The Five Things You Should Know to Find Cheap Airfares

5 Things You Should Know to Find Cheap Airfares

Looking for the cheapest flights and lowest possible airline tickets every time you fly? Find them every time you shop on FareCompare by following these five simple rules.

Even if circumstances prevent you from following all the rules, follow the ones you can and you’ll still see savings on your next airline ticket purchase.

Did you happen to catch me on ABC’s Good Morning America today? If not, watch the video below and follow my five tips below for finding cheap airfares, right after the video.

1. Cheap Flights Mean Shopping for Airfare on Tuesdays at 3pm Eastern

How do I know this is the best time to buy airfare? Because I’ve been watching this rule play out for the past several years, and I know it works.

The rationale behind it is simple: no airline wants to offer fares even a dollar more than its rivals, because they know shoppers will choose the cheaper price every time. Here’s how it works:

  • Airlines typically launch airfare sales Monday evenings
  • Other airlines note the price drop and begin matching the new lower fares
  • The matching is usually completed by 3pm Eastern on Tuesday

By Tuesday afternoon, you have the most airlines with the best prices to choose from. Don’t take my word for it – see for yourself.

2. Be Flexible on Your Air Travel Dates

Fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays: These are generally the least expensive days to fly, and airfare sales are often restricted to flights on these day. Avoid flying on Fridays and Sundays which are usually the most expensive days to fly.

3. Be Flexible on the Time of Day You Fly

Hate to get up in the morning? Or are you an early-to-bed type? What if I told you that changing your habits could save you hundreds of dollars? Check out these cheap times to fly:

  • Fly at dawn, at lunch time and during the dinner hour, as well as the later evening hours
  • Catch an overnight red-eye flight

In other words, fly when most folks don’t want to fly, and you’ll save money.

4. Fly in-and-out of Hub Airports

It’s a fact of life that most of the time, big airports – particularly airline hubs – have cheaper airfare prices. Only you can decide if the savings is worth the inconvenience of a longer drive to a bigger airport. Here’s an easy way to determine this:

The prices will come to you in real-time, and you’ll be able to see at a glance if a longer drive is worth it.

5. Avoid All Airline Fees

On most domestic airlines, that checked-bag of your will cost you. And there are some unusual airlines fees you may not be familiar with. Avoid of the worst of them:

  • Use a carryon bag: a single checked-bag adds $50 to your airfare price
  • Pack a lunch: do you really want to pay $10 for a meal you don’t like?
  • Bring a neck pillow and a sweater: JetBlue and US Airways now charge $7 for a pillow/blanket combo while American Airlines charges $8

Learn more about FareCompare and the cheapest days to fly and best times to buy airline tickets for year-round savings.

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Published: January 18, 2011