How To Save Money on Airfares
The title of this is slightly misleading, while it may say “how to save money”, in some instances as we will see, there is no way to save money on airfares. We will always be at the mercy of the airlines, which in some ways is the “man behind the curtain”.
We don’t know what is really going on.
What Influences The Cost of Airfares?
In looking at ways to save on airfares, it doesn’t hurt to look at what is influencing the price of the ticket we buy.
According to some sources, just to fly a Boeing 737, is around $3,958 per flight hour.
Some of the other larger planes can cost less per flight hour to operate, but fly longer routes, and also carry more passengers.
So what makes up these outrageous per flight hour costs?
* Wages for crew and ground crew.
* Fuel (airlines purchase fuel futures, which means they get a guarantee on future fuel purchased to be at a set price for a period of time).
* Maintenance is a very costly expense, safety is a number one priority, and the planes need to be services and maintained according the rules set out by the manufacturer, and the regulatory bodies.
* Taxes, we all pay them.
* Airport fees. Airports charge a fee for each flight taking off and landing. Some airports are cheaper than others.
* Supply and demand. Butts in seats. The higher the demand for a flight, the airlines can increase the ticket prices. If no one wants to fly, they can reduce the ticket prices.
This is one of the areas of attempting to save money on airfares that can fall outside our control.
Some short-haul flights are always busy and full, they may be heavily used by commuters or business people, and in some instances, the prices average around the same figure.
Competitive Nature of the Airline Industry
As with many industries, the airline industry is competitive, very competitive. Many airlines fly the same routes, such as Ryanair and Easyjet, so there is a huge competitive nature for customers.
So the airline may reduce airfares. Some airlines state they may only make a 10% or 12% profit off each ticket sold. It is however, still a profit, if they have enough passengers on the flight.
So one way to save is to look at all the airlines that fly to the destination you wish to travel to.
Both Easyjet and Ryanair fly to Faro, Portugal, and out of some airports the flights are within 30 minutes of each other.
Way to Save: Research different airlines flying to the same destination.
We Fly Out of And Into?
As mentioned, taxes and fees for an airline to use an airport to fly into and out of vary among airports.
If you wish to fly to Milan, Italy, it is cheaper to fly into Bergamo, Italy, then pay for a transfer to Milan. The transfer is about an hour.
If you are fling into the United States, it is cheaper if going to New York, to fly into Newark, New Jersey, which is just across the Hudson River from NYC. A short train or coach trip.
Many cities have multiple airports, such as London. You have Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, and Luton.
Airfares can change according to which airport you fly out of and into.
Obviously if you live up North, and find a ticket deal down South, such as at Heathrow, you need to get there, and get there on-time.
If you need to leave from Liverpool, by taking the train service to London, you still need to get to Heathrow Airport, which means a bus, or getting to Paddington Station for the express train to Heathrow.
All additional expenses, and also your time.
Way to Save: Research different airports to fly into and out of.
What Day is It? What Time is It?
It is not just the day you fly for your trip, but also the time, and also……drum roll… the day you book your tickets for some International flights.
My research found that booking some International flights from the UK to the USA, if you booked on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and flew out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and returned on a Tuesday or Wednesday, created a substantial savings.
Hundreds of Pounds!
As to why, one can only speculate.
They may be less busy days with fewer fliers seeking tickets.
Supply and demand.
Then there also is the time you choose to fly.
Both Ryanair and Easyjet offer cheaper tickets to many destinations if you fly on a later, in some instances, much later flight.
Wanting to leave at 7am to get to the resort in a warm, sunny and sandy part of the world can cost more, than waiting till that evening.
Yes, you get in late, and may lose a day, but you can also save money.
Of course there are those that refute these results, so research is always important. Check into flights on different dates, when looking, and for flying.
And always clear your browser history and cache after looking. Cookies that web sites use track your moves, and when you return to the web site, it may appear that as a user you are looking at seats again, so if the airline thinks there is a great demand, they may raise the prices.
Way to Save: Research your flights on different days and times, and clear your browser history and cache.
Way to Save: The day you buy your tickets, and the day and time you choose to fly, can affect the final cost for your flight.
Last Minute Last Chance
There are those that state you can find cheap flights at the last minute. Just days before the flight, you will find some great bargains.
Iffy at best.
I am sure there are deals to be had at the last minute, but then if you don’t find that elusive White Whale of a deal, what then?
Do you just pay more and go on the holiday or trip, or do you not go?
There are packaged holidays, where you bundle the flight, resort or hotel, or a car hire together, and you can save money.
In some instances, you can save substantially.
Way to Save: Bundling flights and hotels.
Error fares are fares advertised by an airline or web site, and they seem to be too good to be true, because they are; they are posted in error. A mistake or glitch was made by the airline or operator.
You buy the tickets, get the deal, and think the airline has to honour them.
No they don’t, not really.
Some airlines may honour the error, but they are not obligated to.
Again, if it seems too good to be true, it very well may be.
Fees and Charges
Some airlines charge various fees, for baggage, carry-on, using a credit card, a seat, to sit together, to have extra legroom, the list goes on and on.
The confusion that is what you can carry on has gotten out of control, too. Ryanair have changed their carry-on policy so many times, you have to wonder if you are even allowed on, bag less.
These extra fees can add-up and you need to be aware of them when purchasing a plane ticket.
If you need to check a bag, try to use the reduced or lower weight charge. Easyjet has different fees based on the weight of your checked bag.
And double check your carry-on bag fits that airlines requirements. Getting called out at the gate with a bag too large to bring onboard is expensive. Some airlines charge up to £50 to check a bag at the gate.
Way to Save: Watch out for fees and charges, always make sure your carry-on bag meets the requirements.
So there you have a few ways to save on airfares, however, the airline industry is a bit like Google, very mysterious.
Just as we begin to know and understand Google’s algorithms, they change them.
Just as we think we have a handle on how to save on airfares, something is changed.
* Research different airlines flying to the same destination.
* Research different airports to fly into and out of.
* Research your flights on different days and times, and clear your browser history and cache.
* The day you buy your tickets, and the day and time you choose to fly, can affect the final cost for your flight.
* Watch out for fees and charges, always make sure your carry-on bag meets the requirements.
* Bundling flights and hotels.