Cheap Flights

Female Abroad

This is something that everyone always asks about.

Truthfully, you really need to decide what is "cheap" to you and you really have to be careful as "cheap" may end up costing you more in the future.

Allegiant for example - very cheap flights however their service is lacking. Want to check you bag? There is a fee for that. Want to carry on your baggage? Fee. Want to pick your seat? Fee. Print your boarding pass? Fee. Change flight? Fee.

You should see where I'm getting at with this one... Although the flight was cheap to begin with, after all the extras it might cost you the same if not more.

Do you have a habit of changing/cancelling flights last minute due to work or an ill child? Paying that couple hundred dollars more for a flexible fair may end up saving you hundreds (if not thousands) in the long run.

Everyone is different in their needs and speaking with a qualified Travel Agent will help you find the best options.

In the meantime, here are some general suggestions:

  1. Collect Points. Sign up for your most travelled airlines loyalty program. The great thing about it is if you travel on their partner airlines, you can still gain points. Also if points are important to you, check different carriers that are partners and fly to the same locations. Sometimes one will offer more points than others.

  2. Book full fare (Y or B). You may end up paying more but you are also more likely to get a free upgrade. You might even collect more points. Some Travel Agents can even get UpFares on airlines. What is an UpFare? You pay full fare economy but get seated in Business Class. The only downside is if the airline needs to bump someone in Business, you are the first to go so if you book this fare, have your agent book you a seat ASAP since you are less likely to get bumped if you have a pre-assigned seat.

  3. Browse in incognito mode or clear your cookies. A lot of websites these days track your browsing history so if the sites recognizes that you have been looking, it may increase the price of your flight.

  4. Book in a different country. Ever wonder why a lot of airline websites ask you which country you are from? This is due to different taxes that need to be charged in different parts of the world. Try and book it from the native carrier's home country website (ex. Quantas, try to book on the New Zealand version of the site). Keep in mind, you may have to do some currency conversion as it will be charged in their local price. Some companies have even started to notice people doing this so they will only allow credit cards that match the country website you are trying to book in.

  5. Book 2 one way tickets. Not sure where this came from but it is not a very accurate statement as most one ways are more expensive. One way you could make this work for you is to book two round trips. I know this sounds weird but if you book your return flight for a random day in low season, it will bring the cost of the ticket down. Depending on how you booked it, you may even get some money back when you cancel or have it put into a travel credit.

  6. Don't cancel, postpone. Most flights these days have extremely restrictive cancellation policies but did you know that most airlines will allow you to put the funds into a voucher? Instead of cancelling, let them know that you cannot cancel and want to put the funds into a voucher for future use. ASK about the details however as some airlines will only allow them to be valid for a year (ie. you need to book and travel within a year of the voucher issue), some will only allow them for a specific fight (happens a lot with international tickets - ie. if you booked it for a flight overseas, you have to use the voucher for an overseas flight), and others are a bit more relaxed. Not planning on travelling within a year? A lot of them will allow you to extend the voucher for 3-6 months for a fee.

  7. Book on an international carrier. A lot of international carriers have better service than their North American counterparts. Plus, most make a stop over at popular airports before continuing onto their final destination. For example, Cathay Pacific flies Hong Kong - Vancouver - New York. It is the only carrier from Vancouver with a direct flight and Cathay has wonderful service with pillows and such. Plus you get to board in the International Departures Terminal so you have more things to do in the terminal, there is not much in the US departures area of YVR.

  8. Travel Carry-On. If you don't have to check a bag, don't. Some carriers provide free baggage or provide free check in depending on the class of service. Take a look at the difference before purchasing a ticket! That $50 difference between the lowest economy and the mid-level economy might be the cost of checking your bag. It might be even better to book one person at a higher class level and one at a lower as some will allow for 2 free checked bags plus your seat selection.

  9. Check your credit card. Some of them have perks!

  10. Get bumped. If you aren't in a hurry volunteer to get bumped off the flight so you can make some extra cash. Negotiate however and make sure you get the same as everyone else!

  11. Check in 24-hours prior to your flight. Not only will this help you determine that there has not been any flight changes, seating is opened up for free and business seats will now be offered at a discount.

  12. Book direct. A lot of carriers will match expedia's pricing and the great thing about going direct? If you need to cancel and/or change your flights its waaaaay easier. Also you are guaranteed to know of any flight changes if you have requested updates on their aps/websites.

  13. Ask for a complimentary upgrade. While this rarely happens, you don't know unless you ask.

  14. Know someone. Do you have any friends or family that work in the industry and might have an airline contact? Ask around. Another option is to take some time and check social media (think Linked In and not Instagram) to see if you can track down a sales rep for the airline. Let them know you are celebrating something special and they might be able to help. Keep in mind that this will be based upon availability. I did this once and this once and out of 4 flights, I got upgraded for one and attitude about asking from the gate agents on another so you never know what you'll get but it's worth asking.