Have you heard? In an effort to keep prices high for us travelers, news recently broke that the airlines may be in cahoots to limit available seats on flights. The four major U.S. airlines who control the vast majority of domestic air routes here in the U.S. (i.e., American, Delta, Southwest, and United) are being sued following the Department of Justice’s recent investigation into their sneaky price-fixing tactics. You see, the airlines know that the higher demand is for flights, the more they can charge us to travel. And even though the cost of jet fuel is down 34% since last April, airfares remain high.
So you might be thinking: we’re screwed.
And you know what? When you think about the fact that it’s us versus the airline giants, it’s only natural to feel intimidated and defeated. I mean, whether we need to travel great distances for business or leisure, flying is something we have to do – right?
But you know what? You may not realize it, but you have more power against the airlines than you think, and you DON’T have to keep rolling over and blindly paying for outrageous airfares!
That’s why it’s more important now than ever before for us to get the tools we need to learn how to work this unfair price-gouging system so that we can book airfares with the confidence of knowing that we’re booking the best fare and potentially saving HUNDREDS in the process.
You may be thinking: But how? How can I work a system that’s designed for my failure?
I’ll tell you how in 4 simple tips…
#1 – Give Yourself the Upper Hand
There are two important things you must do to give yourself the upper hand in your search for the best fares. First, you have to start early so that you can stay on top of fare trends. Secondly, you have to stay alert by putting an automatic fare search system in place that’ll stay on top of ever changing airfares for you.
#2 – Don’t Buy the First Fare You See
Unless you know within your gut that you’re buying the best fare, don’t even think about buying the first fare you see. Instead watch the fares over time to see how they rise and fall. I have to admit that I was recently tempted to buy the first airfare I came across to Jamaica for an upcoming holiday trip. The fare was initially priced at $759, and while fares to Jamaica from LAX are normally much lower, since my husband and I are departing a few days before Christmas, I figured that $759 would probably be the best I could find. But my gut just wouldn’t let me buy it. So I waited, and sure enough, a few weekends ago, as I was in bed doing my final email check before calling it a night, I received an alert for airfare to Jamaica for $521.85. You know I booked it! Between tickets for both me and my husband, we saved $474.30! I slept like a baby that night. 🙂
#3 – Let the Fares Dictate Your Vacation Dates
Being rigid and inflexible with your vacation dates is going to cost you a lot of money. This tactic reminds me of how I plan meals here in our household. I’ll let you in on a tip that keeps our monthly grocery budget at $240 or less: I plan our menus around what’s on sale at the market. Likewise, as much as you’re able, plan your vacation dates around the travel availability dates outlined in airfare sale restrictions. So if there’s a fare sale to your desired destination and the discounted fare applies for travel only in April 2016, plan your vacation accordingly!
#4 – Be Ready to Book Whenever, Wherever
You just never know when you’ll get an alert for a great fare or where you’ll be when you get it. That’s why it’s super helpful to have an arsenal of apps downloaded to your device so that you can find and book fares whenever, wherever. Click here for a list of 5 free flight apps that’ll help you find great fares and that’ll help you get organized as you get ready for your next flight.
This advice is just the tip of the iceberg. For a full rundown on how to find the very best airfare deals, check out the Guide to Better Airfares. In this online video mini course, you’ll learn tried and true tactics that save me and my students HUNDREDS of dollars on airfares time after time.
What are some of your tips for cutting airfare costs? Share in the comments below.