We can all agree that booking the ticket and sitting on the flight are probably the less desirable parts of our vacations. Unless you have a Black American Express Card you are likely going to spend a great deal of time prowling the web and speaking with Airline employees or the machines that pretend to be people (hit 0 and you eventually get someone on the line…sometimes). Since when has booking a flight felt so much like a trip to the DMV? It’s frustrating and can often take the R’s out of your R+R Holiday.
People often ask how and when I book my flights. There are blogs, websites, and many theories floating around about the right time and way to book your flights. In my experience there is no right and wrong, it’s more about trial and error. Seeing as how we are well into January (the perfect time for booking Late Spring and Summer Travel…that was a tip) I thought I would share a few of my Flight Booking Secrets:
Fly on Holidays- My Mother taught me this one and I still to this day have success flying ON the actual Holiday. Often people think that flying on the holiday would be insane, that the airport will be overrun with inexperienced travelers and massive lines. This is completely false. I have booked some amazingly cheap flights to places like Bali and Costa Rica by flying on Christmas Eve or New Years. Also, days of remembrance (9/11) or when people might fear the worst (new years, 4th of July) there are no other travelers at the airport and the flights plummet in price. I actually ran into a news crew flying on a Christmas eve once. They were at the airport to cover the massive lines, the crew was super upset cause alas there were NO LINES!
Book on Holidays- So now that we have covered my Momma’s Secret, here’s one of mine: For some reason on major holidays flight prices for future travel are at great rates. I have always found amazing deals booking my upcoming Holidays, while I’m enjoying another Holiday. Most people can’t bear the idea of sitting down on Labor Day to look at flights for Christmas, but THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT! You will be amazed at the awesome rates you will find booking on a holiday. Next 4th of July step away from the grill and plan that trip to Tahiti you’ve been dreaming about! Seriously someone take me to Tahiti… please?
Book at early morning hours on Weekends and Tuesdays- This is not science! I have read many blogs and spoken with many travelers about their ideas of the best days and hours to book flights. Booking at 2am on a Sunday you will see tickets for half the price of Wednesday at 2pm. I do not know why this is true. All I can say is try it for yourself. Wake up in the early AM on Tuesday and take a look at the JFK to CDG flights. They are priced less than previous hours! I promise you will get a better deal than that crap your Mom bought at Tuesday Mornings (the store).
Stay on top of the travel websites- Use the fun tools that sites like Kayak, FareCompare, and Expedia offer. They have fun maps and ways to search for flights within certain periods of time. I use these sites regularly and often find good deals on the major airlines. More importantly it gives a broad look at the flight rates for the time you are looking to traveling. I should probably be a little ashamed about the amount of time I spend searching on sites like this so let’s never speak of this again….
Search the magical airlines- There are a few airlines that I LLYOV that never show up on the major search engine sites. Make sure to go directly to Southwest, Virgin, and JetBlue to check on your flight dates. These airlines all carry great last minute flight deals as well.
Speak to a Representative- “Would you like to speak to a representative?” Oh the tremble that rages through my body as I push zero on my phone like it’s a morphine drip to my soul. Let’s all just take a breath…. Airline Representatives have a REALLY hard job. They speak to people ALL DAY that have lost their luggage, missed their flights, and generally hate them with an unrelenting passion. Be nice to them and thank them for the help they have generously offered by taking your call. Ask them how their day is going. What’s their recommendation on your travel itinerary. And always, ALWAYS- ask nicely for Bulkhead.
Fly the regional airlines- After you booked that super cheap flight to Bangkok from LAX using your Delta miles go ahead and try out another airline. You will save big bucks by investing a little time in searching for the Airlines that serve the country you are traveling. Use that fancy online travel guide called (whispers) Google. These airlines will likely have one way and round trip tickets within the country or nearby countries you are traveling for half the price of the major airlines. You may even be surprised by the amazing comforts and foods these flights offer. And don’t forget to check out the train schedules. Far better to see the country from the ground than the sky.
Your turn! Please tell me some of your flight booking secrets!