It pays to plan ahead. The closer you are to your traveling day the more you pay. Why? Because a while back some smart guys and gals at an airline figured out that business travelers tend to schedule meetings at the last minute and have the least flexibility. So while the airlines stick it to the business folk, a well-organized vacationer can take advantage. To find the best fares for you, search for your trip on KAYAK and complete your booking 21 days or more in advance; for next best try for 14 or more. You still here? What are you waiting for?
However, looking at three years’ worth of data (2015-2017), we found that travellers who bought their tickets on a Saturday paid on average 5% more than those who went online to make their purchase on a Monday. On a £500 flight, that’s £25. While it might not make a huge difference for the cheapest fares (after all, how much lower can a £9.99 flight go?), for group trips or pricey flights, it could be worth the wait.
Choose a suitable price. There is much debate as to how much a scalper should charge for an upmarked event ticket. Ultimately, it depends on the original price, quality of seat, and predicted demand for the ticket in question. Generally speaking, if a show has sold out, it becomes a seller's market. Many professional scalpers tend to upmark resold tickets by 50%.
In a world filled with more options than ever, it's your job as a consumer to stay informed. Luckily, the businesses that want you to choose them have made it easier than ever to stay up to date. Whether you have a trip coming up soon, or simply know that you'll be planning a vacation sometime next year, take some time to prepare. When the time comes, you'll have all the information you need to get the best deal.
This one's simple on the surface: Use points. It's the earning of those points that can seem complicated and overwhelming. While our best advice is to pick an airline and stick with it, as best you can, finding the perfect frequent flier program requires a little researching, and asking yourself three questions. How easy is it to earn points? (The quicker you earn, the quicker you can spend.) Where do this airline fly? (You want access to places you actually want to go.) And how easy it is to spend your points? (There's no need to complicate this.) While there's no one-size-fits-all airline rewards program, we have a few U.S.-based favorites:
If you don't want to put in the leg work, you can let the deals come to you. Condé Nast Traveler shares many of the best flight deals on social media, but for those even more obsessed, it's hard to beat the convenience of flight deal blogs like Scott's Cheap Flights, Airfarewatchdog, SecretFlying, and TheFlightDeal, which are constantly posting deals from around the world. Follow them on social media or sign up for their newsletters.
Let's say you've done your best to find the lowest fare, and then the day after purchase your non-refundable fare goes down $100. Sure, if you ask for it you can get a refund for the difference, but it's a little-known fact that some airlines will charge you a "service" or "administrative" fee as high as $100 for domestic fares or from $200-$300 on international ones, wiping out any savings. United, however, will give you the entire fare difference without extracting a fee, as will U.S. Airways (which prominently displays this policy on its site) and JetBlue as long as you accept the reimbursement in the form of a voucher good for future travel. Northwest charges just $25, for both domestic and international fares. American and Delta extract the $100-$300 fees; Southwest gives you a credit for a future flight without charging a fee. Even on these less generous airlines, however, we've heard of plenty of instances where a polite entreaty will get you a full fare difference refund without the penalties, so it's worth try.
Thank you for choosing. When low cost carriers like JetBlue or Easyjet simplified their pricing structure to offer lower prices more often, it wasn't long before everyone was doing it. But not every airline's price structure works in the same way. That's why we compare so many airlines across hundreds of travel sites to get you the best price. You could say we have a flair for finding the cheapest fare (but maybe not for poetry).
A. The sweet spot is between 6 weeks and 3 months prior to your flight for domestic flights, 2 months to 4 months for Caribbean destinations, and 4 to 5 months for Europe. Any farther before and the airlines haven’t started to actively manage fares on the route. The pricing is still on auto-pilot, if you will. Any closer to your flight than these ranges and most cheap seats will be sold out. Within 2 or 3 weeks of a flight airlines assume you’re a business traveler (or a desperate one) that will pay whatever the fare is.
Using software called “bots” and inside information from industry contacts, some brokers quickly vacuum up tickets from primary sellers such as Ticketmaster, then add in a huge markup and quickly list them on resale platforms including StubHub and TicketsNow. At a U2 concert referenced in the Schneiderman report, a single broker scooped up 1,012 tickets to a Madison Square Garden show in a minute (despite the four-ticket limit), and sold them for more than triple face value.
If your bag is delayed, not lost, airlines will try to placate you with $25 or $50 each day. But the DOT says that’s not enough to salvage a wedding, a ski trip, or an important business trip. These companies can owe you up to $3,500 in liability for a domestic US trip, so long as you've got receipts -- you’ve gotta prove to the airline the relative value of what you had in the bag, and why you needed it before the luggage could be delivered. That’s not to say this isn’t your big chance to upgrade your suit collection. It’s just that if there wasn’t an event you needed the suit for before your bag showed up, you might not get full reimbursement.
If it's happened to you, contact the airline or booking site straight away to see if you can get it amended (see How to Complain for help). Let them know it's a known fault others have reported too. Yet sadly you've few rights if the airline refuses to correct it, as it'd be difficult to prove it's their error, and it may charge you fees to amend or cancel.
This tip is so widely and regularly recommended by travel experts, and even travel agencies, that it's a wonder it is not universally followed. One should never stop their search for an airfare after consulting a single online travel agency. Instead, multiple agencies should be searched at the same time, using the same dates and conditions, and cross-referenced. Shoppers using a search engine that helps you do that, like Kayak, should add at least one online travel agency that is outside of that engine's purview. The online travel agencies buy their tickets from wholesale consolidators for the most part, and casting the net widely ensures getting the offerings of as many of those consolidators as possible into the catch.
So let’s go back to the San Francisco Giants. If they have an experimental section and they drop the price, why would I buy a ticket in the next section over that’s at a much higher price? So if I were going to buy that ticket, I would say, well, gee, I can save $10 by going to the experimental section. Why not? So my hunch is that there was a lot of cannibalization going on, and that 20% figure really didn’t represent new revenue, getting people price sensitive, in the door. My hunch is that the majority of this increased 20% came from people who would have actually paid a higher price. That’s a negative of dynamic pricing that I don’t think has been satisfactorily accounted for.
“When traveling abroad, I usually fly out of a different airport than my ‘home’ one. I live in Indianapolis, but I’ve discovered that flights to Asia and Europe are way less expensive from Chicago. It's about a three-hour drive, but I save almost $2,000 by flying out of Chicago, instead.” —Lori LeRoy, 45, a travel blogger who takes at least six trips a year
Think flexibly about airports and dates. If you are flying into a city with several airports, select either "all airports" or simply the city name ("LON" for London) rather than a specific airport name ("LHR" for London Heathrow). If offered, select "include nearby airports" — doing so will return more flight options (for example, Pisa for Florence or Bratislava for Vienna). Choosing "flexible dates" lets you see what you might save by flying a few days before or after your ideal time frame.
Best time to buy: Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST. If you don't find the discounts you're looking for in the early morning, a study by FareCompare.com says the best time to buy airline tickets and shop for travel (domestically) is on Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST. However, George Hobica, travel expert and journalist, argues that the best deals vary frequently, so there's not one specific day or time of the week to buy.