5 Oscar Movie Tips to Help You Save on Flights

The Academy Awards airs Sunday, March 2 on ABC and wouldn’t you know my latest column for ABCNews.com mentions the Oscars. That’s because some of these nominated movies can be a guide to saving on airfare. My nominees for Best Original Airfare Tips:

1. American Hustle Tip

You’ll get no Oscars – or savings – if you wait to the last minute to book flights. So do the American Hustle and start shopping now, especially if you plan to travel in May.

Tip: Rule of the thumb is, book domestic flights beginning about three months before departure and have your tickets by about three weeks before take-off. If you plan to be An American in Paris this year or travel to any other European destination, begin shopping five months ahead and call it a wrap about a month-and-a-half before you leave.

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2. Wolf of Wall Street Tip

Yes, private jets are lovely if you’re rich. If not, keep it real simple. But you can find inexpensive ways to make even coach travel a little more comfortable including Southwest’s EarlyBird boarding fee ($12.50) or get a “preferred” seat on American (starting at $4 one-way). If the price is right, grab a little slice of luxury; you can make up for it by saving with tip number five.

3. Nebraska Tip

If you live in a small town (or increasingly, a not-so-small town) or in a rural part of your state, finding deals is getting harder, thanks to airline route cutbacks. Fly in and out of the nearest bigger airport to your hometown – even if it means driving an extra hour or two (or three). The savings can be worth it,  but you have to compare prices to be certain.

4. Around the World in 80 Days Tip

I am not suggesting a trip as long as depicted in this 1956 Best Picture winner, only that you consider connecting flights instead of non-stops. True, it’s a lot less convenient but on longer routes it can save a lot of money. Again, you must compare prices to be sure that’s the case with your flight.

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5. Gravity Tip

Gravity weighs on all of us, but it really hurts when it comes to baggage. Oversize and overweight bag fees can cost hundreds of dollars – and that’s on top of the regular bag fee. Even JetBlue and Southwest, which both offer free checked-bags, will penalize overweight bags with fees ranging from $50 to $100 each way.

More from Rick Seaney:

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Published: February 24, 2014