Cheap Flights – How To Find the Best Deals
My first site for cheap flights is Skyscanner.
I love the ability to search ‘everywhere’ and by selecting ‘whole month’ and then ‘cheapest month’ in the search options you get cheap flight options for up to a year ahead. I use this to give me some of ideas for new places to visit and what time of year to plan my trips around. You do have to select your starting airport but you can select ‘all London’ airports for example rather than just a specific airport.
I also use Skyscanner as a reverse search option when trying to plan how to get to places because it will show what airlines fly in and out of an airport and what sort of times their flights are.
If you know where you want to fly from and to there is a great search calendar below that will show you when cheap flights can be found through the whole year.
At any one time there are a million people in the air
If I want to see what sort of cheap flights there are for my travel budget there is a great feature on Kayak called Explore.
You select your flight duration, budget, location (although there is an anywhere option) and your date and time (although there is an anytime option. This then shows you where your travel budget can take you and you click on the destinations to get the details of flights etc.
Easyjet has an Inspire Me section on their website which can offer some good cheap flights inspiration too!
Often a calendar search will give me some ideas and I then start to narrow down my options using a variety of search tools like a reverse search – to find out where it is cheaper to fly from.
The longest flight in the world is from Newark (US) to Singapore. It’s 18.5 hours longOooft!
Budget Airlines Not Always the Cheapest Flights
When comparing cheap flights you need to ensure you are comparing like for like.
For budget airlines where you have to pay extra for luggage, seats etc you need to ensure that these are all included when comparing to other airlines. In my experience non ‘budget’ airlines can often work out cheaper or better value.
If you are making flight connections bear in mind that if you book flights between two separate airlines if there are any delays on the first flight and you miss your connection you will have to pay for another flight.
However, if the flights are with the same airline it would be the airline that would then bear the cost of getting you to your destination.
Often if you are taking connecting flights with the same airline you can check our luggage from your first airport through to you final destination which can be really handy.
Recently I travelled from Inverness to Istanbul with British Airways. I took British Airways flights all the way through, my luggage was checked right through and the total cost was £120.
When I am looking to plan travel I often look at hub airports to find a way to get cheap flights and fly some interesting routes. Istanbul is a good hub to get onto further places such as Azerbaijan for example.
My flight from Istanbul to Baku was £35 on Buta Airways including luggage. My flight from London to Istanbul was £50 with British Airways including luggage.
Hub airport can often offer cheap flights by connecting to a great deal of destinations.
Hubs/Connecting Airports include;
- Dublin Airport – this is also one of the few airports that has US security clearance meaning once you have cleared security in Dublin you are free to go straight through on landing in the US.
- Iceland – they have some great flight deals to the US
- Schiphol, Amsterdam – there are loads of connections from here and this is also one of my favourite airports. If you have a long layover check out their ‘behind the scenes’ airport tour. It’s very popular as I’ve never managed to make it there. They also have nice shopping areas, a working area with plenty of sockets and desk space and a place where you can get massages. I had a 7 hour layover here once and nearly missed my onward connection because I was having such a nice time!
- Kiev – whilst this is a relatively small airport it has connections to some interesting Soviet Union destinations so routing via here might work out cheaper overall.
- Istanbul – already mentioned but worth highlighting again as the new airport is massive so more capacity will be added.
- Moscow – there are lots of great flights to all sorts of interesting places through Moscow. You don’t need a Russian visa if you are just transiting through the airport and you remain the transit area. Brilliant!
If you are also fans of apps then Hopper is a handy app for checking cheap flights.
You enter details of your journey and it tells you if the flight price is likely to go up or down. You can monitor your flight details and find the best prices.
Ticket Release and Sales
Martin Lewis’s fab Moneysavingexpert site has this brilliant list of airlines and when they release their seats – really helpful if you are able to plan ahead.
It is certainly a handy way to know when all the tickets are being released.
A bit of research and know how can bag you some cheap flight deals, helping you make the most of your holiday budget.
Booking last minute isn’t always the best idea and budget airlines are not always the budget option when you compare all the extra costs.
Check out the tools below to help you search for flights in a variety of different ways!
Since writing this article the world has been hit by Covid19 and this has had a massive impact on the aviation industry. Many flight routes have been suspended. Flight capacity has been severely reduced and at the moment it is not clear which airlines will recover and to what extent following such an impact to their businesses.
It is likely that capacity will be reduced further as airlines try to recoup some profits. This happened some years back as airlines decided to focus on making sure their flights were full, to give them a chance to compete with the budget airlines that were coming into the industry.
As they look at their profits they make take different decisions about which flights and routes are profitable and they may choose to focus on those. This may mean that some routes are not available or that there is less choice of carrier for a particular route, reducing competition which of course means keener prices for us travellers.
There is also likely to be an extended time where you will be able to cancel or change flights for free due to Covid19 as countries open up to travellers depending on the levels of infection in their countries and the status of vaccinations in the destination and departure countries.
Personally I don’t think this level of flexibility will continue as it is all extra cost for carriers and also makes it harder for them to predict their profits, even though as passengers it makes a welcome change to be able to rebook flights easily and with no charges.
Whatever happens it seems that we will be travelling and there is a pent up demand for travel with people saying they plan to travel more to make up for the holidays and trips they have missed due to Covid19. That pent up demand may result in higher prices for travel as there will be more people wanting to travel at a similar time so we will have to wait and see the impact of that.
Some have predicted the end of the airline industry through Covid19 – personally I simply don’t see that happening. Flying has enabled us to explore more of our world and at the minute there are very few options that are competitive in terms of cost, timing and destinations.
The oldest airline in the world is KLM Royal DutchFounded October 1919
Search by Map to Find Cheapest Destinations from Your Starting Airport
This is from London as an illustration, use the search box and then click map view.
Search by Route to Find The Cheapest Cost
If you know where you want to fly from and to find the cheapest flight by seeing all the airlines that flight, cheapest dates and times. This is set from London to Bangkok as an illustration.
Search by Route to Destination to Find the Cheapest Route
This is one of my favourite ways to search if I have an idea of where I want to do. It often then helps me to put a trip together by flying an interesting route and including a stopover.
This is how I found a very cheap flight from Istanbul to Baku and the 2 destinations into one trip for example.
This is set to Hong Kong but you can easily search anywhere using the search box below.
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