As a member of Secret Flight Club, you already receive regular emails highlighting the best flight deals and how to book your seat in the fastest and most convenient fashion. Nevertheless, learning how to get cheap flights yourself is a key step to ensuring that you never overpay for a domestic or international journey again.
Knowing how to find cheap flight deals can deliver a wide range of benefits for both business and leisure travel. The financial savings may be able to help you afford an upgrade to first class while paying the price that most people pay for standard coach/economy seating. Alternatively, you could use the funds to buy a better hotel room or enjoy the attractions of the destination in style.
This guide will answer all of your key questions on how to get cheap flight discounts, including but not limited to;
Ready to gain take-off and start saving big money on future flights? Let’s get started.
Before searching for specific flight deals, it is worth equipping yourself with some general tips on how you could potentially secure better deals on your future bookings. The average person takes 6.5 flights per year, so even a $50 saving on each trip you take will add up over the course of a year. Especially if you are a more frequent flyer.
When you are looking to save money on your travel, the following steps can be very useful indeed;
If you need to travel to a certain location for a wedding or business event, nothing can be done to change that. When booking a vacation, though, an open mind can make a world of difference and help you secure discounted flights, accommodation, and more.
Flight prices are often determined by the levels of demand. So, you may land a significant discount by choosing a route or destination where the demand is lower. Meanwhile, you may find that there is a special offer on flights to certain cities at different times of the year.
Whether looking at domestic or international travel, peak travel times will see prices soar. The summer vacation period is one of the most expensive times to fly while the festive period is notoriously costly too. If you can move your travel to off-peak times, it’s worthwhile.
Even if you fly during the festive period, you can secure a 32.4% discount by flying on Dec. 24 rather than the days leading up to it. When your dates aren’t set in stone, being prepared to seek a cheaper deal can yield a massive saving for each leg of the journey.
If landing 50km away from the intended destination can save you a few hundred dollars, it’s probably worth doing. Oftentimes, a big sporting or cultural event in a specific location can see flights to the nearest airport soar. Yet flights to nearby airports may remain cheap.
Furthermore, you can consider taking an indirect flight. Breaking the journey up and potentially splitting it across two airlines could save you money. Just remember to factor the costs of your onward travel from the airport into the equation.
Have you accumulated air miles via an airline or through a credit card? If so, you can cash those in to generate savings on your flight. Better still, this idea can often be used on all eligible flights offered by the airline. Credit card purchases offer a host of other rewards too.
For example, you will be financially protected should the company go bust while your exchange rates when using a credit card are often better than the rates offered on debit card transactions. Missing out on potential savings would be very naive.
In addition to avoiding peak times of the year, flying at less convenient hours can generate a significant saving. This is especially true for short-haul flights, regardless of whether they are between two U.S. cities or two European countries.
Again, it is often a case of supply and demand, as well as the fact that airlines may face greater expenses depending on the time of day. Popular routes may include several flights throughout the day. If this is the case, looking at the contrasts in pricing is advised.
When wanting to book affordable flights, timing is everything. With around 40 million flights taking place each year (excluding the impacts of the Covid pandemic), the timeframes of when flights are released do vary from one airline to the next. The standard protocol, however, is to release tickets around 330 days before the intended date of travel.
So, how long before taking a flight should you book it? Most people are firmly in one of two camps - they either book their seats several months in advance or wait until the last minute. While members of each camp will be adamant that their way is the right way, the truth sits somewhere between the two - we can only imagine your shock…
Ultimately, it depends on the type of flight you are hoping to book. Even then, the information below is only a rule of thumb rather than a concrete guarantee that will unlock the cheapest flights. Still, using the suggested times below will serve you well.
Short-haul flights are most commonly defined as having a flight time of under three hours. In reality, it can also cover mid-haul journeys up to six hours, at least when looking at the booking process. It should also be noted that it shouldn’t matter whether it’s a short domestic flight or an international journey.
When organizing your flight on a short-haul journey, the best time to book your seat is between six weeks and four months prior to the departure date.
If anything, it is generally easier to predict the prices of short-haul flights, especially when dealing with popular routes and destinations where different airlines need to stay competitively priced. Likewise, budget airlines are far more engaged with the short-haul market rather than the long-haul one. As such, finding the top flight deals a few weeks in advance should be relatively straightforward.
When traveling in Europe, the likes of EasyJet, RyanAir, Norwegian Airlines, and Jet2 all drive the prices down. So, it can be worth waiting until the final two months before booking. The short-haul airlines in North America are arguably a little less competitive, which is why you should look closer to the four-month timeframe.
Ultra-organized travelers who want to book their seats before this time are unlikely to miss out on savings but also won’t get a saving as a result. Still, if you want to rule out the threat of missing out, this is a great step to take - although you should remember that there is a risk that your plans will change between now and the flight date.
Long-haul flights are defined as those that cross at least one border and have a duration of at least six hours. As with short-haul flights, the exact definitions can vary greatly depending on the airline, especially in relation to distances. For example, American Airlines and United Airlines define long-haul as 3,000+ miles while Japan Airlines defines it as routes to Europe and North America
Roughly 6% of total flights are considered long-haul and they often cross continents. At 9,537 miles, the route from Singapore (SIN) to New York (JFK) is the longest of all.
Either way, the best times when thinking about how to get cheap flight discounts on longer flights are from two months to eight months in advance of the departure date. The deals often show one or two seasons preceding the journey. So, Winter deals will begin to appear in the Summer while Spring deals will show in Winter.
As a rule of thumb, then, booking six months in advance is a smart move. While the seasonal trends are somewhat less predictable than they are for short-haul flights, looking back at previous years can still give you a rough guide of what to expect.
However, it should be noted that some airlines do not follow the trend. In Europe, TUI is known for offering cheap deals roughly one month before departure and this includes deals on packages that include accommodation and onward travel. In most cases, though, early bookings will deliver the best prices.
It is no secret that airline booking platforms are backed by very sophisticated software solutions that track a range of metrics to monitor the interest being shown by prospective passengers and clients. As such, you may also want to think about the time of day that you complete a booking.
Researchers at Hopper found that passengers pay 3% more for airfares on a Friday morning. It has been suggested that this could be because many airlines start their deals at the beginning of a week but remove them by the weekend. Tuesday may be the best time to book, perhaps because people tend to look at holidays to kill the Monday blues or because they are excited towards the weekend.
In truth, though, the variance is probably far smaller than you think as prices are primarily affected by the number of seats available on the flight. So, if you’re worried that booking on payday will cost you a fortune, there’s probably very little to worry about.
Generally speaking, booking early is a smarter tactic than waiting until the last minute. While it is possible to grab a late bargain, it also carries the risk of missing out due to flights becoming sold out. Even when they aren’t booked to 100% capacity, the last handful of seats may be bumped up to a premium cost.
Early bookings remove the risk while simultaneously increasing the hopes of securing cheaper prices. It is especially important to take this route when flying to a specific destination but is also a better choice when you are open to alternative flight routes.
The above advice gives you a good starting point for general booking, but the holiday season and other peak travel times can throw a spanner into the works. As with many aspects of learning how to get cheap flights, preparation is the key to your success.
As mentioned, travel on Dec. 24 can be cheaper than the days before. Likewise, travel on Dec. 31 can secure a big saving. Generally speaking, last-minute deals begin to appear around three weeks before the event but may shoot up again in the final days. Given that the high demand is virtually assured, the prices reflect this even when they are released in the early parts of the year.
Thanksgiving is another expensive period for flights in America, although prices in Europe and outside of North America are generally unaffected. Short-haul flights may drop in price around six weeks before the special weekend and then hit their highest prices from three weeks out. If traveling from another continent, it’s likely that you will have confirmed your plans long before this time.
Families want to travel during the school summer vacation. The weather is generally nicer in the northern hemisphere at this time of the year while parents can also avoid potential fines for taking their kids out of school. Sadly, this does bump up the travel costs. Deals can start to appear between six months and three months before the peak season, which is when you should begin to monitor prices.
Major sporting events (the World Cup, Olympics, etc.) and other significant events are likely to see airfares to that destination shoot up. Frankly, it is very unlikely that the prices will drop at any stage as fans will continue to book flights until the last minute. If a good deal becomes available even longer than eight months ahead of the event, it is advised that you take advantage and book your seat.
While several tactics can be used to help you secure cheap flight prices, learning to find the best deals for your personal circumstances is vital. Finding suitable dates and routes that work for you will go a long way to helping. Whichever flight you book your seat on, though, it is always worth investigating the possibility of discounted tickets.
Firstly, if you are a loyalty scheme member for the airline that you are looking to use, several rewards may be available. One of the most common solutions is that you can have a coach/economy seat upgraded to a premium seat at a discounted rate. While it actually makes travel slightly more expensive, a few extra dollars for the increased sense of luxury is a very fair trade.
Not all airlines offer discounted flight prices for child passengers. However, those that do may offer discounts of up to 75% on all routes or selected flights. This is something that you can investigate manually by visiting individual airlines. Alternatively, the more advanced price comparison websites will automatically take this into account. Where available, child tickets are available for kids under 12. Infant fares for under 2s may be available too.
Discounts aren’t always easy to find or automatically applied. This is because the offers aren’t always facilitated by the airlines directly. However, UK Forces, Blue Light and Military workers can learn about our partnerships that can land significant savings. American passengers in comparable roles can also use their eligibility to get cheap airplane tickets for a number of short and long-haul journeys.
On a similar note, key workers may also be eligible for various discounts. It is something you have probably enjoyed the benefits of in other aspects of your life but may not have experienced the perks when booking flights. Again, this is something the Secret Flight Club actively promotes by working with various providers. However, whenever booking through an agent, it is worth posing the question about potential discounts related to your work.
Finally, student discounts are another commonly used solution. There are roughly 20 million college and university students in the UK and America alone. We have teamed up with partners from both sides of the pond to help students gain big savings of up to 81%. While the discount is admittedly more modest than this figure, the fact that savings can be made on domestic and international flights is a very pleasing factor.
Equipping yourself with a clear strategy regarding the times that you should think about booking flights, as well as other concepts like avoiding peak travel times or flying in the early morning will serve you well. Likewise, using discounts will help bring the cost of your flight down. For the best results, though, you need to establish a winning relationship between human efforts and technological assistance. The great news is that there are several tools that can help you save time and money throughout the flight booking process.
As already noted, airlines use sophisticated technology to track traffic and interest in specific flights and routes. This isn’t limited to generic trends, either, as cookies can track your movements across the site. Once an airline knows that you are considering a flight, the prices may increase. Private browsers and incognito mode can help you avoid this problem. Alternatively, downloading a VPN can provide an effective solution. Sometimes it will save you a few dollars but there are situations where the savings can hit three figures.
Google is the biggest website in the world, and it’s unsurprising to learn that its flight checking service is one of the best. It covers most (albeit not all) airlines and is a great tool for checking the prices of any flight route. Crucially, a responsive calendar gives clear information about how the costs change from one day/week/month to the next. Our guide on how to get cheap flights using Google Flight will provide more information. Ultimately, though, it is a great starting point for your search, especially when using a private browser.
There are several flight comparison platforms on the market, but Skyscanner is one of the oldest and most effective solutions. Its simple drop-down menus allow you to see which months are cheap or expensive for your chosen flight route. It also quickly allows you to check nearby airports or look at indirect flights. As well as the ‘whole month’ tab, users can look at the prices for specific dates while additionally making their booking directly through the platform without navigating to the airline directly. This offers a smooth booking process.
The Momondo platform is another very popular choice for travelers on both sides of the Atlantic. It lets you check the costs on different flight dates while providing clear data on the prices to nearby airports. It doesn’t cover every flight route on the planet but is particularly useful when booking flights to/from a host of European territories. Momondo can also be used to check hotels, car hire, and other relevant services for business trips and vacations alike. Again, it is best to use the site when cookies are not being tracked.
When building your business travel or vacation plans, one of the most important factors for getting a good deal is to ensure that the package is tailored around you. Paying for services or features that you do not require is the quickest way to see your flight prices unnecessarily skyrocket. If you are guilty of the following issues, learning to address them before booking your next flight can make a huge difference.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to travel. In fact, Tuesdays can be 24% lower than the peak of Sundays. Mondays, and Thursdays through Saturdays are significantly higher too. It should come as no surprise as people often enjoy extended weekend city breaks while business folk may travel on Sundays and Mondays. If you are going away for one week or two weeks, changing your plans for a midweek flight may be one of the smartest ways to reduce your costs with significant results.
Paying for baggage could be a hidden cost that is encountered during the flight booking process or when you arrive at the airport. Economy seats with United Airlines, for example, may see you charged $25 depending on the bag size. It can be a nasty surprise. Conversely, though paying extra for a seat that includes baggage allowances that are beyond your needs can be equally wasteful and may make it better to use a budget airline. Either way, using a baggage cost calculator before booking a flight allows you to gain a clearer idea.
When looking at how to get cheap flights, the great news is that booking your flight online shouldn’t cost you anything, although some airlines may charge a small fee based on your payment method. However, some will charge up to $25 for booking via telephone or in-person as you are using their agents to complete the booking. It should also be noted that some companies will now charge a fee for selecting the seat(s) you want. This can bump up the costs when traveling or if you have a preference between window and aisle.
When you’re on a flight, there are a number of comforts that can make the journey more pleasant. The list could include everything from headphones to enjoy the entertainment or blankets and pillows to food and beverages. Depending on the airline and ticket class, you may have to pay for those items. It may not be much of an issue for a short-haul journey but could have an influence on a long-haul experience. Researching what is included in the flight is always a wise move. Even if it isn’t a deal-breaker, it saves you from surprise costs.
Travel plans may change, especially if you are traveling months after booking. For example, a business meeting could be delayed. Flexible bookings that allow you to change and only pay the difference in flight costs can be very useful for some. If your travel plans are set in stone, though, this is another unnecessary. If you want the cheapest tickets available, picking the basic plan is probably the wisest move. This is regardless of whether it’s a budget airline or a standard carrier like British Airways or American Airlines.
When booking a flight, the fluctuation in prices caused by when and how you book a seat can be huge. As such, you have to give this process far more attention than you would when buying a train ticket or coach seat. By implementing the right strategy, though, even an infrequent flyer could save hundreds of dollars each year.
Still, if you want to know how to get cheap flight discounts unlike anything else on the market? Join the Secret Flight Club today. Our deals can shave up to 81% off of your bill while also avoiding hidden fees that are often imposed by budget airlines. Cheap, convenient air travel starts now!
When is the best time to book a flight?
If booking a short-haul flight, it is usually best to book your flight between two and four months before departure. For long-haul, booking up to eight months in advance can be considered a better rule of thumb. However, each airline is different.
What is the best day of the week to book a flight?
Research shows that Tuesday around midnight is the best time to book a flight while Friday mornings are the worst. However, the difference in prices is minimal compared to the influence that other factors (like how many seats are left on the flight) will have.
Are discounts available on flights?
Yes, you can often secure discounted flight prices for children under the age of 12 while students, key workers, and military personnel may also be due a discount. Any passenger who has collected air miles can trade them in for cheaper flight prices on eligible bookings.
Is there a particular airline that sells the cheapest seat?
Not specifically, although budget airlines like EasyJet in Europe and JetBlue Airways in America often offer cheap flights. However, you must look for hidden fees and check to see how close the airport is to the intended destination as they are often a few towns over.
How can I learn about the best flight deals on the market?
While knowing how to get cheap flights ahead of your next trip will provide the catalyst for saving money, you can also have the best deals in Europe and North America sent directly to your inbox by joining the Secret Flight Club today.