Airline tickets, especially for families, can be expensive. Unless you know a few tricks to get cheap airline tickets. Here are my favorite tips and tricks to save money on airline tickets.
Tricks to Save Money on Airline Tickets
Use these 15 easy tricks and you won’t get stuck paying too much for your airline ticket.
1. Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates
One of my favorite and easiest trick to save money on airfare is to be flexible with travel dates.
Who says that your vacation has to be from Saturday to Saturday? This can be as simple as flying on a weekday instead of a weekend.
And if you can travel during the off-season (when the kids are in school) airline tickets are usually cheaper.
2. Save $100 Off Your Airline Ticket
You get $100 off your airline ticket when you book online with these airlines:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air
- United Airlines
IF you apply for their credit card online when you book your ticket.
Buying multiple tickets? You can get $100 off each ticket when you buy each ticket separately.
3. First Flight
The first flight of the day is usually the cheapest flight.
Yeah, it’s painful waking up at o’dark thirty to get to the airport for a 6 am (or earlier flight) but the savings could be worth it.
However, short commuter flights, like San Diego to Los Angeles or New York to Washington D.C., no matter how early in the morning are not cheap.
4. Last Flight
The last flight of the day (especially if it’s a red-eye) is cheaper than flying mid-morning or early evening. But red-eye flights aren’t the end all.
There are two important things you should know about red-eye flights: Red-eye flights from vacation destinations like Hawaii will be crowded unless you fly during the off-season. Families with babies often book the last flight of the day. (One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make!)
5. Fly From Another Airport
You can save money on flights by flying from another airport.
It could be worth the drive to another airport (or even state) to save several hundred dollars off your airline ticket. For a family of four, this could easily be a $1,000 savings. But do the math to see if the savings are worth the time, hassle, and cost to drive to another airport.
This also works if you have to fly into an expensive city or a city that only has a regional airport. Flying to a nearby airport, even an hour’s drive away will save you money on airline tickets. For example, flights into Santa Fe can be crazy expensive. It’s a lot cheaper to fly to Albuquerque, rent a car and drive or take the train ($10 each way) to Santa Fe.
6. Consider a Connecting Flight
Flights with connections and direct flights (a stop but you don’t get off the plane) are often cheaper than non-stop flights.
Airlines use connections and stops to pick up more passengers at their hubs. So you’ll pay less for airline tickets with stops at a hub.
7. Split the Team aka Fly on Different Flights
Consider splitting the team and taking different flights. You can fly with one kid (or two) while your partner flies with the other/s.
Remember a family vacation doesn’t have to start at the airport. Especially if it means saving hundreds of dollars.
8. Book a One Way Ticket
One-way tickets can be cheaper than buying a round-trip ticket especially if there’s an airfare sale.
Compare prices for a round-trip ticket and then check the price for two one-way tickets.
9. Change Your Country
You can save money buying airline tickets when you change your country.
Because not all airlines sales and promotions are available in every country, by changing your country when searching on the airline website (or using a country-specific airline website) you can buy airline tickets for less.
I booked a $274 round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Dubai through a Norwegian travel agency’s website and paid in Norwegian krone. The same flight booked through a US website would have cost at least $800.
When paying in foreign currency, be sure to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees like the card_name.
10. Use Your Discounts
Most discounts can be booked online but some require you to call the airlines (which may mean an extra fee). For student discounts, you usually have to book through select travel agencies like STAtravel.com.
Are you a government employee traveling on official business? Consider flying United Airlines and pay less for your airline ticket.
11. Check for Extra Costs
Hidden fees and extra costs could mean that $39 flight might cost more than $150 flight.
So add up all possible fees and compare prices before you buy your ticket.
12. Cash back
You might already use a cash back site when shopping online. Some cash back sites, like TopCashBack, offer rebates for buying airline tickets.
Cash back amounts vary so check your favorite cash back websites before you book your airline ticket.
13. Fly on These Holidays
Fewer people are flying on these holidays:
- July 4 (business travelers aren’t flying and most families may have already left for their holiday trip)
- Easter (church and the Easter bunny comes early)
- December 25 (most people fly before Christmas so the airports and flights aren’t as crowded as the days leading up to the holiday)
14. Cancel Within 24 Hours
So if the price drops a few hours (or within 24 hours) after you bought your ticket, you can cancel and buy the ticket for the lower price.
Do NOT ask the airline to reprice the ticket. Because you’ll have to pay an expensive change fee.
15. Sign-up for Flight Price Alerts
Already know where you want to go? Save time by signing up for flight price alerts via email with:
Read: How to travel for free
You can save money buying airline tickets if you know a few simple tricks such as flying from another airport or changing your country when searching for airfare.
By using these 15 simple tips and tricks, you’ll pay less for airfare and have more money for other things.
Now that you know the tricks to save money on airline tickets, here are some additional travel tips:
Pin this to your travel, vacation, or travel tips board:
Now that you’ve booked your airline tickets, remember to book your hotel.
Comment, tweet, or share this post.
Get the best credit card bonuses.
Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.
Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.