How to Get Cheaper Flights
During the last few years of travel, I have noticed that the biggest savings you can find when planning your trip are usually from finding cheaper flights. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting lesser quality flight, it just means you can get to where you are going for cheaper, you just need to shop around a little with a few specific techniques to find a better, cheaper price!
There are so many Airline companies out there now that it is silly not to shop around a little before choosing the right flight. Here are 4 big tips and tricks that I personally use that will show you how to get cheaper flights all around the world.
How to get cheaper flights – Tip #1. The search cookie
First of all when searching for a flight on the internet, what you might not know is that you are creating a cookie. What a cookie does is tracks information like what you are looking for and stores it for further marketing purposes. So for example when you look for a backpack on say Amazon or Ebay, then you look around on another website on the internet and notice that in their sidebar, the same backpack you were looking at earlier randomly appears! No, no ones stalking you, it’s just because it uses the information from the cookie earlier on and re-markets what you were searching back to you in hope you will buy it.
So why did I tell you all this? Because Airlines use tracking cookies to increase the price of flights every few times you look up the same flight. So for example if you didn’t buy the airfare the first time around, shopped around a bit but realised that first airfare was a better deal, the airline company will actually know you’re back because of this cookie and they will increase the price a little. This will usually create a sense of urgency to book the airfare now incase it goes up again, hence making them a sale.
Solution 1. If you are using Google Chrome, on the right hand side of your address bar, there is an icon with 3 horizontal lines. Click that and on the drop down menu choose “New Incognito Window” and what that is, is a fresh browser with no cookies attached to it.
Solution 2. If you want to clear all that browsing data (which may lead to retyping in passwords, websites, etc) once again click on that icon with the 3 horizontal lines, hover over the button “More Tools” in the drop down menu and click on “Clear Browsing Data”. This will bring up a new tab and ask you what you want to delete, I’d suggest just leave what is already checked then click “Clear Browsing Data”. Then a few seconds later, Wallah! All browsing history is gone.
How to get cheaper flights – Tip #2. Compare your found fare
What I mean by that is go to all the major groups of flight fare compare companies like Skyscanner, Momondo, Farecompare, etc (full list below) and do the same search for each one. The reason for this is that each compare company usually stays true to a few clients meaning they don’t actually search all the flight companies in the world, instead they promote only a few to drive up their affiliate commissions for sales.
How to get cheaper flights – Tip #3. Cross examine your final outcome
This tip is more like a lucky charm, it sometimes works and when it does, its magical. So let’s say you’ve been looking at a fair but been procrastinating actually getting it, when suddenly it goes up! You’ve cleared your cookies, tried an Incognito Browser but nothing works. Try this last trick I found. So on your fare compare company, you will see the actual flight company you will be flying with. What you should now do is go to that flight companies own website and do the exact search for your itinerary. You may be lucky and get it at the original fare you found and this is because they allocate fares for compare companies and their allocation might have just run out. It doesn’t always work, but may save you a few hundred dollars!!
This also works in reverse, if you are booking directly with a flight company and the fare goes up, check the fare compare companies as their allocation might not have been exhausted yet and numbers might not have changed.
How to get cheaper flights – Tip #4. The DIY approach (a little more complicated)
This tip involves a little more time and it can end up messy if you don’t watch what you input correctly. So lets say you are going for a longer flight and you have a lay-over then board a different plane, about 50% of the time the airlines once again use partnered airline companies meaning they will be flying on behalf of the other company (eg: Qantas via. Air New Zealand, Delta via. American Airlines, etc) they share their schedules to try gather more travellers routes thus making more sales.
Now for the sneaky part. For an example, let’s say my return flight is from Auckland, New Zealand to Kochi, India with a layover in Singapore. What I would then do is search for seperate flights, first Auckland to Singapore return, then Singapore to Kochi return. What this does is allow more flight companies to be apart of the search which could bring you cheaper fares.
I have done this many times, it does take up a little more time and making sure you have minimum 3 hours in between flights can cause a head ache but i’ve successfully saved over $1000 in just one return flight doing it this way. If you are feeling confident, give it a go and just triple check everything before you commit to it!
(that feeling when you save a bunch of money on flights)
My recommended ‘Fare Compare’ companies
Skyscanner has always been my first option for choosing a flight. Not only do I personally think they search the most flight companies in the industry, they also have an awesome app for iphone and android that has an “Everywhere” section when choosing a destination. This brings up all the cheapest flights anywhere in the world for a specific date. If you’ve ever wanted to do one of those spontaneous flight bookings where you don’t know where you’re going but you’ll take it sort of things, this is for you!
Monondo come in at second place. If Skyscanner is looking very promising but you want to cross compare it, this is your next place to search. It also has a huge company list it searches through and has actually brought up better prices that Skyscanner in occasions but it lacks a little in user experience. I feel Skyscanner just flows a lot nicer, very easy to use.
Lastly I would look on Expedia for flight comparison. I have booked many flights through Expedia and will continue to use them as they are a great search engine. Just be aware, the default will always put the currency in American Dollars so if you are someone like myself from another country, you think you are getting the deal of the century some times and when you pay you have a heart attack!
These are methods I have randomly stumbled upon and found to work over time, not saying they will always work but you have a good shot at finding a better deal. Once again, always double check your flight schedules and think of time zones if you are mix and matching itineraries and also check the currency before booking. These tips have saved me $1000’s of dollars and I hope they save you some too!
Let me know what you think or if you have some personal tips and tricks that you use to get the best flights details below!