It’s always been expensive to fly, but now airlines seem to charge for every little thing. Don’t be surprised if toilet paper ends up on the charges when using the on-board bathrooms! All joking aside, finding tickets for a February trip to California, is teaching me a bit on how to get the best deals on airfare. What I found: a flexible schedule when flying saves money.
Having a flexible schedule when flying can save money
After signing up for alerts for low airfares from my desired airports on specific days, I took some time to peruse Airfarewatchdog’s website. I found a slew of useful information, and since my search to score airline tickets started early, utilizing CheapAir.com gives an idea to when the least expensive flights would be for my New York to California trip to a conference I’m attending.
On CheapAir.com, travelers can search for a specific set of dates, OR flexible dates. For my trip, I saved by:
- changing my flight arriving in California
- being flexible for my flight out of California
After factoring in the cost of staying extra nights at the hotel, it made sense to fly in a full day prior to the conference, and to fly out a full day after the conference.
If you’re planning a vacation “at some point during the year” to California, you’re calendar is an open book! Flights can be found for unusually low prices! Southwest Airlines proves to be the least expensive flights for my area, especially if I keep my dates flexible. Is Southwest best in terms of comfort? No. However, if you want to get out to the West Coast, and don’t mind being a bit uncomfortable while traveling, Southwest is a great option. Plus, Southwest has no fees for two checked bags, as well as one carry-on, with one personal item! Check out their lowest fares by month search. It’s rather fun to use, and see what kinds of savings are at your fingertips when you’ve got all the flexibility in the world for your travel!
What else is important when trying to save money on airfare
- Factor in the cost to check bags. If the flight is dirt cheap, but it costs $100 to check your first bag, it’s not a deal. The higher priced flight might be better, with a free checked bag.
- Signing up for alerts for airfare prices is IMPERATIVE, and not just before you purchase the tickets. Make sure to have alerts sent AFTER you purchase your tickets. Many airlines will honor a lower price for your ticket if you call them to let them know “Hey, I got my ticket on Tuesday when it was $350 round trip, but today, just two days later, it’s now $300 round trip.” It’s worth a phone call!
- Consider a different airport to fly out of, and to fly into. When searching flights, the cheapest ones, for me, were out of the larger airports in my area. It also helps to fly into a larger airport, as well. Unfortunately, for my situation, I had to spend a few bucks extra to fly out of my local airport, but I saved a bit flying into the LAX in California.
It’s really a science when it comes to finding great prices on EVERYTHING you purchase, airline tickets are absolutely no different! Enjoy the friendly skies!!!