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Tricks to Save Money on Airline Tickets

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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.

Use these easy tips and tricks to save money buying 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.

Read5 tricks to save money on travel

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.

Read: How to fly free for two years

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!)

Read: Tips for flying with a baby or toddler

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.

Read: Airport reviews on TripAdvisor

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.

Read: What happens when you miss your flight

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.

Read: How to get a row to yourself on the plane

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 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Read: 7 things to make a long flight more comfortable

10. Use Your Discounts

Some airlines offer discounts for students, seniors, and the military. But only Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines offer bereavement fares.

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

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.

Some airlines like Spirit and Frontier charge for everything from carry-on bags, checked bags, even a cup of water!

So add up all possible fees and compare prices before you buy your ticket.

Read: How to avoid baggage fees

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)

Read: Secret travel hack – What to do if your flight is canceled

14.  Cancel Within 24 Hours

For flights booked from the US, you can cancel within 24 hours and get a full refund. IF you booked one week or more prior to departure.

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.

Pro Tip: You get a refund on the difference in price and a $50 travel credit when you book through Expedia and/or Travelocity.

Read: Save an American Airlines Ticket Price for 7 Days

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:

Read: The ultimate packing list

Read: How to get free breakfast at hotels

Read: How to get free internet at hotels

Pin this to your travel, vacation, or travel tips board:

Travel like a pro with these simple tricks to save money on airline tickets. Click on this pin to read more

Now that you’ve booked your airline tickets, remember to book your hotel.

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Saturday 23rd of July 2016

Great tips. We just got back from a very expensive trip, so wish I would have implemented these.We are already planning our November holiday trip, so I will surely see what I can use from this list.

Debra Schroeder

Saturday 23rd of July 2016

Hi Michelle,

Hope these tips help you get cheap airline tickets for your November trip.


Saturday 23rd of July 2016

These are all great tips and tricks for flying on the cheap!! I will definitely be using some of these the next time I fly!!

Debra Schroeder

Saturday 23rd of July 2016

Hi ricci,

Awesome, happy you enjoyed the tips. Hope they help you score a cheap flight. :)


Saturday 23rd of July 2016

I love these tips! Flying with a family of 7 is a very expensive event. We very often try the first flight of the day route and that is very often cheapest. I just took the 5 am train to NY last week and yes, it was much cheaper but it was really painful to be awake and at the train station that early!!

Debra Schroeder

Saturday 23rd of July 2016

Hi Sara,

So glad you liked the tips. Ouch, a 5 am train, painful.


Friday 22nd of July 2016

I've just started looking for flights for my next trip. I'll have to use a few of these tips!

Debra Schroeder

Friday 22nd of July 2016

Hi Sadie,

Great timing. Hope these tips help. :)

Charles McCool

Friday 22nd of July 2016

Some good tips.

Being flexible is definitely my primary rule. Better deals are available when you are flexible about when, where, and how you fly. I advise people to look at a range of dates rather than just one day. You never know when a group has booked a block of seats on what is traditionally the cheapest flight (first flight on Wednesday or last flight on Saturday, etc.).

Nonstop flights are often less expensive because there are fees associated with each airport used. Of course the fares depends on many factors and a carrier may make a nonstop flight exponentially more expensive. Totally depends on the routing.

Split ticketing is one of my favorite creative strategies. For a long haul flight that requires a connection, you can often find an interim connection airport and buy two roundtrips to save money. For instance, JFK to Sydney can be broken into JFK to SFO (or OAK/SJC) and SFO to SYD flights that are often less expensive than JFK-SYD (which will stop in SFO anyway). Bonus is that you can pick preferred carriers and create your own stopover vacations, which you cannot do with a traditional roundtrip.

Oh, open jaw itineraries are often less expensive (and more convenient) than a straight roundtrip.

Then there is the whole points game to get free, discounted, or upgraded flights.

Travel Happy, y'all.

Debra Schroeder

Friday 22nd of July 2016

Hi Charles McCool,

Thanks. Dang it, you stole my thunder. LOL. :)

Was saving split ticketing, open jaws, and miles and points for a second post.

Have an awesome weekend. :)

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