Searching for the least expensive and best itineraries for flights is a skill in itself. Flight search tips come and go and every year there are new and better ones than the last year. Here is a list of six flight search tips we think will be quick, easy and most useful for 2018.
1. Look for Error Fares
Airlines often publish mistake fares which are typically caused by input errors, incorrect currency conversions or because of forgotten taxes or fees. When you find error fares, you can save hundreds of dollars and yes, they do honor the price that they published before it was corrected. The key is knowing the best ways to find these mistakes.
One way to find error fares is to sign up to an aggregate mistake fare search site like Secret Flying. This type of website finds error fares every day on both domestic and international routes.
Another strategy is to find them yourself by searching a site like Skyscanner. Within Skyscanner, input your flight date by “Entire Month” so you can easily spot low prices.
Error fares are unpredictable and can happen for any route, time, or season even during a busy holiday season.
2. Find a good flight deal? Book it now!
When we find a great deal on flights, we tend to take some time to think about it, to talk with travel companions or check out the other costs associated with the trip. However, when we do that, we risk losing the rate. One tip I learned recently – go ahead and book the flight deal immediately. It’s low risk because airlines offer 24 hours to change your mind and cancel the flight. When I double checked this with a travel agent, she agreed it’s true though it’s safest to make the cancellation on the same date you reserved – so before midnight on the day you made the reservation.
3. Clear Your Browser Cache Before Searching
This one’s not new and sometimes debated. Do travel sites bump up the price every time you search the same criteria on the same search site? The jury’s still out. Though if it’s quick and you remember to clear your browser cache, I suggest doing it.
To clear your cache and cookies, go to Browsing history. Download history. Cookies and other site and plug-in data. Cached images and files. Click Clear browsing data. Quit all browser windows and re-open the browser. Cookies can also be disabled completely, usually by changing the privacy settings in your browser. This process may vary based on various browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Explorer).
4. Personalized Pricing
This is another hot topic. Customer profiling or individualized pricing is determined by the products and services and prices you select when online shopping. If you usually opt for high-end items, are the prices you see higher? And do travellers searching on iOS devices see higher online prices than others?
This is just another reason why it’s best to clear your cache and cookies periodically, especially before online shopping.
5. Return Fares aren’t always cheapest
Use the ITA Google matrix search engine to find best flight combinations. For instance, booking a return flight for one destination can end up being more expensive than booking two one-way flights. I just did a quick search using both return and one-way flights from JFK to LAX and received a $55 lower fare if two one-way flights were reserved. Savings can be huge so take the time to check one-way fares when buying a round trip or multi-city ticket.
6. Sign up for Price Alerts
By now, most aggregators and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) have equipped their search sites to offer price alerts. Be sure to sign up for these alerts so you’ll know if there’s been a price drop. Flight Network goes a step further offering Price Drop Protection. If the price drops after you’ve reserved, they offer a credit for that amount.
7. Search more sites faster to find better deals
The more travel search sites you browse, the more likely you’ll find better prices. But downloading multiple travel search apps on your mobile is time-consuming. Opptee is a single travel browser app that enables you to choose your favorite travel searches with just one download. You get 99+ of the best travel search sites in one place with access to thousands of travel options.
One of Opptee’s time-saving features allows you to enter travel details once and the app automatically populates those details across multiple travel searches making comparison shopping fast and easy.
And one final reminder – because you find the best price on a particular site once don’t assume that same site or app will return the best price next time. It’s wise to check other options.
Try these flight search tips and let us know if you have success or if you have others to share.
*Note: None of the companies or products listed here have contacted us, paid or requested we mention them. All references are entirely the result of Opptee travel searches.*
Opptee: One App. All Travel.