Finding ways to book cheaper flights is now more prevalent than ever, as prices are on the rise. Indeed, according to The Times, “the price of flights rose by 44 per cent in the past year as airlines capitalised on pent-up demand for holidays”. It appears prices are expected to rise again in the second half of this year, too, as the number of expected holidaymakers in a post-COVID world continues to increase.
With this in mind, it’s certainly worth considering your options when it comes to looking for cheaper flights. Where is the best place to look? When should you book? And are there any extras that you can include when booking that’ll save money in the long run? In this article, we’ll break down some of the best cheap flight hacks available in a bid to help you cut costs.
Flight Comparison Sites
Comparison sites are a quick and easy way to search for your chosen flights at the best price. They crawl multiple travel agents and airline providers and tend to offer pricing options for hotels and car hire too. Although booking directly with the airline can have its benefits (there’s more on that later in this article), we certainly recommend trying a comparison website first.
Sites like Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights are all good options and make it fairly easy to filter through the varying options to find a flight at a price that best suits you. Altering your departure airport, for example, might have an impact on price, whilst adding stop-overs during your journey can significantly reduce the overall cost too.
When using Skyscanner as an example (at the time of writing), the best price for a direct flight from London to San Francisco in October is £449.00, a journey that takes 11 hours. When filtering the search to include stop-overs, however, the price drops to as little as £363.00! The journey does take significantly longer, at almost 17 hours, and includes a stopover in LA.
Our advice here is to check several different providers when searching for the best flight prices, as they can show varying results. As they are comparison sites, they will pull results from a wide range of firms and we always recommend checking online customer reviews of the firm you’ve selected before confirming your purchase.
Try Booking Direct With Airlines
If you’re just looking to book flights, it can sometimes work out cheaper (and be a lot more convenient) if you book directly with the airline. The customer service you’ll receive tends to be a lot more in-depth and personal, and solving any potential issues can be a lot easier as you’re not having to deal with third-party providers.
Airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have handy deals pages on their websites, which highlight the best prices that they currently offer. These aren't just last-minute deals either - in fact, you can book flights months in advance on selected journeys and tailor your choices throughout the booking process.
A deal is always great to secure, but be sure to keep an eye out for what makes these offers so cheap. As an example, some tickets may be sold without a complimentary hold luggage allowance or the ability to select your seat (these then become add-ons, which inevitably end up costing you extra on each leg of your journey).
Sign-up for Airline Email Updates
Stay in the loop for when these promotional offers and discounts become available by signing up for email updates, directly from your chosen airline. They’ll often notify you of short-term and longer-term deals, meaning you can act immediately before the seats at the best prices sell out.
Can Package Holidays Save You Money?
They often can, especially if you plan on booking accommodation and other add-ons such as car hire as well. In some cases, you might find that a package holiday works out cheaper than the cost of a flight alone! Online travel agencies such as lastminute.com have plenty of deals and offers available throughout the year, and we’d certainly advise checking these out to see if anything meets your criteria. If you’re looking for hotels at competitive rates too, then why not check out our recent blog article on How to Get Cheaper Hotel Rooms?
Although most package holiday providers are ATOL protected, it's always worth double-checking before confirming your booking - this ensures you’re protected should anything go wrong and entitles you to a full refund.
For extra savings on package holidays, be sure to browse through the discount codes that we currently have available at a range of travel agents, such as lastminute.com, TUI, easyJet, Jet2holidays, First Choice and many more.
Last-Minute Charter Flights
Package holiday providers that have their own fleet of airliners (such as Easyjet, TUI and Jet2holidays) ‘reserve’ their flights, meaning they benefit when a flight becomes fully booked. However, flights to popular destinations don’t always sell out and when this happens, you’ll often find deals and discounted prices are offered in a bid to ‘get bums on seats’. If you’re relatively open-minded about where you’re flying to and don’t mind waiting until the eleventh hour, this could be a great way to save.
Use Flight Finders
Flight finders are companies that scour the internet and offer you the best possible price for your preferred dates. They work slightly differently to price comparison websites; instead of displaying the best price from a wide selection of providers they work to find hacks and other smart ways of saving you money.
Jack's Flight Club is an email subscription service that alerts customers whenever flight prices drop. They also offer alternate routes that might be cheaper, highlight when the best time to travel might be and they’ll even flag error fares - allowing you to jump on prices that were never meant to be released! They provide both free and paid subscription options and have over 1,500,000 active members.
Having tried Jack’s Flight Club for bookings in the past, we certainly recommend using them. They cover budget airlines as well as premium airlines and unearth deals, price drops and mispriced fares on both short and long-haul flights.
Consider Any Extras That You Might Need
When you’re focusing heavily on getting the best possible price for your flights, it can become easy to forget the other add-ons that might end up costing you more. Indeed, leaving things like airport car parking until the last minute can almost guarantee higher prices, as parking companies know you’ll have little option but to pay them. There are, however, services on hand to help tie these extras into one money-saving booking.
Holiday Extras is a handy online tool for travellers, and they offer everything from parking at the airport to hotels, airport lounges and travel insurance. You can book car hire with them too, as well as transfers and money exchange services. At MyVoucherCodes, we have a range of Holiday Extras discount codes and offers, so be sure to check out their retailer page on our website to save even more on your next airport experience.
As a former sports journalist and content creator, I swapped the press box for a permanent desk several years ago. Since giving match reports the red card, I have enjoyed developing my writing and research skills in a few other areas, and now I spend my time doing something I really enjoy - sharing the best ways to save on travel with our wonderful readers.
I love nothing more than exploring different parts of the world and learning about new cultures (and taking in the occasional sporting fixture, if at all possible). I’m just as happy on a quick city break in Lisbon as I am navigating my way across the width of America, and firmly believe everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy travelling regardless of their budget.