Let’s start with some very good news – there are plenty of tried and tested methods to save you money on airfare, with bigger savings to be found at specific time slots and dates. Patience is required as the research process can be time consuming as you scour the internet to source the best deals around. If you are flexible on both dates and destination, then big savings are in store. Follow our suggested hacks to find the cheapest flights online!
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5 Search Hacks To Find The Cheapest Flights Online
1. Compare and find the cheapest flights available
There’s a lot of behind the scenes action between OTAs (online travel agents), such as Skyscanner and Opodo, and the airline itself. OTAs act as a middle man ‘shopfront,’ often selling flights cheaper than the airline in a move as a ‘loss leader’ or through making extra money by providing other services as insurance, car, hotels etc. OTAs often have strong bargaining power with airlines as they have the potential to reach a wider base of customers.
From personal experience, Skyscanner (Read our Skyscanner review) is my favorite booking system given its functionality and design, but it’s also worth exploring other OTAs for price comparisons including:
- Google flights
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2. Use Skiplagged
Skiplagged acts as a booking system for securing tickets like any regular OTA, but offers enhanced benefits too. According to the company: “Our goal is to empower consumers to use their buying power however they please. We exist to just find the best prices for you”.
As an example, the above illustrates how you can save $120 by booking a flight to Dallas with a stopover in Orlando. The system works by ‘exposing loopholes’ in flight bookings with a fast working algorithm, showing flights airlines would prefer remain unseen by consumers, usually with a stopover, thereby saving you money. Through this method of booking, travelers can find a cheaper flight with a stopover in their destination of choice, and not use the second flight.
It’s not recommended to use this method every time, but for specific flights, it’s an effective way of saving on the ticket cost.
3. Market place for re-selling of non-refundable tickets
Let’s say you have a non-refundable air-ticket for which you paid over $500 – and you can’t use the ticket – what are you options? Thanks to websites such as transfertravel.com and sparefare.net, you can re-sell your ticket. The step by step process is also very simple through both companies easy to follow guidelines. If the ticket sells, you get your money back, minus a market place commission.
Here are some examples of cheap ticket options:
Usually the closer you are to the flight date, the ticket price increases, so from the perspective of the buyer, these marketplaces are a great option for finding the cheapest flights, especially last minute. The more flexible you are on dates and the destination, the more money you can save.
4. Flexibility on dates – Skyscanner Flights and Google Flights
As mentioned above, flexibility on travel times will help reduce the cost of flights. Due to the yield management system of the airline, they often raise the price when demand is high and offer more attractive prices when demand is low. Sometimes even a one day difference can save you over $500, as per the following examples from Google Flights and Skyscanner.
5. Incognito and mobile vs Google Chrome and desktop
When using Google Chrome, online movements are being tracked and you are exposed to Google ads and marketing. Internet privacy companies such as DuckDuckGo and Incognito have been known in some cases to help consumers source cheaper prices than Chrome. Having tried this myself, I found the same price on both. However, I also tried desktop vs mobile and found the price on the same flight to be cheaper on desktop.
Source: Opodo – Book your flights from the desktop
The bottom line? There are many ways to reduce the cost and save money on your next flight. With some research, time and our suggested hacks, you will be on your way to uncovering the best airfare deals on the internet.