Flights prices have soared and experts say that high fares are here to stay. Travellers are looking to cut down on flight costs wherever possible. Particularly as budgets are stretched, especially from Australia to Europe.
Flight hacks will continue to be necessary with high prices set to stick around. Alexander Irving, European transport analyst at AB Bernstein told CNBC says with increased costs for airlines, travellers have to keep making up the difference.
“I do think fares need to be permanently higher than they were in 2019.
“Airlines are going to have to pay for more of their carbon emissions … plus the inflation element. It’s all going to end up in the fare eventually.”
Luckily, savvy travellers can often shave hundreds off the cost of their flights by being clever. They need to consider when they book flights, which routes they take and even which browser you search on.
Here are eight flight hacks to save extra dollars on getting abroad.
Find the sweet spot
Google flights data says if you’re travelling internationally. The best window to book your flights is in between two to eight months before flying. However, for key peak demand periods like Easter, Christmas or New Year you might want to book closer to 10 months out.
Booking too late will generally come with a cost, with prices hiking up to 30% in the last 21 days before departure.
Compare compare compare
Any travel experts leading tip for finding the best flights will be to comprehensively compare prices, between different airlines, routes and websites. Aggregate websites like Skyscanner and Kayak are the best for finding the cheapest prices, however, it’s still best to book directly through the airline.
Skyscanner’s ‘cheapest month’ feature is perfect. Especially, if you have flexible dates and actually have the availability to plan your holiday around when the cheapest flights are.
The cheapest days
Google flights date says prices are 1.9% cheaper on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with Saturdays and Sundays being the most expensive. If you’re purchasing return international flights into the $1000s, then these savings can add up quite significantly.
On a $3000 flight, 1.9% represents a $57 saving, which will add into the hundreds across multiple travellers using the flight hack
While it’s difficult to quantify, many feel that airline prices rise when you have previous searches for the same flights in your cache, with the algorithm anticipating your demand. By searching on someone else’s device or in incognito or private mode, you can be sure that you’re seeing the prices without it being altered by the website tracking your cookies.
Hit the sales
Signing up to the newsletters or email chains of leading airlines and flight aggregators will ensure you don’t miss out on any flight sales. If you do get alerted to a flash sale, you’ll want to act fast. The seats on sale will be limited and if you want to get cheaper prices on your chosen dates you’ll need to be speedy.
Australian budget airlines like Jetstar run sales fairly regularly and slash prices, often offering last-minute options for flexible travellers.
Look into points
Airlines with programs like Qantas’s Frequent Flyers often can have huge benefits for people with certain credit cards. Frequent flyers can link with most major Australian bank cards, so you can earn points on everyday purchases.
Finder has a comprehensive list of different cards and the airline benefits they can earn you.
Websites like Google Flights or Skyscanner allow you to set flight trackers. This will give you notifications when fares fluctuate, meaning if they drop you can quickly snap them up. Some websites will even give you the option to be alerted if prices drop below a certain level, so you can set your own limits.
Google Flights even has a feature that will let you know when flights to certain destinations drop exceptionally low. This is another feature perfect for flexible travellers
Try a travel agent
Travel agents often have access to cheaper flights, or at least have the expertise to point you towards the best prices. There are also specialist agents, for example agents who specialize in around-the-world flights, which can prove surprisingly cheap.
Travel agents are having a renaissance as post-pandemic travel has come with complications and higher prices. If you can’t find the flights you’re after it’s definitely worth considering meeting with an agent.