Your Guide to Booking Cheaper Flights

I did this “your guide to booking cheaper flights” post early on when  started the blog and though that it was time to resurrect it now that I’ve done my guide on booking cheaper hotels.  I’m also interested if anyone has any specific challenge that they could give me in finding a cheaper deal or flight after a conversation with a friend today – could I do better?  Get in touch today – Contact Me

*Original Post*

Ok, so you are planning your next getaway and fly to that location you’ve always wanted to get to, but the flights are making it so expensive – let us help you out by giving you some tips.

Guide (1) Fly indirect to get it cheaper

Let’s take the scenario of flying from the UK to Singapore.  You could fly direct using either British Airways or Singapore Airlines.

Flying either of the options means the total flight time would be 12-14hrs, flying indirect into Heathrow allows many other airlines including the following majors (the list is more extensive than here of course).  The airline industry being so competitive means that they’ll compete for passengers on these types of flights, airlines such as Finnair specifically market themselves as being the gateway to Asia for example.

  • Lufthansa
  • Airfrance/KLM
  • Finnair
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Thai Airways
  • Qatar

Over the last year I’ve flown personally with Lufthansa, Finnair, Malaysian, and I’ll be flying indirect with Qatar in December.  When booking the Qatar flights BA and Singapore were quoted as £1287 and £1334 respectively whilst Qatar was quoted as £994 – a significant saving.  I could have flown even cheaper using China Eastern at £704, but the increased flight time and long layover pushed the total trip time to 39 hours which is not ideal to say the least.  On the specific day I was looking at SriLankan was offering a 17hour trip at £856, which offered the best value from my perspective – as you can see I used Kayak for my research:

Cheapest Flight Booking

Guide (2) Consider flying to a different airport

Again taking the scenario of flying from the UK to Singapore then think about airports outside of London.  Having been based in the East Midlands in the UK I found that I had a good choice of airports – Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Heathrow and Stansted (all within 2.5hours drive).   I used the same dates as with the previous search and the Qatar flights reduced to £918.

Qatar Cheapest Manchester

You’ll of course have to take an indirect flight which will be up to you own preference.

Guide (3) Book Early

Airlines focus on premium travel and the inflexibility of business travelers.  So they will tend to raise their prices closer to the scheduled time of the flight.  Most airlines will open up booking for flights up to a year ahead so you can book really early, but beware of the airline sees that seats are not being sold at the rate they expect they may reduce the ticket price, or they may have sales, so always bear that in mind.

Guide (4) Look out for sales

Airlines will have sales on throughout the year and usually offer good discounts on the usual routes.  I usually expect to pay somewhere between £700 and £900 for flights from the UK to Singapore but recently saw deals for under £500 with Lufthansa.

Guide (5) Avoid the Peak Seasons

You may have noticed that the flight costs I quoted were slightly expensive…!  That’s because I’m travelling back to the UK for the Christmas break, just a week after I come back the price drops to £680, 1/3rd cheaper.  Now the important thing to remember here is that whilst you may know about your own local peak periods and holiday seasons, please check out your destinations local peak periods as that will also tend to push up prices.  If you have to book during these times then book ahead as much as possible to reduce the pain.

Guide (6) Traveling after work?  What about the middle of the day?

Every route airlines fly will have quiet periods during the day whether that’s late at night, middle of the day or late night.  I managed to take off over £200 on a flight from Lisbon to Singapore (via London) by taking the early flight out of Lisbon (8am), yes it was an early flight and yes I had a long layover but the saving was made and also I had a pleasant trip out to Windsor to keep myself occupied during my wait.  On this scenario if I wanted to take off late on both flights (evening time), the cheapest possible flight goes above £1000 on Emirates, you are limiting your possibilities for the cheapest flight if you specify specific timings!

Cheapest time based

Guide (8) Do you really have to travel on that specific day?

Remember that there are seven days in the week and airlines fly every one of them, try and be flexible with the day you travel.  I like to maximize my time when I fly back to the UK so try to travel on a Friday night, but I often find that’s more expensive than travelling on a Saturday morning.   When I checked up the specific scenario here the difference was surprising.  I quickly used Kayak to see what the difference would be using a +3 day each way search and it came back with Qatar at £677 which is even better than the cheapest quote from China Eastern!

Felxible Savings

If you are still skeptical then check out my actual use of the guides with my Travel Saving challenge – and remember I’m looking for challenges from readers as well!

Get something back

Can you use a cashback card, cashback website or are you a member of a frequent flyer program that can get you a little something back?