Planning to fly this summer? With airfare at a new low, now is the time to book that last minute trip! Here’s what you need to know, with all our top tips for booking airfare:
- Use the 24-hour cancellation rule. After booking, check the fare the next morning. If it’s gone down, take advantage of most airlines’ 24-hour cancellation rule and cancel and rebook the flight.
- Book on a Tuesday; leave on a Wednesday. This golden rule of flight booking still applies! Make sure you sit down to do your actual booking on a Tuesday, and if possible, be flexible enough to fly on a Wednesday. At very least, go into the booking process with a two-day “window” for your departure and return dates to take advantage of airline website calendars, which show fare changes from day to day.
- Like your favorite airlines on Facebook. Airlines often post their inside sales on their social media channels first. By becoming a fan, you reap the benefits of being the airline’s prime customer base. Airlines reward these loyal followers with flash sales.
- Book two 1-way fares on different airlines. Many airlines offer incredibly low fares, going one way. Passengers then find high fares for the return flights. To avoid this issue, consider booking your inbound flight on a different airline than that of your outbound flight.
Book six weeks in advance. This time frame has been proven best for domestic flights. International flights should be booked four to six months in advance. Now that you’ve booked your flight, it’s time to ensure you get the seats you want. You do not need to leave this important aspect of your travel day up to chance!
- Book early and select a seat at booking. If you book early enough, you should get your pick of window and aisle seats, without paying anything extra.
- Ask an agent whether new seats have opened up at check in. Often, elite or frequent fliers book the best economy seats early on and then are bumped up to business or first class, leaving their prime economy seats empty at the last minute.
- Flying solo at the last minute? Don’t pick your seat online. Instead, check in, but wait to select a seat assignment if the only seats remaining include undesirable middle seats. Airline agents are required to seat all checked-in passengers; as such, after all those middle seats are reluctantly claimed by other last-minute passengers, more appealing seats will be opened up toward the front of the plane, free of charge. This tactic is a gamble, but because you’re guaranteed a seat (provided you have checked in), you have nothing to lose.
Look for a seat in a row with one seat already taken. When selecting your seat online, avoid rows with all seats open. Instead, look for a window or aisle seat in a row with one seat already taken. That middle seat will be among the last chosen by passengers, increasing your odds of having some empty space in which to stretch out.
- Beware picking your seat via a third-party site. If you book via a third-party website, note that their seat assignments don’t always make their way to the hosting airline’s computer system. We once booked tickets and chose seats on a cross-country flight months in advance only to scramble for a seat assignment at the airport. If possible, book directly through the airline website. If you do book third-party, read our tips here.
Source: Fix.com Blog
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