You want to buy your next airline ticket cheaper without paying unnecessary fees or more than the ticket is worth? Maybe you have already tried different search engines but just don’t know which one will show you the best deals. (Did you know that some search engines will probably never show you the best deals due to contracts they have with specific airlines?)
Then this post is for you! Here, you will learn how to always find the best flight deal in our Step-by-Step-Guide. You will not only find tips from my personal experience but also professional facts & tricks from my Tourism Management University studies.
What to find out in this post
- 1 How many weeks before your planned departure can you find the cheapest flights?
- 2 Which day is the best to look for good flights?
- 3 From which device should I book my flights?
- 4 In general…
- 5 How to find the cheapest flights online
- 6 1. Delete your Cookies
- 7 2. Open a new Incognito Window
- 8 3. Open Skyscanner or Momondo
- 9 4. Choose between One-Way, Return & Multi-City
- 10 5. Enter the Details of your planned flight into the Search Mask and click on “Search”
- 11 Did you find your perfect flight? Then click on “Go to Site” or check more Details
- 12 More Sites to find the perfect Flight Deal
How many weeks before your planned departure can you find the cheapest flights?
This is actually hard to tell as flight prices also depend on the demand.
But in general, we can say that flights become more expensive the nearer the departure date is.
I usually book my flights around 6 weeks before departure if possible but already start comparing prices around 8 weeks prior.
If you can’t wait to get your flights, you might also get lucky with Early-Bird-Offers.
Which day is the best to look for good flights?
Many people don’t know that not only the day of your departure matters but also the day of your purchase can make a big difference regarding the price.
After deciding where to go, often we can’t wait to book our flight. But be careful here. The flight prices can differ a lot on different days of the week and can make a difference of several hundred USD. (Say What?!)
In general, flights are the cheapest on weekends as on weekends usually no one books business flights. Since business travelers are usually more flexible when it comes to pricing the costs of flights might be way higher during the week, especially, in the morning and early afternoon.
In my personal experience, I find the best flights between Saturday evening and (early) Monday Morning.
From which device should I book my flights?
One of the things that surprised me most in my E-Marketing class back in University was the huge fluctuation between prices depending on the device you book from. Even using different brands can already make a difference. Crazy, right?
To proof us that this theory was true my professor decided to do an experiment with us. In groups, we had to look up prices for the same Touristic Product using different devices and ways of checking. (e.g. tablet, App, Browser, Mac, Windows PC etc.) And the result was shocking.
What we found out:
- From a Computer is cheaper than from a mobile device (e.g. phone or tablet)
- From the Website is cheaper than from the App
- From Windows is cheaper than from Mac
Therefore, the probably smartest way to book your flight is from a Windows PC using the Internet-Browser.
The more flexible you are, the more money you can save when booking your flight.
Flexible to time
Not depending on summer vacation or high season? Great! Does your flight really have to be in week X? Maybe week Y is way cheaper. And if it has to be week X maybe flying on Tuesday instead of Monday can save some money. The flight at 3 pm might cost double of the flight at 6 am. If you don’t depend on a specific time there are many options to save some cash.
Flexible to location
Ok, your vacation is determined by work and quite short, so you want to make sure to leave on your first free day. Your nearest airport is in Philadelphia, but the flights from there are not quite cheap right now. How about flying from New York instead? Or another airport nearby. Maybe the flights from there are much more affordable at the moment.
Flexible to Destination
The flights available to Paris right now are way over my budget. How about going to London instead and seeing Paris next them when there are cheaper flights?
Of course, most of the time that you are looking for a flight your destination is already fixed. But if you are flexible in where you are going you can find great offers.
Flexible to Quality
Does it really have to be the luxury Emirates Flight? At the same day, there is a flight from a Low-Cost Carrier way cheaper. If you book this one even without luggage (just carry-on) you can save a lot of $. Especially, when only taking a short trip you can go without the free drink and Extra-Snack, right?
How to find the cheapest flights online
1. Delete your Cookies
It sounds like such a small detail but can have such a great effect. The way to delete your cookies depends on the Browser you are using. Often you can find them in Settings > History.
Even easier is to use the CC-Cleaner (Click here to download CC-Cleaner) which you can download for free.
The Cookies on your device help the search engine to analyze your behavior. Especially, when you have searched for this or similar flights before, the displayed prices might be higher than usual. That’s why it is important to delete your cookies before you look for your flight.
2. Open a new Incognito Window
When you use a Flight Search engine, they will receive information of you from your browser which can influence the price shown to you. To minimalize this information it is helpful to search for your flight from an Incognito-Window.
3. Open Skyscanner or Momondo
In my experience, Momondo and Skyscanner usually show me the best deals.
Sure, there can be exceptions but you are always free to compare with other sites as well. But most of the time, either Skyscanner or Momondo simply display the best flight deals.
Before I started using Momondo and Skyscanner, I used also others but often after I found a good deal, they add high credit card fees to the price which leads to higher prices than I was willing to pay in the first place.
4. Choose between One-Way, Return & Multi-City
Often, you can save some money when you purchase your return flight in the same booking. But it is never wrong to check for your flights separately as well as sometimes the best deal are flights from different airlines.
5. Enter the Details of your planned flight into the Search Mask and click on “Search”
If you are flying with others make sure to check your flight for one and two people separately and compare. Sometimes, there are special offers which are just available for one person.
The search results offer on top the Cheapest, the Quickest and the Best (Combination of Cheapest & Quickest flight). In an ideal case, all three flights are the same. If not you have to set priorities: Do you want to reach your destination fast or cheap?
On the left-hand side, you can add details to your flight such as whether you are looking for direct flights or you prefer a specific airline. But keep in mind, that the fewer details you add, the higher are the odds to find a really cheap flight.
Did you find your perfect flight? Then click on “Go to Site” or check more Details
Under every search result, you can find a small Button saying “See details”. Here, you can find different companies and websites offering this flight at different prices. Moreover, you get more information about this flight.
If you are happy with the flight you found you can click on “Go to Site”, which will connect you to the site on which this flight is offered to the displayed price. Here you can finally book your flight.
More Sites to find the perfect Flight Deal
Not happy with your Search Results? You want it even cheaper? No Problem! Luckily, there are even more tools out there that can help you find the greatest deals by looking at flights from another perspective. You can as well join a frequent flyer program for your favorite airline in order to save some more money.
Secret Flying – This is a website on which you can find the latest deals and offers from different airlines. Sometimes you have to be fast to catch the deals before it’s over but some of the offers run for several days/weeks. You can either look for a specific destination or check offers by region.
Fly4Free – It works similar to Secretflying. You can find recent flight offers and good deals.
Skiplagged – An unbelievable website, that checks even more flight opportunities for you. For instance: You want to fly from Thailand to Munich. But there is a flight from Thailand to Madrid with a Stopover in Munich, which is much cheaper than the direct flight to Munich. Skiplagged is checking that for you.
Author’s note: Please keep in mind that there can be always exceptions to the rules of the thumb stated above as airlines make their own prices. Especially Low-Cost-Carrier often don’t act according to those rules.