Cheap flight finder

In the eighties and early nineties, we had the “bucket shop”. More recently we have had low cost airlines. But with the cost of oil still increasing, is there such a thing as a cheap flight anymore? Yes there is – if you follow the tips in this blog.

Book well ahead
While the cheap flight hasn’t yet died out, the cheap last-minute flight is becoming a rarity. One reason for this could be that business travellers tend to book quite late, thus taking up the seats that used to be sold at rock-bottom prices. Booking as far in advance as possible is now more likely to get you the cheapest fares. Do be aware however that some of the cheapest fares have stricter terms and conditions and very limited changeability so make your travel plans well in advance.

Low cost: not as low as you might think
Don’t automatically assume that the low cost airline is going to get you the best deal. If you are a family travelling with baggage, you will most probably have to pay for the baggage, a fee to check the baggage in, a fee to guarantee everyone sitting together and finally a debit or credit card charge, making that cheap flight less of a bargain than you first thought! Bear in mind that low cost airlines tend to fly into smaller regional airports, which may be a long way from city centres. This might be great for some holidays but not others so check out all your options.

Charter airlines
If you are flying to a popular holiday destination, your choice of airlines is greatly increased thanks to the charters. Unlike flights, package holidays can be very good value for money if you book them late so in some circumstances it may even be worth booking the package and not using the accommodation portion if you have made other plans. The website Flights Direct includes a search for charter airlines, and it is worth seeing your travel agent too for late deals.

Ethnic Travel Agent Specialists
The UK has many ethnic communities, which in some regions means that there may be a travel agent that specialises in cheap flights to those communities’ linked countries – if you are travelling somewhere like the Caribbean, India, the Middle East or Africa these may be worth a visit.

Using the internet
The internet has become a powerful tool for finding flight bargains. But with so many travel websites, where do you start? For flight only deals, look for sites that use “screenscraper” technology. They work by sending your request to a variety of sites and reporting back the cheapest. Try Kayak, Travelsupermarket, Cheapflights or Skyscanner.

If you are flying long-haul, or are also looking for a hotel for your trip, it is worth trying “flight broker” type sites as these have different commercial relationships which may work more in your favour. Try Expedia , and Opodo.

If you are flexible about where and when you travel, and are just looking for the cheapest flights then try the Flight Checker tool on the Moneysavingexpert site. This helps find the cheapest fares for a particular destination between a range of dates, or alternatively you can click “I’ll Go Anywhere!” for the cheapest fares in their database.

Insurance
Many airline’s websites and travel agents will suggest taking out travel insurance with themselves – but remember you are not obliged to do this and you can often make savings by shopping around. 24/7 travel insurance offers cover for under a fiver* – another great saving!

*Premium £4.38 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a ‘standard’ Single Trip policy for 3 days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press and are subject to change.

Information in this article taken from www.moneysavingexpert.com