Flying is costly and airfares usually form a major part of people’s travel budgets. However, if you are determined to travel more and travel cheap, there are ways in which you can spend less on flying. Here’s how to find cheap flights.
Be flexible with dates: This is the factor that usually makes the biggest difference.
I went to Canada in 2013 and had planned to arrive in Vancouver in July. But that was around the time the Calgary Stampede took place and airfares were ridiculously high. I checked June prices and they were nearly INR30,000 less. I bought the June tickets.
Generally, flying to most destinations when it’s not the tourist season is always going to be cheaper.
This is how I go about it — I initially check prices with the usual sites such as makemytrip.com, goibibo.com and cleartrip.com. Then, I check out skyscanner.com, which gives you a comparison of prices offered by various booking sites. Finally I check out another site called momondo.com, because there have been times when this has given me fares cheaper than anywhere else. Momondo usually works better with destinations in the West.
At the end of your research, when you have zeroed in on the airline and the site, take a quick look at the fare the airline is offering on their own site. You might just get lucky!
Alternative routes: Dig around and find unusual/longer routes to your destination. It might take you more time to get there, but it could possibly be a cheaper alternative. Consider travelling by train to a place from where you could find a flight that is way cheaper.
Consider secondary airports: I’m talking about ones such as Treviso Airport in Venice and Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. Budget carriers use these small airports because the fees are less here and so the tickets are likely to be cheaper too. However, the important thing to check is the communication from such airports to the city. In some cases, you might end up spending all the money you saved from the plane ticket just to get to the city.
Register for airline mailing lists: Yes, this means you’ll get lots of emails filling up your inbox every week. But look at the bright side — you get to know of great deals and offers by these airlines at the earliest!
Sign up for airline loyalty programmes: It doesn’t cost you money to sign up for airline loyalty programmes. So, just do it! If you happen to fly with that airline or its partners in the future, your miles accumulate and depending on the amount of flying you do, sooner or later, you could be eligible for free tickets and upgrades. Such programmes usually have a lot of affiliate partners and shopping at certain outlets and staying at certain hotels could also add to your points. Most major carriers have loyalty programmes. Among Indian carriers, you can sign up for Air India’s Flying Returns and Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege.
Use a travel credit card: You probably use a credit card. Does it let you convert your reward points to airline miles? No? It’s time you got a card that allowed that.