Stop Overpaying for Flights: 7 Cost-Cutting Hacks
by The GreenJinn Team
July 10, 2019
8 MIN READ
You’ve waited all year for the getaway from heaven. You can already feel the sand between your toes. So don’t blow your holiday budget on flights.
Keep some extra spending money in your pocket by trying these money saving methods:
7 Must-have booking hacks to save up to 20% right now
1. Use month matrixes or cheapest fare finders 🗓️
A month matrix is an option that allows you to see all flights across the month rather than just the specific dates you would normally specify.
When comparing flights with Google Flights, ITA or TUI, make use of matrixes to see the cheapest prices across the dates you’re able to fly.On Google Flights, by selecting ’Flexible dates’, you can see all flights within a given month.
2. Buy multiple tickets separately 👥
If you’re booking multiple tickets with Ryanair, take a look at the prices of single tickets compared to the total for multiple tickets.
You might find that the singles tickets are cheaper than when booking for more than one person. In this case, you may want to consider booking separately. If you book them one after another you should still be able to get seats together.
3. Booking midweek is more expensive 💰
Avoid booking your flight midweek – Skyscanner announced that travellers who bought their tickets on a Wednesday last year paid 4% more than those who booked on a Sunday.
If you’re booking far enough in advance, try looking at prices during the week and on the weekend to compare, as this will vary from airline to airline.
There is an exception to this however:
Budget airlines often advertise the cheapest flights on Thursday night (1-3am). This is when they normally update the pricing schedule. If there’s empty seats on weekend flights they often drop prices (does not apply to most long haul flights).
4. Fly on a weekday 📅
Tuesdays or Wednesdays are often the cheapest. Whilst not always the case, it’s worth checking for your chosen destination on sites such as Norwegian, Ryanair or Skyscanner.
Flights departing on Fridays and Sundays tend to be the most pricey, especially if your heading off to a popular city break location such as Venice or Barcelona.
5. Save with error fares 👀
Although not always available, error fares could bag you a serious bargain!
Secret Flying enables you to check on these error prices. Be sure to act fast as they go quick!
If you do get an error fare then keep the following in mind:
- Don’t speak to the airline about the fare.
- Avoid making any itinerary until closer to the date or make booking with free cancellations – your flight could get cancelled.
- Get good insurance as a safety measure. Your return ticket could be made invalid or cancelled. Better safe than sorry!
6. Try charter airlines for last minute booking ⏰
If you’ve left booking till last minute, charter airlines (think TUI / Thomas Cook) can offer great value flights at fairly short notice. Be warned however, destinations tend to be limited to popular holiday destinations (e.g The Caribbean, C.America).
TUI are currently offering £199 flights to the Dominican Republic for April.
Most other long haul airlines (e.g BA / Lufthansa) and budget airlines (e.g Ryanair / Easyjet) are less likely to drop prices last minute.
7. Use Google Chrome’s incognito mode when booking 🕵️
Flight prices can sometimes increase if a particular flight is repeatedly searched. It’s believed this could be due to the cookies in your browser and airlines encouraging you to book before the prices rise again. This only happens rarely, but is worth comparing as it could save you a few quid.
Try using incognito mode if you’re on Google Chrome, as this prevents cookies being stored.Right click on the chrome icon on your dock (for mac) or wrench icon in top right hand corner in a Google Chrome window (for PC) to bring up this menu.
This is certainly NOT guaranteed to get you a cheaper flight, but it may be worth a go if you believe your searches have affected the displayed flight prices.
*The existence of this practice issue is a hot topic on many forums and is unlikely being used across all airlines.
And for long haul savings
Beware of using booking agents for long haul flights ✋
If you’re flying long haul, book direct with airline or an airline authorised travel agent. Booking agent such as Flight Centre, Expedia, Opodo are often more pricey.
Also, if you miss your flight or need to make changes to the booking, the airline will be more flexible than a booking agent.
Note: this doesn’t apply to comparison sites such as Skyscanner. They’ll redirect you to the official airline website.
Consider flying from nearby airports 🏠
Flight with stopover cheaper? 💸
Travelling for more than 5-6 hours or between continents? Flying to your destination indirectly will save you money as nonstop flights generally cost significantly more.
You can fly to Dubai for around £130 – £140 by going via at Sofia (Bulgaria). A direct flight would cost £220-£280.
This money saving method is particularly effective when travelling to SE Asia (going via China), S. America (via Spain, Italy or Portugal) and N.America (via W.Europe or the Nordics).
Budget airlines now flying long haul ✈️
Low cost airlines (Easyjet, Eurowings, Ryanair, etc) are now offering long haul flights.
Norwegian Airlines flights to Rio de Janeiro for around £350, which would usually cost you around £500.
Note: it’s a good idea to get travel insurance that covers cancellations.
Fly long haul from Europe 🇪🇺
Long haul flights are often much cheaper from other European cities (due to the UK’s premium airport tax).
If you have the time, look into flying to another EU airport and then going long haul from there. You can get a return flight to most major EU cities for around £50 and save as much as £200 overall.
Already booked? Save money travelling on the day
Get public transport or hire car to airport 🚗
Car parking can get costly. If you are travelling from a major UK airport, consider using public transport. Nearly all UK airports can easily be reached by train or bus.
Flying from Heathrow? You may want to avoid the Heathrow Express, as tickets can be expensive. TFL Rail/ Underground will get you there a little slower, but you’ll cut your travel expenses right down.
There’s also rental services like Europcar. They offer a £1 one-way rental to the airport. You’ll just need to cover the cost of petrol.
Check distance between airport and destination 📍
Cheap flights can get expensive if the landing airport is far away from the city. Frankfurt Hahn for instance, is actually 120km away from Frankfurt!
You might just end up spending what you saved on the the budget flight travelling between the airport and city. Be sure to take the airport to accommodation travel costs when comparing flight prices.
Ditch the hold luggage🧳
Staying in Rome for a few nights? Consider ditching the hold baggage. Instead, make the most of your hand luggage with a cheap vacuum bag.
Double check your airline’s baggage allowance policy before flying, airlines have been known to change them without warning.
- Must-have booking hacks: Search for flight across whole month, not specific date, buy multiple tickets separately, don’t book midweek, fly on a weekday, look for error fares, book last minute with charter airlines, book in incognito mode.
- Flying long haul: Book directly with airline, compare prices from UK airports, consider a stopover.
- Saving on travel on the day: Get public transport or hire car, check airport isn’t too far from destination, ditch hold luggage.