Frugal ideas for booking holiday flights
It is exciting to return home for the holidays, but the traveling expenses are discouraging.
If you are flying home for the holidays, you are probably looking forward to those delicious family dinners, visiting family members, and sweet desserts, but you are dreading that expensive flight. Airports raise their rates because they know most people will pay any cost go home. They make money, but it is not fair.
If you are in a financial bind during the holidays, these proven tips can help you book a cheap flight:
- Purchase tickets on Wednesday at 1 am
Usually, airlines provide discounted rates early in the week, but flight expert, Peter Greenburg, suggested that the best time to book tickets is at 1 a.m. on Wednesday. According to Greenburg, at midnight on Tuesday, all discount fares that are not purchased flood back into the airline’s computer systems, and you can find the best deal.
According to Andrea Riley of Upgraded Points, a nonprofit software program owned by Google called ITA Matrix saves hundreds of dollars on airfare. It provides the most flexibility of airports and dates and reveals a low fare schedule. Although tickets are not available on the website, the flight numbers are available, and they can be booked instantly with the airline.
2. Don’t wait
You will save money the sooner you purchase your flight tickets. Matthew Ma of Flight Deal suggests booking your flight one to three months in advance.
According to a statistics chart on Moneyish, the average person pays $20 extra by booking 122–168 days in advance, but they pay $208 extra by booking 0–6 days before the flight.
3. Shop for tickets in a private browser
Rumors are that airlines raise prices because of individually targeted browser cookies. When airlines speculate your seriousness of booking a flight, they increase the costs.
William McGee, an aviation adviser for Consumer Reports, performed 372 searches with his team on nine airline ticketing sites in 2016. The searches were concurrent with the same website and itinerary but on two different browsers. One had its cookies complete, and another had a clean history.
McGee discovered the fares were higher on the browser with no search history, and the higher fares mostly came from online travel companies like Orbitz. Fifty-nine percent of the times the searches were different. The lower prices on cleaned browsers came from meta-search websites like Google Flights or Kayak.
It may be safer to shop for airfares in a private browser, which records no cookies.
4. Check fares at nearby airports
According to FareCompare, various matters can determine airfare to and from certain airports. Larger airports do not always offer the cheapest tickets, but sometimes, they do. Some have the most expensive. Small regional airports can be very inexpensive while others charge high rates. FareCompare reported that expensive smaller airports charge more for three reasons.
Sometimes, low-cost airlines do not fly there, they have high landing fees and surcharges, and there is less airline competition within their region.
Your best bet is checking other departure and arrival airports to find a deal. Another way is flying into one airport and departing from another. Johnny Jet offers options of alternate airports.
5. Avoid Sundays at all costs
The frugal rule of not flying on a Sunday applies all year. According to CheapAir, Sunday is the most expensive day to set out. Sundays are extremely busy too.
American Airlines reported that Sunday, July 8 was one of the top five busiest days of 2018. The world’s largest airline carried approximately 690,000 passengers across 6,747 flights in one day. If you must return to work by Monday, ask your boss if you can work remotely or take a one-day unpaid vacation. Although you will miss a little income, it is worth it.
6. Fly on the holiday
Almost no one desires flying on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years, but it saves you money.
According to Johnny Jet, a money-saving travel expert, you save hundreds of dollars. You can leave early that morning to arrive in time for turkey or plan with your family to celebrate the day after. If your family agrees, you can delight in savings and noncrowded airports. CheapAir offers a calendar revealing the best and worst days to fly during the holidays.
By following these tips, you will find the cheapest holiday fares and less chaos in airports.