Tips and Tricks to Finding Cheap Flight Tickets
I was asked the other day why a customers flight was $300 more today than it was yesterday or why it was $100 less than it was the day before. Basically the customer was asking me if there was any tips I could give her to look for the cheapest available flight.
My first thought for this customer was that they may not be aware of their flight parameters or simply didn't care about anything other than the price of their flight! The pure fact of the matter was that the customer had several parameters that kept changing as if trying to figure out what would drive the price. I should have known better... The customer also didn't realize that what might make up the difference from the lowest to highest with consideration to each parameter they changed made quite a difference in price from a Travel Professionals perspective!
So goes the story...
Based on what you want vs. what your Travel Professional will give you could be two different things. The reason being is a Travel Professional KNOWS the differences between basic economy and flex economy, business class vs main cabin class and all the cabin codes in between. One Travel Professional may know you better than the next. If you don't tell your Travel Professional what your parameters are for searching a flight, chances are you will be offered what the Travel Professional thinks is best for you. (not necessarily what is best for them). Remember Travel Professionals are not paid commission through airlines so it doesn't really matter if they offer you fare x or fare y. They will get paid the same. Through trial and error a Travel Professional can GUESS what might be the cheapest but on any given day or time that could also change. A Travel Professional simply does not KNOW. Not even someone at the lowest level working at an airline knows. It's all pure guess work. And... experience. The reason?
Simple. There is NO rhyme or reason when it comes to flights!
One second it could be x price, the next second it could be y price. One truly never knows. The person sitting next to you on the plane could have paid $100 less than you, The person behind you may have paid $300 more than you. Airlines have a funny way of handling things, ya know?
What drives price?
Let's list a few:
- Flight Restrictions
- Staying over a Saturday night could be required
- Leaving outside of peak times
- Other Requirements
- days of departure and arrivals may be outside of your wants - are you flexible?
- How flexible are you willing to be?
- Time of Day you will Fly
- This can vary
- Mid Day
- Amount of Time in flight
- Obviously the longer the flight is the cheaper it could be.
- Amount of Time in Layover
- Longer layovers and even overnight layovers could save you money.
- The Airline
- Not all airlines were created equal. You may pay more for an airline that includes the cost of baggage fees rather than one that doesn't. All in all it may even out to be the same when all is said and done.
- The Distance
- Flying from Maine to New York won't be as expensive as flying from Maine to Taiwan.
- Flight Options
- Adding meals and other add on items to your flight before you fly will cost more.
- Where you are being seated
- Paying for your seats in advance on some flights will cost more.
- Luggage Options
- If luggage is not already included you may have to pay for it when you check-in or during online check-in.
- Not all luggage is created equal. The cost of a carry on may cost something different than the cost of taking skis along.
- How full a particular plane is at any point in time can make all the difference in cost
- What politics are surrounding the current destination at the time?
Timing Is Everything