Finding cheap flights

How to make your pound go further this spring break

Illustration: Gabrielle Wolf

It’s that time of year again. Spring break is almost upon us, and it’s time to solidify your plans.  Wherever your travels take you, here are some tips to finding flights that are inexpensive and convenient.

First, manage your expectations. Hope for deals, but don’t expect miracles. Determinants like distance, class, time of year, and even your chosen airline may drive up prices.

It is important that before making your arrangements, you come to terms with these facts and decide where you’re going and how fancy you want to be getting. For shorter European flights budget airlines come recommended; WOW air, Easyjet, and Ryanair tend to keep their prices relatively low compared to traditional airlines like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic

Budget airlines have a growing range of longer-haul connections, too, with scheduled flights between New York and Edinburgh on Norwegian slotted to go into service this year. Though these flights lack some of the usual comforts provided on a multi-hour journey, they mean you can go a lot further on a small budget.

Most long-haul flights, however, are on traditional airlines. Because these are more expensive than flights on low-cost carriers, it’s smart to pick one airline and to try to stick to it. This strategy doesn’t allow for swapping to the cheapest flight every time you fly; however, fares usually vary little between airlines, and an airline club membership enables you to partake in a rewards program that allows you to accumulate points every time you fly. These points yield all kinds of benefits, and at some points allowing you to travel for free.

Some airlines even have credit cards that allow you to earn points any time you spend money with it, meaning that trip to Paris you’ve been dying to take could get paid for without you ever spending a penny on the plane ticket itself. To reiterate: if you travel internationally frequently, now’s the time to look into major airlines and choose one. Initially it’s hard to commit to only buying flights through one company, but that commitment usually pays off.

Beyond hunting for the cheapest or best airline, there are a few lesser-known tips that can help you keep plane ticket prices low. Be aware of websites that use cookies. These websites raise ticket prices each time you search for flights, meaning that you could be seeing tickets that aren’t the cheapest option. To avoid cookies, you should make yourself aware of the website’s policy or clear your browser before searching for these flights.

Further, opt for search sites like Skyscanner and Google Flights instead of Tripadviser or Travelocity. These services search a much wider range of travel agencies and airlines, meaning that you may find cheaper fares on a lower-cost carrier you would have never known to check.

Some travel companies even recommend keeping costs low by booking 10 weeks in advance or booking flights on a Tuesday afternoon, when airlines tend to release their cheapest flights.

Whatever your budget may be, the price of an airline ticket need not stand in the way of your travelling the world.



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