Top 3 Cheapest Flight Deals of All Time

Booking the cheapest flights requires discipline, and a few insider tips. For example, loyal FareCompare readers know that Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to fly, and that Tuesdays are great days to find cheap tickets. Checking with the low-cost carriers is no longer enough, because sometimes the traditional airlines beat their prices. Airfare alerts keep you up to date on multiple airlines, so you are less likely to miss a great airfare, like the following legendary all-time cheapest deals.

The Five Things You Should Know to Find Cheap Airfares

1. Spirit Air’s May 2011 $9 Fares
Spirit Airlines’ promotional $9 fares each way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in May 2011 were not only shocking because of how low they were, but also for how clearly they conveyed the airline trend of fee-based services. If you bought one of these fares and wanted to bring a carry-on bag that would not fit under the seat, you’d have to pay $30 online, or $45 at the gate. Spirit is known as a budget airline that got in early on the trend of charging for extras. But even with fees and taxes, a base ticket price of $9 to fly from LA to Vegas is quite a temptation.

Shop for Tickets One at a Time to Save on Airfare

2. Allegiant’s $9 fares of 2009
During the summer of 2009, budget airline Allegiant offered $9 one-way fares from San Diego to Monterey. Even though Allegiant only flew the route on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, a person could start the weekend early, enjoy the Monterey Peninsula for three days, and get back home Sunday for a cheap weekend getaway. 

5 Strategies for Avoiding Airline Fees

3. Famous Mistake Airfares from February, 2008
Mistake airfare listings do happen, and travelers who pounce can sometimes book these fares before they are corrected. In February, 2008, United and American mistakenly offered fares from Dallas to Hawaii for less than $200. While mistake airfares are rarer now, the key to finding one is to sign up for airfare alerts. Then you will be notified of these fares even before an airline realizes its mistake and corrects it.

Cheapest Days to Fly and Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets

How do these mistake airfares happen? Hundreds of thousands of fares are entered into booking systems every day. Someone may accidentally leave off the last digit of a fare or offer a red-eye fare for daytime travel by mistake. In 2006, United accidentally posted $0 fares for several domestic routes. It took about six hours for the error to be corrected.

When looking for that ultra-cheap fare, don’t forget that you have some control over airline fees. Learn to pack light in a carry-on bag, and you can save $25 to $35 per person in checked luggage fees. Also, the more flexible you can be with your schedule, the better your chances of scoring the cheapest airline tickets.


Published: November 23, 2011