Nothing can be more stressful than getting a quick notice that you have to get somewhere soon and your only choice is to fly. You’d hadn’t planned on an emergency trip and the cost of flying on short notice just isn’t in your budget.
How do you get a cheap flight in a hurry? It’s not easy, and you’ll need patience, but armed with a few solid tips you can secure that flight and be where you have to be as soon as possible.
First, you’ve probably already heard of the main discount airlines such as Expedia, Cheaptickets, and Southwest Airlines. From what I’ve experienced, the flights are basically about the same. If you have to leave the next day, I’d recommend Priceline.com. Once my brother called to tell me I had to fly out in at least two days to help care for my elderly mother who had shingles. Much to my surprise, I did find a flight that was about the same price as one two weeks in advance. The only catch was I didn’t know the departure or return times of day until after I purchased the online tickets. However, thankfully, I had a goodhearted husband who was able to drive me to the Hartford Airport before 6 AM for my 7 AM flight. Going back, I didn’t have the heart to even ask my relatives to pick me up at 3 AM for my 6 AM return flight from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. Instead, I I took a taxi service out of Granbury, Texas to get to the airport on time.
If you do have the luxury of getting tickets at least two weeks in advance, then the traditional cheapies such as Expedia, Cheaptickets and Southwest Airlines work fine. Just make sure you don’t wait less than two weeks as prices go up after then. But, still, you need to know a few tips before you can search for the best deal.
*It’s usually cheaper to fly in and out on a Saturday. The most expensive days for travel are, of course, the busiest, which are Friday and Sunday. Days in the middle of the week (Monday though Thursday) are also cheaper, although Saturday remains the best day to travel. Juggle different days, if possible. For example, see if you can leave one day before or one day after than planned.
*Check out other airports. Perhaps it would be worth it if you drive further than your local airport. If you live near a smaller city, chances are it’s more expensive to fly out. For example, when my mom lived in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, it was cheaper to fly into Charlotte, rather than Asheville, as Charlotte was a bigger airport. If you can find someone who doesn’t mind driving a little more distance to pick you up, it will save you money on your flight.
*When you check on flights on your computer, be sure to delete your cookies each time you search again. If you don’t delete cookies, you’ll see a big jump in price only minutes later. To delete your cookies, just go to “tools” and select “options”, and then check off “delete cookies.” A friend, wise in the ways of the internet, shared this little secret with me last year after I complained how I was shocked that the price of a ticket jumped a hundred dollars in just five minutes. On the other hand, if you have two computers in your home, just alternate computers. The name of the game is tricking your computer cookies.
*Be willing to have more than one layover. We all know that direct flights are more expensive. Well, getting there with two layovers is even cheaper. Two years ago, I saved a considerable amount by flying back home with two stops before I reached home. I flew from Ft. Worth, to Houston, to Detroit, Michigan, and then, finally, home to Hartford, Connecticut. I may have been traveling all day but at least I could afford my ticket home.
*Check an airline’s website (rather than just the economical ones), as sometimes you can find unpublished deals.
*Be aware that if you’re attending a funeral for a parent or close relative you can usually get a considerable discount if you later provide proof of the death with an obituary.
With these tips and others, hopefully you can find a good, cheap flight and be able to be wherever you have to be without stressing or spending a fortune.