The art of airline hacking!
1. CHOSE THE BEST BOOKING ENGINE
• Sky Scanner
• Just Fly
• Cheap Air
These booking engines and others work very similarly to each other - yet they will all show different prices at different times. They allow you to choose your destinations, price range, layover preference, shortest flight times, and more.
If you have the flexibility to leave a day or two before or after your desired departure date, then I always suggest at least viewing the prices for these days - by selecting "flexible dates". By doing so, the booking engine will provide you with a grid showing the different dates and prices so you can compare. Sometimes flight are half the price on a near by date!
Searching different bookings engines is going to save you money when it comes to bookings flights. Booking engines play against each other and sometimes they even bid against themselves. (See number 2 for more on that!) Just because one site found you the cheapest price last time you purchased a flight, this doesn’t mean it is going to have the cheapest option the next time you go to purchase a flight.
Sites such as Kayak aggregate flights into one place, making it easier to compare prices and airlines. Even if you are the kind of person who prefers to book directly with the airline website, it is always best to check these kinds of sites prior and then go to the airlines website to ensure you aren’t getting ripped off.
2. CHECK MULTI-CITY FLIGHTS
This can work exceptionally well if you are traveling through Southeast Asia or Europe with a flexible schedule!
3. CLEAR YOUR CACHE
After you have completed your flight research, came up with the best options/prices and are ready to book your flight - CLEAR YOUR CACHE! This will wipe all of those pesky, invisible, "things" hiding out on your computer and provide you peace of mind, knowing you aren’t being tracked.
Booking engines raise the prices to create a sense of urgency to get you to buy quickly. Have you ever gone to book a hotel and it says "only 3 rooms left" - this is a perfect example of Urgency Marketing. There is strategy behind all of these sites, so you need a strategy too - to beat them at their own game.
Once you clear your cache - a lot of times you will see the price drop. It can range anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars!
Tip: Please see below for instructions on how to clear your cache. It is always different, depending on which browser you use.
4. MAKE SURE YOU BOOK AT THE RIGHT TIME
According to a 2016 Huffington Post study the best time to book your flight is exactly 54 days prior to departing. If you miss the 54th day - then stick to the "prime booking window" of 121 - 21 days before your trip.
"Fifty-four days before takeoff is, on average, when domestic airline tickets are at their absolute lowest price. And if you don’t hit 54 days on the head, you should usually book between 112 to 21 days before your trip — within the “prime booking window” — for the lowest possible prices. In this window, ticket prices typically hover near the lowest price they’ll ever reach."
Read Huffington Post Article Here.
5. SET FLIGHT ALERTS
This method will deliver you the cheapest airfare to your inbox daily (or weekly) instead of checking fares every day leading up to your departure date.
Let’s use Kayak for example (since it is my favorite booking engine). Sign into Kayak and set-up your fare alert - you can select the frequency and types of results you prefer. I suggest asking for a daily update if you are near your departure date and ask for lowest price if your travel dates are flexible.
• You have chosen the best booking engine
• You have cleared your cache
• You have been regularly checking fares
• You have set up fare alerts
• You have chosen the best time to book