Air Europa Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Sun Country Airlines
Swift Air LLC
Check Baggage Fee Policies
1. This One Goes Without Saying But...
There's always that person who waits until the very last minute to book a flight, but you're not alone. Because to the vast number of people who shop flights within this time period, it's not really advantageous for the industry to give discounts. In fact, they know that you need to go so bad that you'll just about pay anything for the ticket. Booking as soon as possible is one of the easiest ways to ensure you will get the lowest price. You should be able to secure the best rates if you book within three to six months from departure.
2. Set Price Alerts
Though they are not entirely 100% accurate, there are apps like Hopper, Kayak, SkyScanner and Google who offer price predictions based on algorithms, consumer trends, past history etc., so go ahead and set up an alert so you can get notifications when the trip increase, decreases or is predicted to be the best time to buy. One thing to remember is, there are no payment plans offered on individual flight reservations so you will need to purchase your ticket in full when you catch a great price otherwise you are at the mercy of the flight industries notorious by-the-minute price fluctuations.
3. Be Flexible
Another way to save money is by having flexible travel plans. Two of the easiest ways to find cheap flights is to fly mid-week or on the actual holiday (i.e. Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day) since fewer people travel on these days. You might also consider flying to a different airport, for example, flying into Tampa instead of Orlando can save you $30 a ticket. The alternate airport or travel dates might not be an option, but, flexibility is one of the easiest ways to lower your airfare costs.
4. Book a Connecting Flight
If you aren't in a hurry to get to your final destination, booking a connecting flight can be cheaper than a non-stop flight. The search engines will let you filter flight itineraries by non-stop, 1 stop, and 2+ stops. Even flying mixed carriers might be able to save you some cash as well.
5. Consider Discount Airlines
While a major airline can get you just about anywhere, the cost can also be notably more. There are some airlines out there that pride themselves in giving you more bang for your buck like Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Alasking and Norwegian Airlines. But shopping on discount airlines is not to be confused with shopping Bare-Fare type airlines that lead you in with an attractive low price then charge you for everything, including your air mask. Ok, I am just kidding. But the term Bare Fare means there are no free drinks or bags, including carry-ons; and “frill control,” which lets customers choose which options they will pay for. Spirit Airlines is a great example of a Bare-Fare Carrier. To maximize the benefits of flying these airlines you really gotta play by their rules.
6. Beware of Price Parity
When searching for flights consumers tend to spend several hours bouncing around to several sites looking for the lowest price. Little do they know many of the sites are owned by the same company and operate on a price-parity system which only lets price differ within a few bucks so it is unlikely that you will find drastically lower prices unless something is being compromised. In many cases airlines expect to recoup their losses from your low fare some other way be it baggage fees, seat assignments etc.
7. Browse Airline Specials
If you're going to wait until the final weeks to book, you might be able to find some last-minute deals directly from the carrier. This option can be hit or miss as it depends on how badly the carrier wants to sell any remaining seats. Or, if they recently launched a new route and are trying to generate interest. The good part is that these specials don't always require you to fly a red-eye flight just to save a few bucks!
8. Use an Airline Credit Card to Avoid Baggage Fees
If you need to check a bag, most airline rewards cards will let you waive the baggage fees for at least one traveling companion. The Delta Amex credit cards will let you check up to nine bags for free. The only two stipulations are you must book a flight directly with the carrier and use that credit card to pay for the flight. No problem, right?
9. Use Award Miles
If you would rather spend miles than cash, or maybe a combination of the two, miles can be most valuable when redeemed for expensive cash flights. There are many different award flight options as you can pool your points from a co-branded airline miles credit card like one of the Southwest credit cards with the points you earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can redeem your miles through the credit card travel portal or transfer them to your airline loyalty program to top-off your balance and book a flight directly from the carrier.
Here's a small bonus tip. If you do have to book an award flight at the last-minute, a good option can be Delta because they do not charge a "close-in" for award flights.
10. Use Your Credit Card Travel Credits
Not only do you earn bonus points with each airline purchase that can be redeemed for future award flights, but, you might also be able to use credit card benefits like your $200 air travel credit to pay for baggage fees and in-flight purchases with the Platinum Card from American Express while you earn 5 points per $1 on airfare purchases.
Plus, the complimentary airport lounge access and Global Entry fee reimbursement can also help you enjoy a few fringe benefits if you have a long layover (lounges) or want to skip the long security lines (Global Entry) when returning to the U.S.
Flexibility and booking early are two of the best tips for booking cheaper flights. While last-minute deals can also be found, your options will be limited. By comparing the prices and options with the carrier, third-party booking sites, and also taking your credit card rewards into account, you can easily find your cheaper flights with each trip. This information has been provided to you in part by Johnny Jet his article published on Forbes.com. Johnny Jet offers travel credit card guides, was named “one of the top best money-saving websites for travel, and has been featured on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and PBS.