By Kate Cheng
We know, we know – you’ve got a million balls juggling in the air, one of them’s about to drop…and it’s inevitably the one where you organise your flight three months in advance and oh look! It’s mid-November and Thanksgiving is next week. And then if you’re booking an Uber or train to the airport on top of that, the dollars can easily add up. So, here’s how to score yourself the cheapest flight possible last minute without having to fork out half your rent and struggling to kill yourself for the entire fifteen-hour flight in the middle seat.
While it is suggested that Tuesdays are the best day for flying out, sometimes it’s better to surf websites that compare flights, and then check the entire week for lowest prices. Generally, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are your best bet. We also suggest early morning flights (like, is-this-really-late-or-early-kind-of-morning) or ones in the afternoon – at least you’ll still have a good portion of the day left when you touch down in your destination!
Buy Off-Season and Non-Direct Flights
Traveling off-season (so, say, not during public or school holidays like Christmas or Summer vacation) will definitely get you more mileage for your dollars. Booking a flight with a layover or two will also keep the price down, while perhaps allowing you a chance to look through a new city! Plus, using the same cab company every time to get you to the airport will definitely ensure you pay a steady rate and aren’t being ripped off (or at least that you’ll know if someone tries to).
Use the Incognito Tab
You know how sometimes you search for a flight and then two days (or two hours) later it seems to soar up to three times that amount? Airlines and websites can tell when you’ve been leaving digital footprints all over their page, and so know they can hike the price up if you’ve shown you’re invested. It’s best to use the incognito tab so that you can compare and re-check prices to your heart’s content without worrying about some brand going all Mission Impossible on you.
Don’t Pay for the Perrier
If you’re already on a budget airline, you know that they’ll be looking to sneak a little here and there out of your wallet with inessential but attractive additionals: want some soothing green tea (to make your early morning flight that much more bearable)? That’ll be $15. An eye mask to go with that? Make it $389. Opting out of plane refreshments (not like we’d go near plane food anyway) and bringing your own healthy alternatives are sure ways to save yourself some Ben Franklins. Bonus points if you manage to pack your entire trip into your carry-on (decant away, people! And get samples from Sephora etc) – airlines love to charge extra for luggage, and that’s before you realise it’s overweight from squeezing in those extra Proenza Schouler cage heels…you know, just in case.
Join Airline Loyalty Clubs
Do not overlook the perks of joining airline membership clubs and racking up those air miles. From booking your preferred seat for free up to forty-eight hours earlier, to taking a hot shower and getting your requisite wheatgrass smoothie from the airline lounge, there are literally no drawbacks to getting points from a flight you’ve already booked. Once you start climbing those tiers, the benefits just get even better – priority boarding, check-in, and easier upgrades. Life doesn’t get much better when you get a complimentary Cosmo and/or cappuccino thrown in.