Thursday, January 23, 2014

5 Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Flights

Peter Greenberg, a travel editor for CBS news, had a great post on Quartz today, detailing his best tips for getting cheaper airfare.  Greenberg claims that it all comes down to the day, the time and the time of the month that you book.  Some of the highlights included:

1.  Don't book too early.  Unless you are traveling on "high-traffic days, Christmas or July 4th, you stand the best chance for the lowest possible fare 45 days our for domestic travel and 60 days for international."  Anecdotally, this strategy worked out well for my wife and I, as we booked flights from the US to Spain this month for a trip in March.  The tickets were around 20% cheaper this week than they were when we looked in December.

2.   Travel midweek.  This one is pretty well known, and it's not always feasible, but if you can fly in the middle of the week instead of on popular weekend days or Fridays, you will find cheaper flights.

3.  Book on Wednesday at 1am.  According to Greenberg, a flood of discount fares come flooding into the airline companies' computer systems just after midnight each Tuesday.  That means you should figure out the time zone where the airline is based, and call at 1am. 

4.  Call, don't book online.  Yes, Greenberg insists, you must speak to a real person to get the best deals.  Apparently the really good ones don't make it back to the web before they're snapped up.

5.  Clear your cookies.  Apparently, some people think that airline websites are able to track which flights you have looked at often and dynamically increase the price on tickets you are likely to purchase.  It's hard to believe that these companies could effectively execute this, if the quality of their front end web experience is any indication, but maybe that's just an elaborate ruse to make us complacent.  Either way, it's not a bad idea to clear your cookies, or book from a different computer than the one you use to browse.

You can read the full article here. 


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