Wednesday, 8 June 2016

How and where to find the cheapest flights–the app that tells you when to fly and buy and how to search in secret.

American AirlinesThis is not an easy process as anyone who travels will know.  And the strangest things happen when you’re looking for flights – prices seem to change on an almost daily basis and frequently they go up, rarely down.  So where do you look and how do you go about finding the cheapest flights.

1.  Search in secret.  If you’re using the same websites on the same PC to search for a flights the website will remember you, trying to get you go book in haste and horror as you see your flight price rise.  To do this always search for flights in ‘incognito mode’ which keeps your searches off the radar. 

In Chrome click on the three parallel lines at the top right hand corner of your browser and then on ‘open a new incognito window’.  Do this each time you search.

In Firefox click on the parallel lines and then ‘open a private window’.

2.   Install the Hopper app on your smartphone.  Hopper is an excellent aggregate flight search app which will keep a watch on the flights you’re looking for and let you know when the price changes, offering alerts telling you when you should book.  It also predicts price rises and falls.

3.   Check out all the main flight search engines such as www.expedia.com, www.skyscanner.net and www.kayak.co.uk.  You will most likely find that they say the same thing however it’s worth looking out for offers.

4.   In particular check on www.momondo.co.uk and www.faregeek.com as you can find bargains there.  If you’re a student check www.studentuniverse.com. If you want US internal flights always check www.southwest.com

5.    Always check the prices on your preferred airline as well so you can measure against what you’re seeing on the search engines.  Frequently they are the same.

6.   Be patient and search frequently.  Prices do change all the time and it can be very frustrating.  Hopper can tell you when prices are generally going down and which are the best days to fly, but it’s never an exact science. 

Bear in mind that prices will go up as you near your flight date, and in general the earlier you can book the better.  In general flying mid week is cheaper than a weekend.  In general booking on a Sunday can be good but nothing is ever certain as so much depends on the supply and demand with the airlines.  July and August up to the third week are always the most expensive.

I recently booked two flights to the US.  One with American Airlines by watching Hopper which saved me £300 on the price that flight is quoted at now (for August).  And another on Virgin Atlantic by using www.faregeek.com which saved £200 over the same day price quote from the actual airline’s website. 

You can find good prices for flights.  Nothing competes with spending time and searching yourself. 
If you’re a regular traveller (or not) make sure you join the airline’s loyalty scheme.  This can, if you fly frequently, be worth a lot, as you can get to take more than bag, priority boarding, more leg room for free and entrance to one of the lounges.  I’m amazed at the number of people who travel who haven’t done this as the benefits can be worth so much, so if you’re one of them I suggest you do it now.