I have been a travel agent for 3 years now and I’ve learnt an awful lot. There are tons of posts from travellers as to how they get their flights, which is fantastic advice! However, it’s time you hear some advice on how to buy cheap flights from the other side of the travel industry.
People tend to use Skyscanner to search for cheap flights and this has its pro’s and its cons. It gives you numerous options, all clearly labelled in price order. It’s great if you just don’t know where to begin and are open to all suggestions. They have some great filters too i.e budget, which airline you want to fly with or what time you want to fly.
That round-the-world ticket that looks too good to be true, probably is.
Now I must admit, I sigh a little inside when a customer tells me they have been looking on Skyscanner and ask me to price match what they have found. The reason I sigh is because that round-the-world ticket that looks too good to be true, probably is.
Please do take a note of the length of time it takes to get from A to B, does it include an overnight stay in transit (changing planes on route), or 4 flights when there is a direct option? Also, once you have picked your ideal itinerary, please do go to the confimation page, as the price at this point can change to the price you saw on the original search results. Skyscanners flight prices aren’t always ‘live’prices, as in, that rate isn’t always available. I don’t know why this is the case, but it is something to watch out for.
Expedia is another great website to use. I would recommend using this like Skyscanner, it’s a great place to start, to get an overview of airlines and flight times. It has great filters too and results are shown clearly in price order. Unlike Skycanner, I think it’s easier to see the total length of travel (which again, the cheapest price can include long waits in transit.) I feel like their prices are more ‘live’ as in, what you see is what you get. Their hotel list is HUGE too, so it’s a great place to get flights and hotel in one.
With both of these sites, I do think it’s always best to double check the price against the airlines website. That is where you should be getting the cheapest price for that flight. The airlines will keep their site up-to-date with prices so no sneaky increases on confirmation.
Speak to a travel agent to see if they can beat the price.
If you don’t fancy taking everything on yourself, and want some real advice, go to a travel agency.
Places like STA specialise in selling flights for students and travellers under 30, whist Diversity Travel specialise in charity/volunteer prices, and both have special rates that you won’t find on sites like Expedia and Skyscanner. They have access to rates that they have negotiated especially with airlines that are sellable to everyone, any age, any job. Most of these travel agents will also try to, or are obliged to price-match. If you get a quote from an airline’s website, take it and speak to a travel agent to see if they can beat the price. Even if they match it, the benefits you get with an agent are great! Expert knowledge, a direct contact to manage your booking, most have a 24-hour phone line too with real people and not an answer phone.
Another thing to note, before you book a flight, a lot of airlines have codeshare flights. This means that they have partnered with another airline to sell that flight. For example, British Airways and American Airlines codeshare on flights from London to New York. If you go on American Airlines website, they will sell you a flight which is on a British Airways owned plane. You could go on the British Airways website and buy a ticket on that exact same flight. And vice versa. The reason I am telling you this is because, if the flight you want to take is a codeshare (and it will say in small print if it is operated by another airline) then always check the price with both airlines. The cost should be the same, but this isn’t always the case and you could end up taking the same flight for a little cheaper. Again, if you speak to a travel agent and they mention its a codeshare, feel free to ask them to check what the price is with the other airline.
I hope this has helped and given you some advice on getting cheap flights, advice you may not have read before.
If there is anything else you want to ask, just leave a comment and I will get back you!