Cheap flights: how to save money on plane tickets and airlines

When booking a getaway, you’ll want a big chunk of your hard-earned vacation budget to keep you entertained during your stay. That’s why we’ve rounded up our top tips for saving on flights.

Avoiding school holidays is a no-brainer, but did you know that the airport of departure could also determine the price you pay? There are also a number of expensive add-ons that you can avoid to save costs.

It is the right time

Airfares are priced dynamically, fluctuating with demand, so it’s impossible to predict when you’ll get the best price. Instead, set up price alerts so you’re notified when a price changes. Simply click the price alerts button on your flight search results page and enter your email address.

Who? Travel surveys its members to find the best and worst comparison sites and online travel agencies. Learn more about the benefits of a Who? Travel subscription

Be flexible

Many sites will show you a graph of the cheapest days to fly in the chosen month, with Fridays and Sundays usually being the most expensive. Sometimes you can save a bundle just by flying a day earlier. If you don’t have that luxury, consider being flexible in other ways, like destination. SkyscannerSearching “everywhere” will find the cheapest destinations for your dates.

Flying to Tenerife, Mallorca or somewhere further afield? To find which airline will take you there at the lowest cost

Look for alternatives

There is no rule that says you have to fly with the same airline, or to and from the same airport for that matter. Secondary airports not only have shorter queues – popular with budget airlines, they are also often cheaper. Just factor in the extra travel time and costs. For example, Girona and Reus – sometimes referred to as Barcelona North and South – are over 100 km from the city.

Avoid airline extras

For economy flights, pre-book your checked baggage or, better yet, carry only hand baggage.

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Don’t pay to sit together

Unless you are flying Ryanair, paying to sit together is just wasted money. Check in early and most of the time you will be seated together anyway.

Table Notes: All prices are based on one-way flights from London to Barcelona on 4 May 2018. In-flight food is based on the average price of a sandwich, crisps and soft drink, or an offer of equivalent meal, if applicable. Four largest airlines based on sample size.

Be aware

By signing up for airline mailing lists or discount clubs, like Secret Flying or Jack’s Flight Club, you’ll never miss a bargain. Both send out erroneous fare alerts and details, where flights are mistakenly whipped at rock bottom prices. If the airline chooses not to honor them, you will be refunded.

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