WASHINGTON, June 30, 2012 —The time and the way you book your airline tickets can save big money.
If you book cheap flights through an aggregator, you will save between five and ten percent. But if you follow these tips, you can save as much as 30 percent.
The Best Time to Fly
Generally speaking, you want to book your flight on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. The more inconvenient the hours are, the cheaper the flight will be. A 7:00 a.m. flight, for example, could easily save you as much as 30 percent off a ticket later in the day.
The Best Time to Book Your Flight
Did you know that different times of booking a flight can result in different prices? That’s because airlines delete reservations that weren’t actually booked. When that happens, a flight’s occupancy rate can drop.
The best time to do this is 12:00 a.m. local time, depending on where the airline you’re booking with is based. Visit the airline’s website to figure out where their headquarters is, then use a time calculator to figure out when 12:00 a.m. is in their time zone.
Log into their website a few minutes after 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday and book your flight. Often time’s the prices will be lower than just a few minutes before.
Return Flights Vary
Keep in mind that return flights sometimes break the pattern. The best day to fly out might be on Tuesday, but your cheapest return flight might be on a Sunday. Make sure to check all days of the week on your return flight for the best deal.
What Airline Should You Fly With?
If you’re flying within the United States, JetBlue or Southwest Airlines are a great bet. Start there. These two airlines make it their mission to provide the lowest prices possible for domestic flights.
If you’re flying domestically within Europe, check out Ryan Air or EasyJet. Both of these airlines offer flights for as little as 10 Euros (Less than $14).
If you’re in Asia, AirAsia is the most popular discount airlines.
Even discount airlines can offer special discounts. Sign up for their mailing list to get more details and stay informed on deals.
The Best Times of Year to Travel
The most important thing with timing your trip is to avoid any holidays. That might seem like common sense, but most people forget to check holiday schedules on their destination.
If you’re going to Thailand, make sure you don’t land on Songkran (Thai New Year) or the Lantern Festival. If you’re going to Israel, make sure you don’t land on a Jewish holiday. If you’re going to a European country, make sure you don’t go on a queen’s birthday. If you’re going to China, make sure you don’t land on Chinese New Year.
Flights are generally cheapest between January 3rd and the beginning of March. Once everyone has gone home from their Christmas vacations and their New Year’s celebrations, there’s typically a huge dip in flight demand. This is the best time to travel.
Who Has the Best Frequent Flyer Programs
Three of the best frequent flyer programs are:
Southwest Rapid Rewards. If you fly domestic often, this is a winner. There are no fees for changing your flight and you get not one but two free bags.
United Airlines. Because United covers so much ground both domestic and international, if you frequently fly to different destinations in the world this is a good program to bet on. You can get mileage for any Star Alliance carrier, including Continental Airlines and Lufthansa.
American Airlines. The AAdvantage program gives you miles on not just American Airlines, but also British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Flights start at as low as 12,500 miles.
Dillon Michaelson is a travel expert working for InsanelyCheapFlights.com. He writes articles and blogs to help travelers find cheap flights.
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