Flying is usually the same or more expensive than other long-distance means of transport. For this reason, it is very important to look for all the possible alternatives and offers when selecting one and buying your flight.
Prices tend to vary a lot, depending on several factors: chosen airline (if it is regular or low-cost), travel date, schedule, time of ticket purchase, occasional offers, if you travel in economy or first class , if there are stopovers or direct flights, etc.
On the other hand, in some cases the cheapest rates are usually subject to certain restrictive conditions that must always be taken into account, namely:
- minimum length of stay,
- impossibility of changes or extensions,
- no refund of the amount of the ticket,
- without cabotage services, with an additional charge for baggage handling and insurance.
- operate with airports smaller and more remote than the traditional ones.
While it was believed for a long time (and some still believe it today) that buying many months in advance or waiting until the last minute is usually cheaper. This is not always the case. The best thing is to subscribe to the newsletters of the airlines or travel agencies so that you find out about all the promotions and that is where you can find the best moments to buy. Or events like BlackFriday or CyberMonday.
As for the dates indicated to travel, the ideal is in low season, that is, outside of the holiday periods. These are usually the months of March to June and September to November, with the exception of bridge holidays that usually cost the same as in peak periods.
If you have the possibility to choose within a range of a couple of days, you have the possibility to find a better price. And this is, because from one day to the next, prices can vary a lot, especially when it comes to highly sought-after dates, such as long weekends. Normally the airlines on their websites have a price calendar where it shows you that same route days before and days after your selection. The objective of the calendar is to give you an idea about the different prices and show you the days with the best price.
Searching online is nowadays the most practical and economical way to find the best price for a plane ticket. If you have no idea which airlines offer cheap flights for your route, use an airfare comparator. Since there are search engines and specific comparators for this purpose such as: Google Flights or Skyscanner, among many others. In the aforementioned platforms, you do not carry out the purchase operation, but they help you to compare different airlines and possible flights to the route and date that you indicate.
If your trip is to more than one city perhaps (instead of buying round trip) it will be more useful to get to one and return from another. This way you will save a flight and it is an especially useful option for those who visit several destinations either within a country or countries of a region, and where at some points you will move in another means (train, bus, car, boat). Just look for the “multiple destinations” option to combine destinations.
Once you have found the most attractive prices, check the details of the flight and which airline is, to go directly to the official website of the airline and make your purchase there. Some airlines can make discounts by accumulating miles, either as a frequent passenger or for credit card consumption.
When looking for the best rate, look at some details such as waiting times (if connected) and hours. Since sometimes to save some money, you have to face an uncomfortable schedule (such as it can be at dawn, and you may not have public transport available). Either your connection wait is many hours, or you arrive at an airport further away from the urban center where you are going. Therefore, sometimes what appears to be cheaper is not.
You must take into account whether the rate you found includes the extra charges and taxes since in most cases they are not included in the search results of a rate and it may deceive you, although when confirming the payment yes or yes you have to see the details of fees, taxes and extra charges.
Among the extra charges, you can find the dispatch or check-in of luggage. Therefore you must carry the right and necessary luggage. Although some companies may include the baggage to be checked in the rate, there are others that do not, and especially if you are looking for the cheapest rate. Depending on the company, the weight limit for a carry-on can range from 6 to 10 kg, plus a second smaller package for a laptop, or other valuables, plus a coat and a duty free bag. With which, if the trip is for a few days, you could avoid checking a baggage, and thus save money.
Some companies usually offer different types of fares for the same flight, in which according to the type of fare chosen, baggage services, flight delay insurance, priority access, seat selection, flight confirmation are included. via SMS, etc. If the only thing that interests you of all these services is the luggage, the best idea is usually to look for the flattest rate and then add separately, only the luggage that needs to be dispatched since that way it will be cheaper.
Other airlines may offer you the services as you go through the screen, and they are usually preselected by default, so you must be careful to eliminate the selection of the service and continue with the next step, otherwise they will accumulate. at the final rate.
For this reason, always before confirming the purchase, already in the last step, check if the final price coincides with the initial one, observing the breakdown of the services that were added (either because you have chosen them) or because you forgot to "deselect" them. Many inexperienced buyers tend to commit these types of distractions and end up buying a much more expensive plane ticket than they initially saw.
Once the booking is confirmed, which is usually by credit card, you will receive an automatic message with the confirmation of your purchase, the flight details and itinerary and a confirmation number that can have letters and numbers. For security (although this information is sent to you by email) it is not enough to take a screenshot and save the image file or if you have access to a printer print that message or take a picture of the screen. This is in case for some reason, the email with said information does not reach you and you have to call the company, give your information such as purchase and flight date, credit card number, etc., so that they can track the purchase, with all the annoying that this implies.
That confirmation or reservation number that you receive when paying for your ticket will be used to obtain your boarding pass.
In some cases, depending on the company, you can or should do it online. Normally it can be done from 48 hours before the flight. With that boarding pass that is generated for you (if you do not have to check luggage) you can directly access the documentation control area. This boarding pass can be printed or on your mobile phone, although it is never too much to have an impression in case something happens to your mobile.
In case you have to check your baggage, you will have to go to the check-in counter. In some airlines, the boarding pass is still managed at the airport, in the check-in counter area, or in some airports there are also machines where you manage the check-in process yourself to obtain your boarding pass.