Flight companies, responding to rising operation costs and ever frugal travellers, have come out with many ways to make sure you spend more than you should for your flight tickets. However, you can actually beat these flight companies at their own game, if you know what you are doing. Here are 7 secrets to super cheap flights no airline will tell you. Ready?
#1 Try Flying on Wednesday
Airlines know that people fly most on weekends, since its not workday. Hence, flight tickets are the most expensive during that time.
Monday and Tuesday are where most working people travel for business, as well as Thursday and Friday when they come back from workplace to spend weekends at home. As such, tickets can also be expensive during these times.
Which leaves Wednesday for cheap flights. Its hard for working people to travel on this day, as they have to take two days leave. Families too as they have children in school. To make sure their flights remain full, flight companies usually charge less for flights on Wednesday.
#2 Keep Your Search Private
Airlines can track every single searches you have made on their website. Airlines could discover all your search history, which destinations you frequently travel to, and the duration.
These information could be then used to see how ‘desperate’ you are to fly on a certain date. Guess what? On these days, the fare will never be cheap!
This is done by using ‘cookies’, planted on your web browser. Now before you scream theft, it is a legal and normal thing to do.
To avoid this from happening, consider setting up Incognito Mode or Private Browsing when searching on your web browser. This mode will make sure no cookies are planted, as well as no search history is recorded by the airline. Better likelihood for cheap flights!
#3 Check For Hidden Charges
Low cost, no frill airlines are known for doing this. By loading RM5 here on direct debit fee, or RM15 to check in a 10KG luggage, your flight ticket could balloon into a ‘not so cheap’ price.
During booking, it is important to ensure you check and scan to ensure that none of these ‘hidden’ charges are slapped on you. Things such as Seat Selection Fee or In Flight Meals are luxuries that can be dropped if what you want is the cheapest flight ticket.
#4 Gateway Error? Reload!
You might be alerted about flight sale via email, and are scrambling to score that unbelievable flight you have been eyeing for. Oh yes, when flights from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka normally cost RM1800, you are getting offers at RM650 only!
However, as you are getting your tickets, so do other people. For example, when everyone tries to access AirAsia.com, this could strain their web servers, causing the website to slow down.
Sometimes, website could slow to a level where after you fill a form and click ‘next’, your web browser freezes, or displays “Error 503, service not available”. You might feel like kicking yourself because of this, because you have to restart your booking process.
Usually you don’t have to. If you are on Google Chrome, just right click on your browser, and click ‘Reload’. Sometimes the information you have keyed into your forms are still there even!
This tip might not have you save, but it can help your booking process to become smoother, allowing you to lock in your super cheap flights!
#5 The 6-Week-Rule
When is the best time to buy an airline ticket? Buy too early and you feel stupid when the guy sitting next to you paid RM200 less. Worse of all, he bought his ticket much later than you did! Buy too late and you might find yourself paying blood-sucker price.
Emmagem Magazine poured through data for Air Asia flights from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi, Bali and Ho Chi Minh City, and discovered that buying tickets too early is a no-no, the same goes for buying at the last minute.
However, there is a ‘price dip’ around 4-6 weeks before departure, where the tickets are usually at their cheapest. Perhaps you could give this a try next time round?
#6 Experiment with Routes
One thing that we know for sure is that a lot of people will pay more to fly nonstop, because it is much more convenient.
If you are flying from Kota Kinabalu to Seoul directly, all you need is 5 hours, compared to having a stopover at say, Hong Kong. Adding in transit time, you might need up to 15 hours to complete the journey!
The airlines know about this, and so adjusts prices depending on the demand. More people want to fly non-stop? Charge more! Not so many people want to fly connecting? Charge less! Even if connecting flights will cost the airlines more to fly, their concern is to fill all the seats. The key is to not lose money on their flights!
#7 Fly Secondary Airports
Gatwick instead of Heathrow London, Haneda instead of Narita Tokyo, KLIA2 instead of KLIA Kuala Lumpur… Ever notice why low cost carriers often fly from older, secondary airports?
Because they are cheap!
Airline companies have to pay a certain fee to use airports, and usually newer, more modern airports charge higher fees. Older airports charge less to remain competitive, as well as to provide opportunities for low-cost carriers to pass the savings to flyers like you.Look for routes that land at secondary airports, as they tend to be cheaper.
Plus, these older airports tend to be closer to the city center, compared to newer airports that are often built further away. This made transportation costs from airport to city center often cheaper as a result. More savings!