Have you suddenly made plans to take a trip with your friends? Perhaps a job trip came out of nowhere, and are you looking for a last minute flight deal? No matter the reason behind making spontaneous travel plans, if you know where to find the best last-minute flight offers, it is possible to get cheap last-minute flights.
Planning is one of the best techniques to save money on a flight. But you don’t have the luxury of advance notice sometimes.
Whether you’re traveling for a family crisis, a business voyage on short notice, or a spontaneous getaway, here’s how to make a last minute flight deal.
7 tips to make the best last minute flight deal
Use a flight map
There are handy map tools for Google Flights and Skyscanner that can help you find the cheapest flight.
Use the map to match fares at nearby airports if your destination is set in stone. Flying into a location a few hours away and renting a car to reach your final stop may be cheaper.
Use the map to select the most economical location if your destination is open-ended, i.e., “anywhere with a beach” Choose your airport(s) and home dates, and then scan the map for an affordable flight. Google Flights will even show you possible destinations; all you need to do is pick your travel dates and interests, be they wildlife, food, beaches, or nature.
Fly during undesirable hours
‘Go on a red-eye or crack-of-dawn flight,’ says Elizabeth Avery, founder of Solo Trekker 4 U, a travel website. These flights manage to have unfilled seats and will often be less costly than flights at midday.
According to recent research for flights available within seven days, a red-eye flight from the Washington, D.C., area to San Diego, for instance, was almost $130 cheaper than other options for that route.
Contact Airline for last minute flight deal
There are still a handful of airlines offering bereavement fares, which could help take the financial sting out of last-minute funeral travel. You have to schedule the flight by phone to get the discount, and you typically need to start traveling within seven to 14 days. Be prepared to provide the relative’s name and the relative’s doctor or funeral home’s name and phone number.
As per to Halley Knigge, a spokeswoman for the carrier, Alaska Airlines, for example, will tap 10 percent off its announced fares for passengers traveling due to the death of an immediate family member. It also applies to Virgin America, which Alaska Air Group has acquired.
For those traveling because of a death in the family, Delta Air Lines and Air Canada also offer exceptional rates.
Otherwise, there may be cheaper deals, so analyze the bereavement rates with average fares from other airlines using Kayak or Last Minute Travel sites.
Tap your rewards
If you cannot find an affordable fare or skip the trip, consider subsidizing your flight by redeeming credit card rewards or airline miles.
Not sure whether we should use rewards or cash?
Using this method, you can estimate the value of your rewards for a given flight: (ticket price-taxes and fees) ÷ rewards cost. To find out the value of your bonuses, then multiply that number by 100.
For instance, a flight costing $250 (with taxes and fees of $20) or 25,000 miles would be equal to 0.92 cents per mile. That’s below the average value of a range of programs’ rewards and miles, so consider using cash.
But it would work out to 1.92 cents per mile if the identical flight held $ 500 (with $20 in taxes and fees) either 25,000 miles. As it surpasses the average value of most rewards programs, that’s a good case for covering your miles.
Be Flexible with Your Destinations
If you can’t be flexible when you’re flying, at least be flexible when you’re flying. It’s better to be both, but if you want to save the most money and get a cheap tour, at least you need to be versatile with one or the other.
Airline search engines made it very easy to search the world to find the cheapest fare. You don’t have to search manually, town by place, day by day. Sites like Skyscanner, Momondo, and Google Flights all offer exploration tools that allow you to get to your home airport and see a map of the world with all the flights on it. It helps you to compare different destinations without having to brainstorm any choices quickly. You’ll probably even find some fun destinations that you haven’t even thought about!
If you are adaptable about where you want to go (i.e., everywhere but at home), use these search engines to find out where to go.
The reality about airfare is that there’s always a deal going to any destination — it just may not be your first option. However, if you’re flexible with where you want to go, you’re still going to get an opportunity and save a lot of money in the process.
When you have trapped in one place at a time, you’re stuck with whatever the price looks like. Nothing will change that. But when you become versatile, the whole world will instantly open up to you, and you’ll find fantastic cheap airfares!
Fly Budget Carriers for last minute flight deal
Years ago, if you decided to travel between continents, you were often stuck with pricey conventional airlines. It is no longer valid. Budget airlines also run a variety of long-haul flights, making it possible to travel around the world for very little money.
Norwegian Airlines allows you to travel between Europe and Bangkok for as little as $250 away.
AirAsia provides affordable deals across Asia and Australia for less than USD 100 each way.
Indian and Middle Eastern airlines sell low-cost flights across the subcontinent and Africa.
You can travel most of the way around the world on a budget airline these days. Sure, they might not be as convenient, and you might need to pay for luxury upgrades like checked bags and meals, but they’re taking the world to your doorstep without breaking the bank.
Flying budget airlines is a friendly alternative to flying “majors” whenever possible. You have less advantage, but you can save a bundle in price.
Make sure to keep an eye on fees. That’s how they’re making money! Budget airlines also charge fees for checked luggage, carry-on, printing your boarding pass, using a credit card, and everything or they may get away with. Be sure, to sum up, the cost of the fare AND the fee to make sure that the price is lower than that of a larger airline.
Take advantage of Student Discounts
If you are a student (either under 26 years of age), there are many discounts open. You will typically find 20-30 percent off the regular fare. Travel companies like the Flight Center will help you find a cheap ticket. Don’t forget about them!
Besides, bear in mind that most student discounts are passed to airline partners. For example, Delta offers a student discount, which means that you can use the discount on partner airlines such as KLM and Air France. It will encourage you to go a lot further while still saving a ton of money.
If you are not sure which airlines give discounts, please visit their website or call them. Doing a little digging to save 20% (or more) is worth it!
To help you make a last minute flight deal and reach your destination without burning a hole in your pocket, we believe that the above tips will significantly help.