How to Find Cheap Flights Even When Airlines Hike Ticket Prices

If you follow FareCompare News you probably know that U.S. airlines just raised ticket prices across-the-board by as much as $10 round-trip. Let’s see why this happened and what on earth you can do about it.

LISTEN: Airfare expert Rick Seaney is here to help!

Best tips to finding cheap flights any time

Find Cheap Flights Despite Airfare Hike

The hike began in a series of fits and starts and played out over a two week period beginning June 4. I’ve called it one of the strangest hikes I’ve ever seen, not unlike a barroom brawl in slow motion.

Who gets the credit for the hike: JetBlue and Southwest; JetBlue kicked things off with small hiking activity then Southwest upped the ante by spreading the higher prices across its route system and others soon followed.

Why did they hike prices: To paraphrase the Godfather, it’s not personal, it’s business. This is the start of the airlines’ lucrative summer season when people want to fly. Put it another way: Does Toys “R” Us or Mattel put the must-buy toys on sale at Christmas?

When does it go into effect: The price hikes are here.

How can travelers find cheaper flights: Try delay and discomfort (discomfort has less to do with being a pain than your ability to be flexible).

  • Discomfort: Don’t fly Fridays or Sundays because these popular days are typically the most expensive. Instead, fly Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays when airlines need to fill up flights and usually offer discounting.
  • More discomfort: Don’t fly convenient non-stops; instead, fly a connecting route and you can sometimes save as much as 50%.
  • Delay: Don’t fly now; instead, wait until Aug. 25 when prices drop for U.S. flights (and prices to Europe may drop a few days earlier). This can result in savings of up to 20%.

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Updated: June 16, 2015