|

Six tips for saving money on airfare

Consumer Reports News: January 03, 2012 03:38 PM

With fees, fine print and blackout dates, locking in a low price on your plane ticket can seem impossible. We have some tips that can help cut the cost of flying, plus help organize your search for the best deal.

In addition to setting up alerts to track fares and searching for domestic flights three and a half months prior to booking (five and a half for international), you should also buy your ticket early—you'll pay a premium if you wait to within 14 days of travel. Also, when comparing flights online through sites such as Expedia, Kayak, Priceline and Travelocity, be sure to check the airline’s own site, which can be cheaper because there is no commission.

How to get rock-bottom rates:

  1. Look beyond discount airlines: Keep in mind that discount airlines are not always the cheapest. Airlines cannot afford to be more expensive than their competitors for comparable flights at comparable times.

  2. Buy at 3 p.m. EST on a Tuesday: Most sale fares kick in on Monday at 8 p.m., and end on Thursday at 8 p.m., and according to Rick Seaney, co-founder of FareCompare.com, the greatest number of cheap seats will be available at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

  3. Avoid flying on weekends: Be mindful of booking weekend flights because these are popular with both business travelers and vacationers. More specifically, you should avoid flights on Friday afternoon through Monday morning, if you can.

  4. Fly hungry: The least expensive flights tend to take off at dawn, or around lunchtime, as well as after 6 p.m.

  5. Consider a connecting flight: Connecting flights can be substantially cheaper than flights that are non-stop, especially for international travel.

  6. Shop for one seat: Reservation systems are programmed so that if there's one too few cheap seats for your group, all members get bumped up to the next price level. So if you're traveling with a group, establish the base price fro one passenger and compare it with the price for all.

Our full report How to cut the cost of flying, appeared in the February issue of Consumer Reports (available to subscribers).

Previously:
Rules for airfare transparency go into effect next month
Six things predicted to cost you more in 2012

Maggie Shader

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Money News

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more