15 Tips & Hacks For Getting The Best Deal On Flights

15 tips and hacks on how to get good deals on airline tickets. I’m Chris, this is Yellow Productions. I do travel guides that are fun, informative and entertaining. In this video I’m gonna be telling you how to get the most bang for your buck when you’re flying in the air. This video is part of my series on how to get good deals on travel. If you’re interested in how to get good deals on hotels and rental cars, those are two separate videos. You’ll find links at the end of this video, or in the description below. This video we’re talking all about airline tickets. My first tip to get good deals on airline travel is to be flexible. Be flexible with where you wanna go, and when you wanna go, and how you want to go. If you wanna go to a specific place, on a specific day, when everybody else wants to go, like Christmas, News Years, or July 4th, well guess what, there’s no go deals to be had on those days. But if you’re pretty flexible on where you wanna go, like you’re like hey, I don’t really care where I go, but as long as it’s in this month, for five to seven days, this and that, you can find some pretty good deals. So now that we’ve established that you’re flexible, many search engines have a flexible dates feature. You can put in a city pair, where you’re starting, and where you’re going, on United or Kayak, or those sorts of things, and you an say flexible dates, and many airline fare search engines will give you like a calendar and show you what days are the cheapest to go. It can be amazing sometimes what a few days can make in the price of airfare. I’ve seen differences of 500 to $1,000 on tickets from the U.S. to Europe, just by moving a few days left or right. In addition to flexible dates, if you’re flexible on your destination, well a lot of search engines also have like an explore destinations feature. Google Flights calls it Explore Destinations. Kayak has a feature where you can put in the city that you’re starting from, and see basically what all the fares look like to everywhere else in the world from that starting city. So those are great ways just to look and say hey, I wanna go to Europe, what’s the cheapest place to go to Europe. And you might find every city to go to is $1,500, but for some reason, Denmark is 600, because some particular airline is running a fare sale. And how would you find it otherwise? Well it’d be really hard to find, but when you look at the data and the flight fares in this way, it can be pretty easy to see. Airline prices can often be counterintuitive. Where you might think that the further you go, the more it costs, and it doesn’t always work that way. I often find it more expensive to fly from Los Angeles to New York City than it is to fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo. One of the reasons why, you’ll see a lot of my videos in Asia because it’s actually a lot cheaper to fly to Asia than it is to a lot of other destinations in the U.S. from Los Angeles. My second tip for getting good deals on flights is to use multiple search engines when you’re looking at fares. I typically start with Kayak, that is my favorite flight search engine. My second favorite is Google Flight. Momondo and Skyskanner are good options as well. Don’t just stick to the search engines. Also look at the airline websites as well. Because you might find flights price out differently on the search engines and on the airline’s own website. So make sure you’re checking a lot of different places to find the cheapest fare. Tip number three, plan in advance. What do I mean by advance? I mean start your travel planning at least 12 weeks out. 12 weeks out you should start looking at fares, see what they look like, search every couple days, and you should book your travel at least six weeks out. Six weeks out is about when the prices start to creep up, and on average, prices between 12 and six weeks are the cheapest for most destinations. The exceptions to this rule are if you’re booking award flights, then you may want to be booking a year in advance, when the award schedule opens. It changes, depending upon different airlines. Some airlines is 365 days, other airlines it’s 330 days, but that’s when they put their award availability out, and so in that case, you’ll wanna be booking that well ahead of time. Or, you might wanna be booking it last minute. Many airlines open up a lot of their award seats one, two, three days before travel, because they’re like these seats didn’t sell, they’re clearly not going to sell, I’m going to make this available for award miles. And the final exception to booking 12 to six weeks in advance is holiday travel. If you know you’re going to be traveling during Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th, and you know it, and you’re certain, and there won’t be an exceptions, you won’t change, then book those out early, because those prices really don’t go down, because the airlines know lots of people will be traveling. But you have to be certain you’re traveling, because if not, and you have to change your flight a whole bunch of times, the change fees will eat you alive. Tip number four, know how to spot a good price. How do you know how to spot a good price? Well, as I mentioned, if you start your planning 12 weeks out and start doing a search every day, you’ll start to see what the fares look like for that route and destination that you’re going to. Kayak has this thing called like a price forecast. It will tell you whether it thinks the airfares are gonna go up, whether they’re gonna go down, whether it’s gonna remain the same. But airfare prices fluctuate wildly. Kind of like the weather, and yes the difference between a Monday and a Tuesday, not because they’re particular days, but just because you searched today doesn’t mean that that $1,000 airfare you found L.A. to Tokyo is gonna be there tomorrow. Tomorrow it might be $600, or it might be $1,400. So, know what that good fare looks like and book it when it gets good. Tip number five, pay attention to the fare rules. So you’ve been doing your searching, and you found what looks like a good fare, but you’re like I’ll maybe wait a day or two, ‘cause it’s gonna go down. Well before you do that, check out the fare rules for that fare. It may have a seven, 14, 21 day advance purchase. If you’re on day 22, maybe you don’t wanna wait for 21, because you might quickly expire that fare you’re looking for. Also, take a look at when airlines advertise fare sales, and some reason you can’t find it, well it might have a Saturday stay over requirement, or some other funky requirement that has a minimum length of stay in that destination. Tip number six, look out for fare sales. How do you find out what’s on sale? One of the best ways is just to sign up for airline email lists. I know it’s a bunch of spam in your already crowded inbox, but it’s a great way to just get fed things like oh, Southwest now has Hawaii on sale, or United has fare sales to Asia. When they advertise fare sales, the prices are usually going to be pretty good. Some of the other ways to find good deals, there are a bunch of websites that basically aggregate good deals. My favorite is called theflightdeal.com. And it’s one that assumes you’re flexible on your destination, and it basically has a list of airports and you can look up and say hey, look at LAX, and tell me what all the good fares are from LAX as they come up. The other category of good deals are mistake fares, and that’s when the airline really meant to charge $2,000 for this ticket, and now they’re charging $200, because somebody typed it in wrong. A good place to find those is on flyertalk.com. Flyertalk, it’s a forum for frequent fliers, but mistake fares, those can be hit or miss, because when you book them, the airline might actually choose not to honor the fare if it truly is a mistake. Tip number seven, when you’re looking for tickets, look as one person. What do I mean by that? Well when you go to an airline search engine, you can have a drop down and select how many people you’re searching for. Sometimes the cheap fare classes, when airlines fare classes, they basically advertise their tickets in certain buckets or classes, and the cheapest fare bucket or class may only have one ticket available. And so if you’re searching for two tickets, then that search engine will just pass up that single cheap fare, and make you buy the more expensive fare that has two seats available. But one of the tricks on this is oftentimes that one that only has one available, well you could buy the single seat, and then oftentimes the airline will replenish that one, so there’s another one as well. And if you find out that you’ve bought that one, and they don’t replenish it with another cheap seat ticket that you can buy, well most airlines have a 24 hour refund, no questions asked policy, so in that case, you could just refund it, and then you could buy your two tickets. Or, but if you bought the two, they’d both be expensive. At least if you bought one and then another one, you’d have one cheap one, and then one that was slightly more expensive. Tip number eight, look at one way fares. Yes, sometimes it can be cheaper to book one way fares than a round trip. Also, you can do a round trip by combining multiple carriers. Yes it is possible to fly United Airlines in one direction, and JetBlue on the way back. A lot of search engines now, Kayak for example, will show these as hacker fares, because they are on two different carriers. But something to think about if you’re booking these tickets on two different carriers, be certain you’re gonna go and not gonna change. Because if you are gonna change, then now you’re changing two one way tickets, or things on different carriers, you may end up paying twice as many change fees. Tip number nine, fly a budget carrier. There are lot of budget carriers out there now. Southwest, Norwegian, Ryanair, WOW Air. I did just do a whole video about some of the best and worst airlines, and often the discount carriers get some of the worst ratings. But if you know what you’re getting, and you’ve got a really good fare, and you don’t have to check bags, and you’re not connecting, and you don’t really care if you’re getting there on time, well then you can get some really good deals by flying the budget carriers. Tip number 10, these are starting to get more advanced. This one is to book a ticket from a different city, or in a different currency. What do I mean about booking from a different city? Well when you book a ticket, it basically assumes a certain country that you’re issuing that ticket in. But if you go to the airline’s international website, for example, instead of buying a Japan Airlines ticket form the U.S. website, you buy a Japan Airlines ticket from the Japanese website, then that ticket will be sold in Japan, and it will be paid for in Japanese yen. And often when the tickets are sold in a different city or country, with a different currency, you can find that you can get a better deal, either because of the exchange rate or just the way that they’re actually marketing that ticket in that country. Tip number 11, use a travel agent or a consolidator. So, I know earlier I said search multiple search engines, search the airline website themselves, but some airlines, and particularly the Asian carriers, they don’t list all of their fares on online search engines, or on their website, and they often offer heavily discounted fares only to travel agents or consolidators. Many of these fares will be limited in how many they release. We’ve flown a lot of these inexpensive fares when we go to Taiwan, and when we call up the travel agent, we’ll say like hey, we’re looking to go from this place to this place on this date. The travel agent will often say well those fares aren’t available right now, but I can put you on a wait list, and then if those fares become available, I’ll let you know. So that’s something where you kinda have to have a relationship with that travel agent, that then has that relationship with that airline. Tip number 12, book a connecting flight. Yes, it’s counterintuitive that a connecting flight that requires more plane time and more miles flown, can actually be cheaper. Well the airlines know that people prefer direct flights, and so direct flights can often be more expensive. So, if you’re okay spending more time getting to your destination, and occupying more of that airline’s resources, well then it can often be less expensive for those tickets. Just make sure you allow yourself plenty of time in that connecting city. Please don’t book a 30 minute connection ever. Tip number 13, this tip and the next tip are definitely more in the travel hacking category, ‘cause this is pretty advanced. But this one is to book a hidden city ticket. What is a hidden city ticket? Well, that is if you’re starting at point A, and you’re going to point B, a hidden city ticket is a ticket that the airline basically sells you as a flight from these two places, but has a stopover in the middle. And they don’t really advertise that it has a stopover, but it does. It’s different than a connecting flight, and what you do is instead of actually going from point A to this point, and going here, what you do is you book that ticket, but you actually get off at this intermediate point. And it’s surprising that sometimes airlines, it can be cheaper to fly all the way here, than it can be here. Why, because maybe they’re trying to compete with some other airlines for travel to this point, but this hidden city ticketing, the airlines really don’t like it. And if you are gonna get off at that point in the middle, make sure you don’t check any luggage, because at the point that you don’t board your next flight, well, they cancel your ticket, they cancel the rest of your ticket, and if you had checked bags, well your checked bags would likely be continuing on to that next destination. The best website to search for hidden city tickets is called skiplagged.com. But to tell you really how much the airlines don’t like hidden city ticketing, United Airlines actually sued Skiplagged. Though Skiplagged won, and so they continue to operate. So if you are going to book some hidden city tickets, probably don’t do it too much, because you don’t really want the airlines to profile you as someone who does that all the time. Before I go on to the next point, fellow explorers, I want to ask you what tips do you have for getting good deals on flights that I missed? Well one of the things I love about doing this channel is the community that we’ve built, and I learn a ton from you, so please let me know what I haven’t thought of. Tip number 14 is to do a fuel dump. What’s a fuel dump? A fuel dump is when you book a ticket in such a way that it causes the ticket to price without fuel surcharges. One of the things that’s made airline tickets expensive recently, a few years back there was this whole thing about fuel being expensive, and so the airlines starting adding fuel surcharges. And there are certain techniques to basically get the airlines to not include that fuel surcharge. And it essentially has to do with adding a leg to the end of a trip, to someplace that you aren’t gonna fly and by adding that leg to the end of the trip, then the fuel doesn’t add onto it. And you don’t intend to fly. So an example, and you’re typically flying through different airports, so you might start at LAX, and you might fly into Tokyo Haneda then you fly back from Tokyo Narita to Burbank, and then you go from Burbank to the Caribbean. And this leg from Burbank to the Caribbean, when you add that to this ticket, it actually makes the whole ticket cheaper because it drops out the fuel surcharges. I’m not using this as a specific one, like I don’t know that if you put that in there, it will price out that way, but airlines don’t like this either, and frankly, this is a whole ‘nother advanced topic. If you wanna get into this, just search for fuel dumps. You’ll dive into a whole deep dump of information. Tip number 15, book award tickets. Don’t use your hard earned cash at all, use those airline miles that you earned from credit cards, that you earned for flying, and award tickets can be a great way when the actual dollar prices are huge to get an inexpensive award ticket. Award tickets, they often don’t really fluctuate their price, assuming you can still get a saver or good priced award throughout the year, but when those fares to New York City are crazy, the award ticket prices can often still be had at a reasonable amount. There’s a whole ton of tips and techniques for getting the best prices on award tickets, but that is a topic for a future video. I wanna talk about some things that you may have heard will get you good deals, but don’t matter at all. One, the day of the week. It doesn’t matter at all what day of the week you pick. I mean it might be that the prices are more expensive tomorrow, and they were cheaper yesterday, but that’s not because today’s a Tuesday, and they’re more expensive on Wednesday, and they’re cheaper on Monday. That is so not the case. The time of day also doesn’t matter. You may have heard to book after midnight, because that’s when the cheapest fares get loaded. Maybe back in the day they did, but airline systems, they load in new fares constantly You might have also heard people to say to use incognito mode on your browser. That pretty much doesn’t work. Three more things that don’t matter, burying incense, standing on one foot, or human sacrifice. If you’re planning to do that one, you can put down the knife, and instead, watch one of my other videos that are part of my travel advice series. You can click either of these to watch, or find links in the description below, to more great travel advice to get good deals on rental cars, hotels and all sorts of things. Well I won’t say goodbye, because I’ll see you in one of these videos.