As you may know, besides accommodation (which you can cut by staying at your friends / relatives house or join Couchsurfing to have a chance to surf on a stranger’s couch for free), flights are one of the biggest travel expenses that drain our wallets. I am the kind of person who can’t really deal with flight promotions. I am not patient enough to deal with the slow website connection that happens when an offer has just started… However, I adore those people who can get a flight for super cheap price (My friend got a roundtrip ticket from Jakarta-Bali for $1 – crazy cheap!). So if you are kind of like me, then this article might be useful for you!
I almost never buy a plane ticket six months in advance (I’m simply not that organised about my travel schedule). I usually buy my flight ticket four months in advance at the earliest! There is no particular reason for this, but I just can’t be that flexible. Here is some advise that I can recommend to you in order to get the best flight deals:
– Join the mailing list of your favourite airlines (or all airlines and comparison sites.. it won’t hurt your inbox!)
They will let you know in advance about their promotion and sometimes airlines have what you call last minute deals. They give you a really good bargain especially those low cost-airlines. These sales normally happen in low seaons when they are trying to sell tickets because there are so many free seats available. However, look closely before you book your ticket, because sometimes they say zero fares, which is usually the base fare only. They still have fuel surcharges fee, insurance fee, baggage fee, and even airport tax which is not zero. Stalk their official twitter account might useful as well.
– Utilize cheap flight search sites / comparison sites
Why must you take the time to find the cheapest ticket if it can be done using comparison sites? I searched on google for a cheap flight and these are the top 6 websites (in no particular order); cheapflights.com, skyscanner.com, farecompare.com, opodo.com, momondo.com and kayak.com.
I am going to do a tiny bit research here. According to TripAdvisor the travel destination that travellers most wanted to go to in 2013 was Paris. For this experiment, I will us Paris as the destination and Jakarta as the departure city. I will then compare the comparisons sites. I am going to test two period of time for ticket booking; two weeks before the travel date (last minute deals) and three months before the travel date (early booking).
Travel period: March 7-21, 2014 (all shown Qatar Airways in the result)
Travel period: May 23 – June 7, 2014
*I can’t put Jakarta in Cheapflights.com, and they suggested me to go to their sister website which is Momondo.com so I didn’t include Cheapflights here.
From this small research, you can see that Kayak and Momondo are the websites that provided the best deals (and I can’t figured it out how to change the currency to $ on Opodo.. ). However, there are a lot of factors that affect the price of airline tickets. Destination you choose, what day you will travel, booking times and others. So my advise would be once you’ve found a fare, you should definitely check the airline sites directly because sometimes they have the best fares (same case if you are using a travel agent to book a ticket, there will be additional administration charge on top of the ticket price).
Anyway, I figured out some useful things that you might like to know:
1. You can create a price alert for free! (I found that in Skyscanner and Kayak). Basically they will send you an email if the price changes. Good isn’t it?
2. You don’t need to copy me by comparing the sites one by one. Some comparison sites provide you the ability to compare comparison sites against each other as well as against the price offered by airlines (wow!). Like this one by FareCompare.
When I search for “Penerbangan Murah” (cheap flights in Bahasa Indonesia) in google (in no particular order); traveloka.com, utiket.com and nusatrip.com were positioned at the top. Honestly, I have never used the search engine site for a local flight, because I think there are not that many airlines in Indonesia, so it is not that difficult to check just 2-3 websites.
– Do a little bit of research
Do a tiny bit of research and make time to read something like this. Surely some people have tried to figure out how to get tickets at cheap prices before us, so search and read about it.
So the article by Skyscanner up there was made based on a database – three years of data that contains information on millions of airline ticket purchased – that they analyzed. From this article you learn, when is the best time to buy a long haul flight and when is the best time to travel cheaply. You can also see a chart about how much you can save on the cost of flights to several top destinations for Indonesian. So a little bit of research can (probably) save you hundreds dollars on your next vacation. Now isn’t that a useful thing to do.
So, do you have any tips or tricks for how to get the best deals for flight ticket? Do you mind to share? Let me know!