Methods For Cutting Costs On Air Travel

Dec 21, 2023 By Susan Kelly

You may discover plenty of tips online for finding low-cost flights, such as being flexible with travel dates and looking into options at local airports. However, the cost reductions don't have to stop once you've found cheap airfare.

Purchasing flights is fraught with cost-saving opportunities, from memberships to various discount schemes to selecting the appropriate credit card. Here are seven tried-and-true methods for cutting flight prices.

Get Informed About Costs First

Given the wide variety of airline fees, it is essential to consider them when comparing ticket pricing. Current practices vary widely in terms of the imposition of bag fees. Even with their low fares, Spirit Airlines has customers pay $37 or more for a carry-on bag and the plane ticket cost.

You'll have to pay much more if you wait. Now even Frontier Airlines will charge you extra to bring your carry-on on board. The first checked bag and the suitcase are free on Southwest and JetBlue. Fees to make a change also range widely.

Book At The Best Time

The flight cost may change depending on when you buy your ticket. It's common for me to plan trips for months, but I only sometimes book my flights. I've gotten some of the best deals on tickets by buying them only a few weeks in advance.

The opinions of experts support this. There are optimal times to schedule both local and international flights, and these times have been the subject of academic research. Recent research has shown that fares often fluctuate 62 times over 11 months.

Use Other Fare Comparison Sites

There are several well-known flight search engines, but you've probably seen commercials for the more well-known ones, like Travelocity and Orbitz. The findings from these sites are decent but often duplicate those found on other sites.

If I can find a better deal somewhere, I will. As was previously noted, Airfare Watchdog is a helpful free service that consistently examines rates and notifies users through email of any significant price drops.

I get a couple of emails from this site weekly, and I notice substantial pricing changes. A decent fare in my email prompts me to make a purchase. The Travel Price Predictor feature of Bing Travel search is also quite helpful.

Secure Your Interest Rates

Even if you've already purchased your flight, there are always opportunities to save money. As long as it's more than a week before your flight, the law gives you 24 hours to cancel your reservation.

Cancel your previous reservation if you find a cheaper fare during that window and wish to make a new reservation. Several airlines will let you pay a little charge to guarantee a specific rate. You can make a reservation at a later date without incurring any additional fees.

Even if your vacation plans aren't set in stone, or you want to keep your options open, this is a fantastic method to guarantee a low cost for the future. The likelihood of really saving money is modest, but if you see an exceptionally cheap rate, it could be worth a shot.

Avoid Fees With Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

However, there is more to frequent flyer cards than merely collecting points. Numerous packages provide no-cost bonuses that can add up to significant savings. The majority of these cards come with complimentary checked luggage.

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is the most excellent option since it allows you to bring nine checked bags for free, saving you up to $450 for every round trip.

After account opening and annually afterward, cardholders of the Chase UnitedSM Explorer Card receive two United Club passes with a combined value of over $100. Priority boarding is a tremendous advantage, especially if you have a spot in the overhead compartment.

Go Beyond the Cargo Restrictions

There are a few workarounds available to avoid paying extra for checked bags. I always bring as much as possible within the weight limits to avoid paying more. To accommodate these items, I will place one bag in the overhead compartment and the other, a tiny backpack, under the seat in front of me.

I use rollable compression packs, which reduce the size of my garments by up to 80 percent, to conserve room on my trip. Many airlines will let you check baggage at the gate for free if you're worried your carry-ons will be too large to fit in the overhead compartment. When traveling with others, it is optional for each person to pay to check a bag, even if they are transporting liquids.

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