Black Friday: Are These Airfare Deals Really Deals?

How can you tell if that Black Friday airfare special is really a bargain? Five simple things to do and be aware of. And see more tips in our Black Friday video at the end.

Check out the latest Black Friday deals here

Black Friday Deals: Cheap Flights, or Not?

You want a cheap flight but are Black Friday deals for real? How to find out.

1. Not all Black Friday deals are bargains

Always compare airfares: Not all Black Friday deals are truly deals, which is why you must compare the deal price to other airline prices before you book and buy, Airlines can advertise deals as Black Friday bargains but that doesn’t make them all real deals. Example: In 2015, two different Black Friday sales featured flight deals for Washington, D.C. to Denver; one cost $144 one-way while the other cost $69 one-way. If you only saw the first and purchased it immediately, you paid more than you had to. Tip: Compare prices on an airfare comparison site as well as Southwest.com (because this airline does not share fare data).

Airline deals to look for

2. Black Friday deals don’t always follow a schedule

Keep an eye out for early sales: Last year, both Southwest and Spirit had Pre-Black Friday sales and while we can’t say for sure, it would not surprise us to see this again. More and more deals are popping up in advance of the big day (Nov. 24) and we will post them all on our specially-curated Black Friday deals page.

3. Let technology do the work

Set an airfare alert: It’s easy to set airfare alerts so you are sent the best-priced deals in real-time. Then, if you like what you see, buy immediately. Tip: Check out fares on the route you’re interested now so you’ll get a feel for good, bad and so-so prices.

4. What’s the catch?

Watch for restrictions: Black Friday sales often have a limited shelf-life with some lasting just a day or two, others just a few hours. Most come with other restrictions, too, such as limiting the travel periods to less popular days to fly (like Tuesdays or Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays). Tip: The more flexible you can be, the better these deals will work for you.

5. Hurry!

Deals don’t last: If you hear about a Black Friday sale you might be interested in, don’t put it off ‘til later; check out the deals immediately. In any sale, the best fares are limited to a handful of seats per plane, and during a Black Friday sale, expect competition for the few deals to be fierce. Tip: Again, if you like what you see, act fast.

VIDEO: Airfare analyst Rick Seaney with more money-saving tips.

 

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Updated: November 17, 2016