Flight Deals 101: How to Find Great Flight Deals

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER photographed May 24-25, 2016 by Chad Slattery across California.

Everyone loves cheap flights. Whether you’re planning a quick weekend getaway or a long vacation, there are plenty of ways to score a great flight deal. Here’s how you can scope out the best deals!

1)Be Flexible with your travel dates

photo of planner and writing materials
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

One of the most effective ways to find cheap flights is to be flexible with your travel dates. If you’re able to fly during the week or outside of peak travel times (like holidays), you may be able to find significantly cheaper flights. If you do plan on traveling during peak season, definitely plan out your trip far in advance.

2)Google Flights

Google flights is my go to starting spot for finding great deals. Here, you can search for complex routing options, flexible calendar dates, and the tool also helps you compare prices. Even if you’re looking to book a flight using points, Google flights allows you to get the bigger picture on where certain carriers can fly. The easy to use interface, simplifies your search and definitely beats using Kayak, Expedia, or Orbital where you are hit with numerous redirects and pop ups. For those who have no idea where to start, Google Flights also has a map search feature showing you various prices to different countries and cities in a region on a give day.

the map search tool is a neat feature with Google Flights

3)Using an Alerts Subscription

For die-hard travelers and deal hunters, there are alert subscriptions such as Scott’s Cheap Flights to notify you great deals. While I personally wouldn’t pay to be alerted for flight deals, for just a few bucks a month, this could save you plenty of time. In addition to the various deal alert services, there are also subscription services available to flight searching.

Some well know premium subscriptions are:

  • Scott’s Cheap Flights
  • Might Travels Premium

Some free alert tools are:

  • Skyscanner
  • Hopper

Please note I am not affiliated with any of the alert tools.

4)Consider alternative airports

If you’re flying to a major city, it may be worth considering alternative airports in the surrounding area. Often, flights to smaller airports can be significantly cheaper than flights to the main airport. Flying out of San Francisco International Airport, if you don’t mind, you may be able to find better deals from Oakland or San Jose International airports.

5)Be aware of hidden fees

Some airlines and travel agencies charge extra fees for things like baggage, seat selection, and in-flight meals. Be sure to factor these fees into the overall cost of the flight when comparing prices. Basic economy tickets have the cheapest sticker price but tack on the various fees and it might easily be pricier than an economy ticket.

Basic economy tickets are the cheapest but also include:

  1. Limited flexibility: Basic economy tickets are generally non-refundable and cannot be changed or upgraded. This can be a problem if you need to make changes to your travel plans.
  2. Fewer amenities: Basic economy tickets may come with fewer amenities than other fare classes. For example, you may not be able to bring a carry-on bag on board, or you may have to pay extra to choose your seat.
  3. Higher fees: Basic economy tickets may come with higher fees for things like checked bags, in-flight refreshments, and seat assignments.

Final Thoughts

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding great flight deals and saving money on your next trip. Remember to be flexible, do your research, and be aware of any hidden fees, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect flight at a great price.

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