Where can I find cheap flights online? Are there any tips & tricks for this?
Finding the cheapest flights has become almost a competition. Booking flights has become easy. But finding the best flight for yourself, preferably the cheapest, is a challenge.
“To Hawaii for 300 euros? How did you do that?”
Well, I also asked myself this question at first when friends or colleagues spontaneously made a “bargain” when booking flights. Because the most expensive part of the journey is often the plane ticket.
That’s why I’ve taken the trouble to write down my experience and tips for you so that you can find cheap flights too. I’ve learned quite a few tricks and tips over the years that, surprisingly, not everyone knows.
Incidentally, I prefer direct flights and would rather pay 100 euros more. But that has only developed in this way in recent years, because in times of climate change I try to reduce my ecological footprint as much as possible.
My tips to find the cheapest flights
Are there any insider tips when it comes to booking a flight? There are many rumors circulating when it comes to making a bargain. From deleting cookies in the browser to booking a flight on a Wednesday.
Here are my tips and how to go about searching for flights. The more and more often I fly, the more I value getting to my destination as quickly and as possible as possible. Preferably with a night flight. I am happy to pay 100-200€ more for plane tickets. But I’m also not a student or trainee who has to pay attention to every cent. Fortunately, that time is long gone.
In addition, I think it is important in times of climate change to avoid unnecessary open jaw flights with longer distances. Despite my job in the travel industry, I fly as little as possible. Air tickets have become more expensive since the war in Ukraine. Flights to Asia cannot currently take place via Russia and are also becoming more expensive due to longer detours. In addition, kerosene prices are rising. After the long Corona phase, many tickets generally became more expensive. Therefore, it is now all the more important to be patient when booking.
Book flights early
I’m spontaneous and don’t like to plan very much. But planning and booking early really pays off. Last-minute bargains are very rare.
Rule of thumb for domestic German flights: According to a study, the flights are cheapest if you book about 6 weeks in advance. I no longer fly within Germany, but take the train (climate change!).
According to this study, the tickets are then 40-50% cheaper than on the day of departure. The prices increase rapidly as the departure approaches (empirical values are 21 days, 14 days, 7 days and 3 days before departure).
For long-haul routes (particularly when traveling during popular travel times), you should monitor flight prices beforehand.
Example: Japan during the cherry blossom season. If we hadn’t been so spontaneous here and had checked for flights more than 3 months before departure, we could have saved at least €300-400 per person (direct flights, with flights with a stopover it would have been less, but definitely more expensive).
Flexibility pays off
Be flexible about the day of departure and arrival. The cheapest day of departure is not always (as is often recommended) a Wednesday, but often Friday. However, only early in the morning or late in the evening. For flights within Europe, Monday is the cheapest return flight day. Experience has shown that Sunday is the most expensive. But if you come back from a long-distance trip , Sunday is often the cheapest.
Therefore: Take your time and check exactly what the flights cost 1-2 days earlier or later. You also have to be flexible when it comes to departure times.
Almost all flight search engines now offer to display a whole month so you can see how flight prices differ from day to day :
Avoid peak travel times during vacations
Peak travel time is vacation time. Demand is high , tickets are scarce because everyone wants to travel. If possible, avoid school holidays or public holidays or travel from another federal state in which there are no holidays yet.
Also check in the country of arrival whether there is a public holiday or vacation time.
Use flight search engines to compare flights
The best way to find cheap flights (and also the fastest way) are so-called flight search engines. They search all airline platforms and websites to find you the cheapest offer or the fastest flight.
I prefer direct flights and avoid having to change planes more than once if possible. The time lost when changing trains is immense. The chance that your luggage doesn’t make it is just as great.
In general, flights with 1-2 stopovers are of course cheaper. So I leave it up to you to decide what is more important to you: save time or save money.
I recommend these flight search engines (exactly in this order):
The best search engine for a first overview is Greyhound. You can easily specify multiple departure airports, open jaw flights and alternative nearby destination airports. The search is very simple and clear. Nevertheless, I noticed that not all airlines are always listed.
The search engine for joints is simple and really easy to use. As usual, you enter your departure airport, your destination and select a specific date or “flexible travel dates”. If you mouse over the date, the search engine will show you the day on which you can get your flight ticket cheapest.
You can even see how much a First Class flight would cost.
You can also add other departure or destination airports. Sometimes it is worth driving to another airport. For me, Stuttgart and Frankfurt are practical. I always look for departures from Stuttgart and Frankfurt and then decide which one to choose.
When are flights cheapest?
Again and again I find that one simply has to observe long enough. According to a study, the cheapest flights are found on Thursdays.
I even found a cheap flight on a Wednesday.
Is it worth flying to small airports? Are they cheaper?
Big airports have a higher frequency and occupancy. As a result, the airlines also have a higher capacity utilization. Fees are lower as a result. In addition, several airlines fly the same routes at major airports. As a result, the competitive pressure is greater. That’s why the flights are often cheaper. With low-cost airlines you often have hidden costs or problems when rebooking. I avoid these.
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