How to find and book the cheapest flight tickets

Book Early

This is the standard advise given out by every travel advisor. Airlines provide tickets at cheaper rates if booked early. This is to incentivise the users so that the airline can operate with confidence that its flight will be full sooner. If your travel date or date range is confirmed, book the tickets right away, as early as possible to get the best fares. Booking in last minute will cause unnecessary stress on the wallet as well as peace of mind, since normal economy tickets tend to become sold out as the flight date gets closer and the travellers are forced to book business class or premium tickets at a higher fare than that of the economy class.

Book flexible dates

There are certain portals such as makemytrip.com or SkyScanner where one can see a calendar of fares, in different combinations. Anyone with flexibility in dates should check for the cheapest outbound date and the cheapest inbound date. Even if your region doesn’t have any OTA that supports such a feature, one can manually check the rates for a 1 week to 10 day period to figure out the best date for travel.

Compare OTA vs Direct Airline website

Certain airlines offer cheapest prices on their own website compared to OTA (Online Travel Agent) websites. It is always advisable to check the prices of a flight ticket in multiple OTAs as well as directly on the airline website before booking. Several OTAs charge a convenience fee (ex: Tajawal, Cleartrip etc) while booking with specific airlines (Air India Express, Air Arabia etc). To avoid this convenience fee (sometimes called as “Processing Fee”), simply logon directly to the airline’s official website and book from there.

Avoid Credit card Forex Fee

When booking flight tickets online, avoid using international portals and use portals in your own country to book the flights. Since you will most likely be using a credit card to book the flight ticket, watch out for the foreign exchange fee on the card (aka forex fee), which usually starts at 3.5% on most cards. Ideally, look for tracel portals (OTAs – Online Travel Agents) of your own country and book through them.

Book Connecting Flights

If you have time, but want to save on money, opt for longer flight times but with cheaper fares. Most OTAs allow you to sort by cheapest flight and shortest flights. Often, connecting flights are cheaper. Some OTAs also make their own connecting flights without codesharing agreement between the airlines themselves.

Hide your Flight ticket Search History

OTAs as well as airline websites use cookies to track a returning user and intentionally show higher fares to maximize their profits. It is always recommended to do all your flight searches in “Incognito Mode” or “Private browsing mode” to hide your search history from such websites.

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