Updated: Jan 15
We’ve all been there, searching flights and you cannot believe your luck; flights for a minuscule fraction of the prices elsewhere. There's got to be a catch? There is a catch! Multiple catches.
Budget airlines prey on anxieties and a lack of knowledge – don’t let them win and you’ll save hundreds! Beat the anxieties away and work the internet to get more for your money!
In this article;
When to Book
When not to Book
Seating - Don't Pay To Sit Together
The first attack on the anxieties of individuals. As far as I’m aware, Ryanair are the only airline that will actively separate a booking and give you seats in other areas of the plane. If you want to sit together, you pay for that luxury with them. Only most the time you’ll get on that plane and there’ll be empty seats everywhere and if others are separated, they’ll be willing to swap.
Don’t fall for it and don’t let them beat you! Check-in early and you’ll be fine on almost all airlines.
Early Boarding – No, Board Last!
Thinking about rushing in to get two seats together? Well you can’t! Most people that have succumbed to reserving seats will also have priority boarding. Your best bet; wait until everybody has boarded and done all their seat swapping and then you’ll find some seats together. If the plane isn’t full, half the time they’ll move people around to distribute the weight anyways which makes a mockery of pre-booking!
Short-Haul – Book Early, Long-Haul – Last Minute
If you're flying short-haul and with a budget airline, you need to book over two months in advance for the best deals. Long-haul is a game of brinksmanship. Cajones of steel are required and you should wait until 47 days before your flight at the earliest. Bit scary though!
Use Google and Momondo
You can search flights on Google with the results displaying on a calendar which is a handy way to compare prices. Find your cheapest flights and head over to Momondo which will scan multiple agencies to find the cheapest ways to travel, potentially splitting tickets and airlines for the cheapest deals. You can also try heading direct to the agency to see if booking with them will get you a better deal.
Those goddamn cookies will get ya. Seasoned travellers say that repeated routes searched yield heftier prices, so you can delete cookies or browse in an incognito window for a search without all your old data.
Book Sundays, Travel Fridays
Prices can be 30% cheaper on Sundays while your Monday to Friday folk are unlikely to travel on a Friday when booking a holiday, so Friday seems to be a cheap day to travel.
Don’t Book Flights While There’s a Massive War
I learned this to my peril last year while flying to Australia and booking flights as the war in Ukraine began. It's insensitive too.
If you decide “I want to go to Barcelona on 1st August to 15th August and travel from Exeter at 17:33” then you’ll basically have to pay whatever it costs. If you head into it with an open mind you’ll be way better off, just think “head to the Med end of July early August and hopefully fly from my most convenient airport” you’ll save hundreds, maybe thousands!
Or, you could do what millions of people do and NEVER LEAVE YOUR HOME.