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Discount Airline Tickets

How to book airline travel online without pulling your hair out! Tips for buying discount airline tickets online and getting free plane tickets.

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.

Date Flexibility

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.

Package Deals

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!

Discount Airline Ticket Info
If you want to buy discount airline tickets, this online article should help. Other than that, for good deals check out the other CitynetMagazine travel articles.

This article was written with some input from contributor Lola San Francisco.

30 Comments

  1. jan |

    i need soo much free tickets for me and my friends ..because we are from poland and we dont have a money…. i believe that it could be happened…

  2. Alex Lim |

    The simple answer is that there is no one best search engine, rather, it depends on where you’re going and when you can go and your flexibility in both of these. You’ll find the cheapest airline ticket when you’re flexible about your dates and about your destination.

  3. irma clough |

    Hello there, my husband has a friend dying in San Antonio, his friends parents and family raised him as a child and he wants to be there for his funeral. We live in Colorado. We have no money. Can you help?

  4. irma clough |

    Hello again, just to let you know out there, we are both hard working folks with kids and just paid bills, we are trying to raise money for a cheap ticket but if there is a way to get a ticket voucher and not waste it we would be thankful to have it. Thanks.

  5. Valerie |

    I need 2 cheap airline tickets on Aug 7-Aug 9th, leaving from myrtle beach, SC to Laguardia, NyC.. Pls help… I needs something around 100 per person..

  6. kayla delgado |

    Hello my name is kayla delgado. Trying to make a move to maine I spent almost a month looking for plain tickets to do so I just pray to god that there is someone out there that will be able to help me. I’m 5 in a helf mounth pregnet and a 3 year old and also a 1 yaer old. Ya that’s just frosting on the cake. Well let get down to it. If there’s anyone out there that can open there heart to mii please contact. Me god bless.

  7. Roshan |

    Hey can you help me plz. Matter is my best friend studing in singapore.i’m at sri lanka. I like to meet my best friend. just he got vacation but in this movent i dont have much money so i need yo help.

  8. Usman Ramzan |

    Thanks! The above article is really informative and after spending countless hours on the internet, I would like to share my findings. There are a few websites with the lowest fare for Africa. These have the best prices!

  9. fred lazar |

    I need 4-cheap tickets to phoenix AZ for chrisms on 20/12l09 to sprays my family so thay can visit there cozens and to attend there cozen weeding party . please Email me ASAP thank you. god bless

  10. lekon |

    am in nigerian i need a cheap ticket down to California it will cost me how much to get a ticket over there let me know

  11. Jeannie |

    I need a round trip ticket to New York (Manhattan) for February 26th-28th, 2010 in order to attend an interview for a Fellowship I have been accepted for. I cannot afford the air fare. Can you help?

  12. NicoleEvans |

    I am trying to get to my sisters bacheloret party on friday, I have put it off thinking i was going to get a tax refund, but since Mr. Man decided to fly a plane into the building in Austin I am not going to get it for 2-3 weeks. Can you help? Leaving Friday Feb 25th coming back Mid-late Sunday 27th…I see everyone else asking LOL maybe you are magic or something! AUS to PHX

    Nicole

  13. Bob |

    hello,
    my name is jamie and i deserve all good things in life. i need cheap tickets, but am not sure where I am going yet.
    Could you please please please find me some cheat tickets?

    I see all these other posts and don’t see why I should work in life to earn a living. It seems, I can have things handed to be.

    God bless.

  14. Elaine |

    My sister lives in Rupert Idaho, I live in Richmond Virginia. My sister is might be dying from cancer she needs me to be there to care for her. She is only 48 and has no one to help her in this time of Illness. I have very little money and no way to get there Can you help me please.
    Thank you

  15. JEAN PAUL |

    I am in south africa, in need of visiting china, i want to get a free airticket from cape town to Gwangzhou china.

  16. Pat |

    I’m looking for two Cheap tks to Montigo Bay Jul 9 to 17, where can I get them? Also bidding on airline tks wise? If so, where do I look?

  17. jodie |

    Hi, i have a group of 18 people that needs tickets from LAX to Seattle. We have ot be at Seattle to catch a cruise at 12PM. Is there a place to get group discounts or lot tickets for cheap price?

  18. Gilbert |

    Some body can help me with my air line tickets from Israel to Colombia, we are a couple with two kids 9 and 8 years old. Thank you very much and Yahueh bless you

  19. lucci steve |

    if my wife book for my flight ticket in usa and im in london..is there any implication for that?

  20. lucci steve |

    is it possible for someone to book for my flight ticket from usa while im in london..is there any implication and exeption to it?

  21. judith cruz |

    Hi ,i need some help i have an important buisness trip and i need my buisness partners to go but they dont have 400 dollars for a plane ticket can some one help me get really cheap tickets leaving la to d.c on the eigth of july and coming back on the 11

  22. shawn lyle |

    I need to get to phoenix ar. live in Anchorage Ak. on or around the 3 or 4 of Nov. and back by the 10 give or take a day or 2. I need at least 3 tickets and want to get them very cheap or free. how do i get free or cheap tickets under 450 at least including taxes. thanks shawn

  23. Alfana |

    Good morning,
    I am presently surprised to tumble upon this awesome website for I have been seeking 2 airline tickets for my Godparents to travel all the way from Fiji Islands in the South Pacific Ocean to South Korea. Before I was accepted as a student in Korea, they mentioned about Yoido Full Gospel Church in Korea in one of our prayer meetings, famous for its sheer size and the compelling sermons of the church’s founder Pastor Yonggi Cho. Now I am here in Korea and have already visited the church without disappointment, as anticipated. But it is my Godparents who, I feel, should come and experience Korea, the church and many more happenings here. My Godfather is retired while my Godmother continues to strive to make ends meet. It would be a much deserved break for both of them. It is my dream that they make their dreams come true. I really love them. God Bless them.

  24. Alex stewart |

    I’m trying so hard to find 2 tickets to miami Florida leaving from buffalo on Jan 23 2010 and
    returning Jan 30. Getting there isn’t the problem it’s coming back. The price almost triples any suggestions or help in finding cheap return tickets would be greatly appreciated.

  25. Darren |

    Nice blog with vast information. I used to get details from another site as their website contained updated information on cheap travel but now I will also be visiting citynetmagazine.com

  26. Samantha |

    The closer to the date you want to fly, the more einepsxve tickets usually get. At a minimum, try to purchase them AT LEAST 3 weeks in advance for the best price. If seats are advertised at X’ low price, those aren’t all the seats, only a percentage. When those are gone, the others are higher priced, so buy your tickets as far in advance as possible. Generally speaking, tickets are also cheaper for travel on tuesday, wednesday and thursday and also not within 7 days on either side of any major holiday.

  27. Deb |

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!

  28. My grandmother died yesterday 11/14/2013 im on disability she was 97 and has a 1 hour service waiting for my father to call for date of service I dont know if you have discounted tickets for this situation. I couldnt make my grandfathers furunal. And regretted every day since.That was 1989 so if you have somekind of program im embasrest to ask.never asked for anything.

  29. Richard hart |

    Hello,I am disability deaf and want to know about discount or free for round trip cause too much of $ and so I need help..thanks Richard

  30. Richard hart |

    Hello,i am deaf disability and really
    Need help cause of too expensive to buy ticket for airport and i had ssdi of $771.00 and i try to get discount fare ticket which i can afford like less than $350.00 by round trip from tampa,fl to minot,nd and that all as i need.. Thanks..

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