A great tip to help you find cheap flights is to know your airline’s Quality of Service Index score for any flight you’re interested in. Bottom line: Flexibility will save you money.
Listen as Rick Seaney and Anne McDermott ask the question: What makes a good flight good?
What is the Quality of Service Index?
The QSI is a kind of scoring system based on factors passengers think are most valuable in a flight. The more value a flight has, the higher quality score it commands and of course, the airlines charge higher prices for higher scoring flights.
What makes one flight more valuable than another?
A variety of factors, including:
- Departure time: Dawn flights are often cheaper because passengers don’t want to get up early.
- Non-stop flights: These are generally seen as more valuable than connecting flights which take longer to arrive at destinations and have the inconvenience of additional airport stops.
- Day of week: Typically, the cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and often Saturday.
- Frequency of departures: Often airlines with multiple daily departures on a particular route will have cheaper flights.
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As mentioned, connecting flights usually save you money and this is nowhere more evident than on flights to Europe – I’ve seen non-stop airfare prices 20 percent to 40 percent higher than connecting flights to several cities on the Continent. This can mean a difference of $500 in flights – or two nights in a nice hotel. A question to ask yourself: What is the convenience of a non-stop flight worth to me?
Good rule of thumb: Don’t fly when everyone wants to fly – popular departure times and days of the week as well as non-stops have the most value and therefore generally will cost you more.