Author Shares Tips to Get Cheap Summer Airfares

Author Shares Tips to Get Cheap Summer Airfares

SunAuthor Denise Nape thinks “summer travel plans are probably being discussed in your house. Where to go, how much you can afford and what’s the quickest path to fun are some of the questions swirling in your head.”

I tend to think that as some families are making these plans now, however, there are also last-minute travel planners who also, if you heed Denise’s tips, you can certainly access some cool savings for this 2011’s hot summer!

See below Denise’s tips on Savvy savings…

  • First, the timing of buying tickets is pretty important. Buying them too far in advance can actually make you spend more money. The rule of thumb is to purchase between three months and 14 days before domestic travel.
  • Airlines don’t actually start releasing cheaper seats until three to four months before departure for domestic travel. For international travel, the cheaper seats are released around four to five months before travel.
  • The best time to shop for domestic travel is 2 p.m. Tuesday. According to FareCompare.com, Tuesday is when the maximum number of the cheapest seats are in the marketplace.
  • A Wall Street Journal study found when researching a Chicago-Atlanta round-trip ticket for April travel dates the cost was $209 on Tuesday and Wednesday on American and Delta, but then $301 for the next four days.
  • When Tuesday rolled around the following week, the fare dropped to $219 at both airlines for the same April dates. By Friday it was up to $307 at both. The lesson here is don’t purchase on the weekends.
  • So what days should you travel? Wednesday is one of the three cheapest days for domestic travel. The others are Tuesday and Saturday. Friday and Sunday are the most expensive.
  • The cheapest time to fly is typically the first flight out in the morning. I know that’s not what you want to hear. With getting to the airport two hours ahead of time, you might as well not go to bed, but you can always sleep on the flight.
  • The next best times are flights during/after lunch and flights at the dinner hour. And, of course, the absolute cheapest time to fly is on the red-eye flights.
  • Other things to consider are taking connecting flights. I know it’s not popular but non-stops can cost hundreds more. Also, when purchasing for your family, consider splitting up the ticket purchase.
  • When purchasing multiple tickets, the airline reservation system can bump all the tickets up to the next higher price level. If you purchase one at a time, some of your tickets will be the cheapest available seats.
  • Last minute emergency flights can be astronomical in price. Airlines assume that last-minute travelers have their company paying the bill and think you can afford $1,000 tickets.

Here are some ways to possibly avoid a hefty charge:

  • Call for bereavement rates: Most airlines don’t have these anymore, and the ones that do typically only discount $50 or 10 percent. But it is always worth a try.
  • Use miles or points: This is the perfect time to use those miles or points you have accumulated (or even those of friends).
  • Last-minute specials: Typically airlines have cheap last-minute deals for off-peak travel like round-trips from Thursday to Monday or Saturday to Tuesday.
  • Shop air plus hotel packages: Many packaging sites negotiate rates that are much less expensive than walk-up rates. Pick the cheapest hotel, even if you don’t need one.
  • Shopper’s tip: The biggest part of getting your best price is to be flexible. It might mean traveling on weekdays, but at least you are getting away!

Source: Denise Nape/Naperville Sun

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