Tips to Save on Airfares
When booking airlines tickets for a weekend getaway, last minute flights, planning a vacation or any other type of travel, saving on airfares is the first thing you want to do. CheapOair has compiled a Top 10 List on How to Save on Airfares before you book your travel, so you can maximize your vacation spending by booking cheap flights.
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Tips to Save on Airfares Published On: March 16, 2009 
  1. Off-Peak Travel versus Peak Travel: Traveling off-peak would be Monday through Thursday mornings. Airline tickets tend to be lower during off-peak travel times. During peak travel times, airlines can charge anywhere from slightly more, to exorbitantly higher fares, it just depends on the airline. Peak travel times are Thursday afternoons through Monday afternoons/evenings, including weekends, and the day before and the day after a holiday, and if you're traveling to a destination during "on-season" versus "off-season". If you want to travel to, say, a warm climate destination during peak season (winter months), airline tickets will likely cost more. Booking flights to cooler climate destinations during summer and late spring months would be considered “off-season” travel. However, this isn’t always the rule. Visiting Orlando, Hawaii, Cozumel, Acapulco, and other popular destinations during spring and summer months is also considered “on-season” travel. If you know you want to travel during a high peak travel destination book far in advance. Though the rule is at least 21-days in advance, you’ll get a cheaper fare if you book 60-90 days in advance. There might be a lot of restrictions on your airline ticket, but if you weigh the restrictions and feel they aren’t applicable, than it’s probably worth the investment.

  2. How to Book Cheap Airlines Tickets: Book your flights at least 21-days in advance. Travel mid-week and spend a weekend at your destination, if possible. You'll have a wider selection of seats and travel times at cheaper prices to choose from, than if you book a week or two in advance. Request your seat preference when booking your flight. You might not always get the seat you want. But, if you know you want to sit on the aisle as close to the front of the plane as possible, state that when making your reservation over the phone or online. Book an e-ticket versus a paper ticket; this can be a more affordable choice because paper tickets involve extra fees. Additionally make sure your tickets are refundable, transferable and changeable before making your booking. In other words, know the rules and restrictions before finalizing your airline ticket. Lastly, if the OTA (Online Travel Agency) or airline you are purchasing tickets from offers online coupons for flights, you can save additional money.

  3. Compare Airports: Instead of flying into a main hub like JFK, LAX, SFO, etc., choose an airport 30-minutes to an hour outside of your destination, you can save a lot of money on airline tickets. If you’re researching flights into JFK, compare prices for flights into Newark, New Jersey. Instead of flying into Los Angeles, another main hub, fly into Burbank. Flights into Oakland might be a lot cheaper than flights into San Francisco. Conversely, if the cost of a rental car or taxi to the main city you’re traveling to is the same as what it would cost to fly into a main hub, choose the main hub, unless you’re renting a car anyway. In the end, you’ll save a bit more money.

  4. Plan Travel in Advance: The rule is at least 21-days in advance. However, planning your travel 21-days in advance, or 30/60/90-days in advance can save you even more money. Know where you want to go, the duration of time you'd like to stay and the season you'd prefer to travel. Ask yourself a few questions, "Is where I want to go considered "off-season" travel?" If it is, great, you're likely to get a cheaper flight. "Am I flexible on my travel dates and times? Can I stay through a weekend?" If you know you can stay through a weekend and your travel dates are flexible, even better. When you're shopping for tickets, be sure to enter a few different departure times from your origin and a few different returning times from your destination. Compare the prices and book the cheapest airline ticket you can find. "Can I afford to stay through a weekend?" If you can, terrific, even if it means departing on a Monday night and returning on a Tuesday.

  5. Miles: If you are part of a Frequent Flyer Program through an airline or multiple airlines via any of your credit cards, be sure to let the agent you are booking with know this, so they can tell you whether you’re eligible for a free flight, an upgrade or a reduced priced airline ticket. Most major carriers offer Frequent Flyer Programs and are also partnered with other airlines, hotels and car rental companies, which offer even greater discounts and rewards. In addition to this, some credit card companies offer miles on certain airlines. Talk to your credit card company and find out which airlines you can receive rewards and miles from.

  6. Last Minute Airfare: Though last minute airfares can be incredibly expensive, if you act quickly and you're able to make a flight quickly, you can actually book great last minute airfare deals. Flexibility is the name of the game, with airports, flight times and connecting flights. Flexibility can save you $2 to $200, or more. If you're a senior, a student, in the military, part of an affinity club, or you're traveling with small children, mention that when booking, you might be entitled to a discount. Every penny counts, especially when booking last minute airlines tickets.

  7. Affinity Groups: Affinity groups like, AAA (American Automobile Association) and AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) are organizations that you can become a member of. AARP can be joined after the age of 50. You can join AAA any time you wish. Affinity groups are partnered with restaurants, hotels, airlines and a host of other product and service companies that offer members discounts when purchasing a product or service. When booking flights, be sure to mention this to the agent your booking with, or if you’re booking online, see if there’s a field for you to specify that you are a member of AAA or AARP.

  8. Taxes and Fees: When booking online, be sure to check Taxes and Fees, so you know exactly what the end price is before making your booking. Airlines have many fees, such as; fuel surcharges, booking charges for reservations made over the phone, fees for frequent flier miles redemption, flight cancellation fees, re-booking fees on date changes, pre-flight seat selection charges, checked and excess baggage charges, curb-side baggage checking charges, regular meal charges, various taxes and fees, and also pet charges. Be sure to check the Taxes and Fees before making your booking. Ask the agent if you’re booking your flight over the phone. If you’re booking online, you’ll see a Taxes and Fees schedule (usually a hyperlink) that opens in a new browser with details.

  9. Consolidators: Consider booking through a consolidator. Airline consolidators are companies who buy airline seats in bulk from individual airlines and resell them to customers at much cheaper prices. CheapOair is a consolidator and has over 18 million negotiated airfares with several airlines. The end result is incredibly cheap, year round airfare deals. Other notable OTAs can also be consolidators.

  10. Flexibility: Before booking your flights, even though you know where you want to go and when you’d prefer to depart and arrive, consider remaining flexible on flight times, airports flying in and out of, and dates and times of travel. By remaining flexible, you can save a great deal of money on your airlines tickets.
 
 
 



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