Airline tickets.

Fly away!

I was an international flight attendant for 23 years. After learning this fact about me, many people assume that I have or know how to get the best deals on airline tickets. No, I do not get to fly for free. The reality is that I research and use some of the same methods most people do when purchasing flight tickets. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind in getting the best flight deals.

Compare flight costs. Airline reward programs have changed significantly over the years. So, loyalty to a specific airline does not provide the benefit it once did. Your favorite airline may not have the best deal, and the only way to find out who does is to shop around. Very rarely does an airline have a monopoly on a destination. It’s best to consider all options if the cost of airfare matters to you.

Timing matters. Sometimes circumstances do not allow for the best timing for making a ticket purchase. Try not to purchase your flight tickets too far in advance or right before you need to fly. Keep in mind the peak season flying months of the summer or popular holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, or Thanksgiving. With these in mind, you might want to make your purchase well in advance. However, last-minute flight deals are also possible, and there is no rule as to when airlines will unexpectedly drop their prices.

In addition to timing your flight ticket purchases, the days you choose to fly also can make a difference in airline ticket prices. Historically Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays tend to be cheaper days to fly. Most people want their travel to extend over the weekend, so those days tend to be more expensive. Fridays and Sundays usually cost more to fly. Sundays are always hectic as people want to return from travel to start their workweek.

Flight times also can make a difference. Early morning or overnight flights tend to be cheaper as most people prefer more convenient flight times. I tend to prefer early morning flights. They are often more reliable as the airlines need them to be on time to keep their daily flight schedules on time.

Finally, choosing a non-stop flight or a connecting flight can affect pricing. Only the traveler will know the value of a lower price compared to an inconvenient or long travel day.

As air travel resumes, travelers must consider pricing and what they value most from their travels. As always, I encourage research on the different options available. I hope these ideas help as there is no one solution for everyone. I’d like to know.

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Donna Hunter, PhD

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