There are many ways and resources for finding a cheap flight ticket online which can be confusing, but in general finding a cheap flight is much easier now than it used to be in the past. Here I will list all the tools that you can use to find the best possible deal. Booking a flight is also the most expensive part of your trip and it can be time consuming, but it’s definitely worth it as it can save you a lot of money if you use this ‘Hacking Flights in 12 steps’ guide.
Let’s say we are looking for a RT ticket between Belgrade and Istanbul and 5th-15th June are the dates. First we should;
1) Use flight search engines
We usually start looking for a flight online using various flight search engines. But which ones are the best to use? There’s Kayak, Vayama, Travelocity, Skyscanner, Momondo and many others. Skyscanner is great because it searches all airlines (both national carriers and low-cost) thus allowing you to find the cheapest possible price. If you are flexible about the destination, it will also show you the cheapest flights from your home base airport.
As you can see Skyscanner found the cheapest flight with AirSerbia, while Momondo filtered these results;
Momondo has a great user interface and it allows you to see which flights are cheapest and what is the quickest way to arrive. Another great option is the fare alert, which means that Momondo would let you know if the price of the flight would drop. Because of this Momondo is my personal favorite and I absolutely recommend it.
Kayak is also a good flight search engine but it works much better for US citizens than Europeans.
2) Check the airline’s website to see if the price is cheaper
Sometimes the price is cheaper when booked directly through airlines website as they want to steer travelers to their own websites instead of online search engines.
So in this case we will check the websites of Turkish Airlines, AirSerbia and Pegasus Airlines.
The results we get are;
AirSerbia’s price is 97 EUR, same what Momondo showed us.
So from all the airlines who fly directly to Istanbul, AirSerbia offers the cheapest price.
3) Search flights from nearby airports
For example, the biggest air hub around is Budapest airport and many people from nearby countries (Serbia, Romania), fly from here. Anyway in our case this is not a good solution as the price is more expensive.
The good thing about searching for flights from nearby airports is the possible availability of more airlines. For example RyanAir flies from Budapest but not from Belgrade. For this reason it might be good to check nearby airports.
4) Check the website of the airport that you will be flying into
Many times budget carriers are not listed in the search engines and that’s the reason you should check a list of the airlines flying into that airport. Usually you’ll be able to find a much cheaper flight.
5) Watch out for the promotions
The earlier time I’ve flown from Belgrade to Istanbul it was with a special promotion of Turkish Airlines. The ticket costed 99 EUR and if you look above it’s 183 EUR. You should definitely sign up for the newsletter of your prefered airline as their subscribers will usually be the first to find out about special deals. So if you wan’t to fly this route for example, sign up for the newsletter of Turkish Airlines and AirSerbia.
6) Check airlines’ social media accounts
Besides signing up for the newsletter I recommend checking them on Facebook or Twitter.
The cheapest ticket we found so far is on Facebook page of AirSerbia! But these are not the dates we want. The advertised price is for travels between 29th april to 12th june so we should also…
7) Be flexible!
This must be the most important thing. Forget about booking months in advance, the best deal you will get is usually ONE MONTH before your trip. The key is to watch promotions and once you spot a great deal just grab it otherwise it’s gone. Being flexible also means traveling in off season which isn’t so bad as you will encounter less tourists than usual.
8) Use miles
If you are a frequent flier check if you can redeem your miles for new flights. You will have to sign up for the frequent flier program of your prefered airline and keep track of your miles.
9) Check student discounts
The best site in this category is statravel.com which offers cheaper rates for students.
10) Visit Holiday Pirates website
This is an amazing resource for crazy cheap flight deals, hotel deals and everything in between. Check it out for yourself, you won’t regret it!
11) Delete cookies
Clear your browser’s cookies when searching for a flight. Search engines usually track how many times you have visited their website which can make prices go up.
12) Check with the travel agent
Travel agents will rarely give you cheaper tickets than the tools I’ve just introduced to you but it doesn’t bother to try. Even if the travel agent has a slightly costlier price, he can help you by giving advices about your destination.