could use to get better deals.
How to Buy Airline Tickets Online!
Online airline tickets are deeply discounted because the airlines sell about 7-100 seats on each flight to contracted online vendors. For example, Expedia.com may get 3 seat on United Flight 233 LAX to ORD and they buy the 3 for $100 each and resell them for $125.00 then sell the other seats like everyone else.
On a flight with 300 seats, the airlines have a set number of seats at a set price. This is called “A class of service.” The lowest class of service is the cheapest and sell first. These seats are also allotted to companies to buy in advance, as in the example above. A flight price could go something like this:
10 seats, Y class (Class of service) sell for $100 each
50 seats, X class sell for $110 each
75 seats, S class sell for $150 each
100 seats, C class sell for $300 each
And so on…
So if there are 5 of you traveling, you’re going to see $550 in your search price (5x$110). But if you buy 1, 2, or 3 tickets at a time you may get them for the $300 price (from another class – 3x$100), depending on how many are left on that site for that class. One of the main problems is that no one knows how many discount airline tickets are available at any given time. You have to take it from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 and you may find that that is all the airlines have sold in total! But, it’s still better than $300 per person for everyone.
Remember: most discount airline tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. You book that discounted airline ticket and you go! However, as of September 2003 some airlines began letting travelers use their tickets for future travel, provided that the discounted airline tickets “change fee” is paid for (around $100) and changed BEFORE the scheduled departure date on the original ticket that was purchased.
Regarding last minute travel and discount airline tickets: The highest price tickets are 14 days before travel. Try to find the discount seats discussed above, if there are any seats left to buy the original discount.
Get the Cheapest Flights with These Tips
Now that you know how the system works, you can combine it with some other advice on how to book discount airline tickets. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your vacation and flights. Here are some Citynet Magazine tips for you:
When to Buy
Although there have been some people saying this isn’t completely accurate, it is commonly believed that the major plane ticket search engines (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, and so on) release their new prices on Wednesdays. So when you buy plane tickets online, you can get the best deals on Wednesday from midnight to around 5am. The CitynetMagazine rule here would be that, well, hey , you have nothing to lose by trying! On the other hand, if it’s getting close to your deadline and you find a really good deal, just take it and don’t wait to see what comes up. There’s never a guarantee that a flight will be discounted just because it’s Wednesday. Also, as technology changes, it’s likely that airline ticket pricing and sales methods will change along with it so the “Wednesday rule” is probably/possibly a thing of the past, if it was ever true.
Time of Year
Consider the time of year. Summer is high season and you’ll find some of the highest rates in June and July. Another peak travel period is winter holiday time between Christmas and New Years. If you’re looking for discount airline tickets during these times, it will be tough. If you fly mid-January to the end of February, April through May, mid-September to mid-December, you should be able to buy your airline tickets at a discount. Less people are flying during those times and so the rates are better.
If you are more flexible with the dates you choose, you are more likely to get a better rate. For example, if you can fly on January 4th instead of January 2nd, you could benefit from a lower fare. Avoiding holidays altogether is best. Also, the earlier in advance that you book, the more you can save. Even 2 weeks of notice can save you money.
Flying on Major Holidays
You can get a bigger discount on airline tickets by flying on the day of a major holiday. For example, the price for flying on Christmas Day (December 25) will be cheaper because everyone wants to be at their destination by then. In fact, if you do fly on that day, you’ll have almost the entire plane to yourself in many cases.
Netfares are deals offered by airlines that are only available if you book with their online system. That saves their customer service people time and easily ensures a booked seat.
Most people buy return tickets but in case you want a one-way plane ticket, make sure you check the return rate. Traveling both ways can actually be cheaper (even if you only use half the ticket)!
Weekends Versus Weekday Flights
Weekends are usually more expensive than weekdays. That’s because most people have short trips over the weekend. There use to be a system where staying over an a Saturday night would get you a better discount but that’s not true anymore.
If you are looking online for discount airline tickets, be sure to check out several websites. Different airline ticket websites offer a range of prices and all have their own policies and approaches. You should also consider speaking to a travel agent who may be able to get you an equally good deal.
You may be able to get a better discount if you purchase a package deal. For example, if you fly to Los Angeles and book a hotel room, rent a car, and have your flight included, you are more likely to get a good deal.
Many online airfare ticket brokers have an automated system where you choose a destination and price and they will email you every time that price is offered. Sign up with these!
Try to fly on the same airline each time you travel. That way you can build up frequent flyer points and miles which you can redeem for free airline tickets. If you are planning to fly very far (such as from New York to Sydney Australia) you will get so many points that you may even qualify for a short flight within the US (such as New York City to Boston). Make sure you are using those frequent flyer benefits!
Types of Discount Airline Tickets
While most people can use the above ticket buying tips, some people even qualify for especially cheap airline rates. For example, military discount airline tickets are available to qualified personnel and students frequently get an added discount. Whether you are flying to Hawaii, Latin America, or Hong Kong, you can use these tips to get a cheaper flight. In fact, these tips will be even more powerful and helpful towards getting deep discount airline tickets by simply traveling to Boston, New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles! One last point about buying plane tickets at cheaper prices is that some airlines give you better rates if you book online versus calling them or getting tickets through your travel agent.
While it may be more difficult to get discount international airline tickets, you can find deals online. On the other hand, American airlines such Delta, United airlines, and well, American Airlines, tend to offer exceptionally great deals for people traveling within the continental United States.
How to Get Free Plane Tickets
Believe it or not, there is a way! We have expanded this section into its own article How to get free airline tickets so check it out and good luck!
This article was written with some input from contributor Lola San Francisco.