The impacts of inflation are felt everywhere right now, from the small items like produce to those gas pump prices that really sting to elevated housing prices. Consumers are really noticing an increase in price is airfare. Gone are the mid-pandemic days of snagging an international round-trip ticket for half the regular rate. People are traveling again so the demand for airline tickets has led to a surge in pricing. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the high cost of jet fuel drove prices up even higher. CNBC reports that consumers spent 28 percent more on airline tickets in March of 2022 compared to the pre-pandemic time of March of 2019.
If you have the travel bug, these high ticket prices can put a major damper on your plans. But if you’re resourceful and know where to look, you can still slash some dollars off of that airfare cost. MADAMENOIRE has got you covered with great tips on how to do it.
A study by Cheap Air found that the lowest fare for a flight changes an average of 62 times during the 11 months leading up to it. It also found that flights tend to be cheapest within four months to three weeks before the flight. That’s a good indicator that you should track the cost of your flight for a while before booking (if you have the time). You can use sites like Airfare Watchdog or Google’s Explore Flight tool to track the price of tickets on multiple airlines to your desired destination.
Instead of choosing the exact days you plan on traveling and basing your air travel around that, flip it. Don’t request those PTO days or book that hotel until you’ve explored the cost of your flight. You could find that it’s significantly cheaper if you’re willing to move your trip back or up a few days. Many airlines have low-fare calendars that let you explore the cheapest days to travel to your destination.
Curate Your International Flight
If you’re flying internationally to a remote destination, look into several flight paths. Setting your destination as the final destination could result in a pricey trip. Instead, try booking a round trip to the nearest major hub – like Heathrow in London, if you’re going somewhere in the UK countryside. Then, look into booking a second, separate flight to get to your final destination. Sometimes, setting the first flight as a stand-alone to a major hub can mean a discount.
Consider Different Airports
If you’re flying to an area that has multiple airports, don’t forget to compare the prices for each. While one might be a 30-minute drive to your final destination, you could find that the price of the rental car is far less than the price of the airfare to the closest airport. You could also look into cheap shuttles or trains that go from the more affordable airport to your final destination.
Check Back Within 24 Hours
This is the airline industry’s best-kept secret: the 24-hour flight rule. It was set by the Department of Transportation and states that, if a ticket holder buys a ticket directly with an airline, they are allowed to cancel it for a full refund within 24 hours of purchase. This comes in handy when you notice your airline offers a lower price for the same ticket, within a day of booking.
Be Open To Layovers
Being stuck in an airport for several hours is no fun, but getting out to see a new city is, and that’s what you can do with a long layover. Flights with layovers tend to cost less than direct flights. The longer the layover (and the more stops), the cheaper the flight. If the savings are substantial, try changing your perspective on that seven-hour layover in Chicago. Exit the airport and grab lunch on the water or take a tour. Then check back in for your connecting flight.
Explore Travel Credit Cards
There are some excellent travel rewards cards worth exploring if you pack up to jet around the world often. Some offer high percentage of cashback on all travel-related purchases. Others are airline-specific credit cards, giving you extra miles every time you fly with the affiliated airline. Certain major credit cards get discounts on flights when you book through their travel portal. If you’re a frequent flier, then it’s time to consider a card that rewards you for it.
Become An Expert Packer
Often, that airline ticket looks cheap but by the time you add one bag, the price has doubled. A $100 ticket from LA to NY becomes $200 once you add a suitcase. If this is your problem area, it’s time to become an expert packer. Invest in multi-functional pieces that you can mix and match, letting you create 10 outfits out of three items. Find foldable, compressible flat shoes. Purchase toiletries when you get there. Don’t let over-packing tendencies cost you a pretty penny.