The most commonly asked question by our customers is how to buy cheap flight tickets?
The answer to the question is very complicated!
The best way to get cheap flights is to understand how the industry works. The traveler also needs to know about the different channels available for purchasing tickets. Most importantly,
Identifying the best deals out there and the ways and means of identifying the same.
I will describe below my thoughts on finding the best fares available and how to plan the cheapest route and so on. Picking the right airlines and the best ticket deals are equally important to get the right deal.
But first, I will share with you the steps I use while searching for a flight.
8 Steps to Find Cheap Flights for your travel
Step 1: Have a Flexible Date and Destination
This step is not practical for every destination especially if your location is an exotic gateway. But for countries and destinations that enjoy quality air connectivity, this trick does work wonders. If you are flexible with your date and destination there are chances that you will stumble upon a gold mine. On the contrary, the more rigid the date and destination, the lesser is the chance of getting a great deal.
Step 2: Search flight prices on Multiple Online Travel Sites
These are some of the best websites for finding cheap flights:
Taj Travel – An online travel agent specialized in providing unpublished fares. These fares are usually considered some of the cheapest in the business. You need to call them to get the benefit of cheap fares.
Google Flights – Google flights allow customers to buy some of the cheapest fares available in the market.
BookOtrip – BookOtrip is another website that specializes in offering cheap flight tickets to its customers.
If you are an avid traveler, the best days to fly are usually on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. Weekends starting from Friday command a high price for the same route.
On researching for the best price and route. If you manage to find a good fare then buy the ticket and forget about the rest of this post. But in case you could not find the cheap fares read the next step.
Step 3: Search Airfare Websites for Deals and Seat Sales
The above website might return available seats and the best price to a particular route. But in most cases, these fares do not reflect the specific offers introduced by various airlines. The best way to ensure that they exist is by calling one of their ticketing staff to confirm the same or subscribe to one of their fare tracking services.
Step 4: Look at Flights on Budget Airlines
Budget airlines very rarely appear on travel websites. The commission that the online travel agency receives is very less hence many agencies would not bother to list the flights in their website.
Search for budget flights using Taj Travel.
Taj Travel is one of the very few online travel agencies that offer budget flights to travelers traveling across the world. Make sure the price that you paid for the ticket includes baggage fees and extra luggage.
Step 5: Search for Airfare Sales
Some of the most sort after sales come from Emirates and Singapore Airlines. Emirates offers frequent flight deals on selected travel destinations across the world. Subscribing to an online travel portal like Taj Travel can help you receive the latest news on the promotions and offers introduced by various airlines throughout the year.
Step 6: Enter Dates and Destinations on Airline Sites
Once you have decided on the flight and destination of travel, the date of travel that suits your requirement. Go to the airline website (eg: British Airways), they might be selling the same ticket at a cheaper rate. In most cases, the price shown on the airline website is much higher than what is available with various online travel sites.
Let me repeat it again, it is very important!
Once the flight, route of travel, and the date of travel is finalized then check the price of the same in Taj Travel. After which go to the website of the airlines and check the price of the same flight. Book from whichever site that gives you the cheapest price.
Step 7: Decide When should you buy your ticket
When should you buy a ticket?
In case you have found a good price but should you buy the tickets now or wait?
The best time to buy a ticket is between Monday night and Wednesday afternoon. In case an airline introduces any sale on Monday, it usually disappears by Thursday. Book your ticket 2 months before the date of the trip. The closer you get to the destination date, the higher the price of the ticket.
Statistically, the best time to purchase tickets is as follows:
- 7 weeks before you fly for domestic flights USA
- 20 to 23 weeks in advance for flights to Europe
- 10 to 12 weeks in advance for flights to the Caribbean
- 15 to 20 weeks in advance for flights to Asia
Step 8: Subscribe to Taj Travel’s Newsletter
One of the best ways to find cheap flight tickets for the flights of your choice is by subscribing to Taj Travel’s Newsletter. These Newsletters give up to date information on the latest deals available in the market. It is a one-stop solution that informs you about the latest deals offered by airlines to destinations across the world.
What is the important information that you need to know in order to save big on flights!
Different types of Airlines: Full Service Carrier and Low Cost Carriers
Picking the best airlines for your trip that will satisfy your requirements is a very complex decision. The travelers will have an opportunity to pick between a full service airlines or a low cost airlines.
Full Service Carrier
Full fledged airlines are usually the big names associated with the civil aviation industry. United, Delta, British Airways, Emirates are some of the well known full service airline carriers. Low cost airlines, on the other hand, are comparatively small companies and less heard off among the travel community. Some of the well known low cost airlines include names like Air Asia, Virgin Airlines, JetBlue and so on.
The two types of carriers operate in two parallel travel circles. The airlines operate flight differently, they have different cancellation policies, and very different prices and so on.
Here are some of the key points that define full fledged airlines from low cost carriers:
Full fledged airlines offer a wide variety of services like bag transfer, serve meals, in-flight entertainment, comfy seats and so on.
Fully Fledged airlines offer different classes of seating, the cheapest seating option is called the economy class, then comes the business class and finally the most luxurious of the lot, First Class seats.
Most full fledged airlines are members of star alliance. This gives them an added advantage over services in terms of connectivity, boarding pass issues for other airlines and so on.
They have multiple travel hubs in different cities creating better connectivity across the world.
Low Cost Airlines
Low Cost Airlines are synonymous with low cost fares. Early a customer could only use low cost airlines to travel on domestic or short international trips but now the situation has changed considerably!. Now a customer can travel across the world alone with low cost airlines. The rate offered by LCC is considerably lower than full fledged airlines making them a natural choice among most travelers.
The flight ticket prices fluctuate by the hour, by the day, and so on. The prices fluctuate very dynamically. Seasonal factors can contribute greatly to the price of the air ticket.
Most low cost airlines issue paperless tickets, the boarding pass issued by the airlines are all paperless. The travelers can scan the boarding pass at the flight counter and board the airline very fast. It is cheap and convenient for the passenger as well.
Flights are point to point, these airlines do not provide any discounts on flyer miles.it is a unique feature exclusive seen among low cost airlines.
Return tickets are usually the cost of two one way plane tickets. Luggage is rarely transported from one flight to the other even in case of connecting flights that come from the same airlines. The passengers need to collect their bags and recheck the same in the counter.
Low cost airlines usually have better connectivity to tier – ll and tier – lll cities making it an excellent choice for passengers who want to travel to smaller cities.
Transfer connections are something to check while traveling between multiple airlines.
Baggage restrictions are very strict on low cost airlines and extra baggage will usually be dealt with a heavy price tag.
Some airlines even charge credit card fees from customers on top of the ticket costs, baggage cost, taxes, and other fees.
Low cost airlines usually do not offer inflight entertainment.
Low Cost Airlines are not always cheap. Due to the complex software used in the system, the price of the ticket is based on demand and supply principle applicable in the market. Hence, do not believe that the prices offered by low cost airlines are always cheap.
Low cost airlines have been synonymous with frequent changes in time, date, routes with little or no notice. If your entire itinerary for the week is dependent on getting from New York to Mumbai this could be a major disruption of your plans.
How are Low Cost airlines able to keep their price low?
A big curiosity that arises in everyone’s mind right now is how in the world is it possible for low cost airlines to operate flights by charging very low ticket rates. There are several reasons why low cost airlines are capable of operating with such low cost despite charging very low fares. Not all factors apply to all airlines, but these are the factors that differentiate between low cost airlines and full service airlines.
Low cost airlines usually operate shorter routes. The turnaround time is minimal, creating a big effect on downtime.
Low cost airlines have fuel efficient aircraft that can help keep the fuel cost down.
The legacy costs of all major airlines like higher pensions, healthcare costs generally don’t apply to low cost airlines. The most important factor is that low cost airlines do not entertain unions.
Low cost airlines have no frills, automatically bringing down the cost of travel.
Low cost airlines are efficiently run, they adopt technology better. The major airlines are slower in adapting to changes in the dynamic travel industry. The point to point route model made famous by low cost airlines is still not adopted by the large airline operating making the cost of operating higher.
Full fledged or Low Cost Carrier — Which is Better?
If a situation arises when low cost airlines and legacy carriers offer the same price for the same route, always go with fully fledged airlines. The main reason being the service offered by full fledged airlines is far better than that of low cost airlines. The full fledged airlines offer good quality meals, and there is a certainty with the flight. In certain particular cases, the low cost airlines prices might be higher than the full fledged airlines’ prices.
If a city has more than one airport, the LCC might travel to a smaller airport. The smaller airport can be at least 3 to 4 hours from the main airport. If you have a connection flight and the connecting flight is operated by a full fledged airline (that usually operates from the main airport) make sure you have the adequate time to reach comfortably to the main airport.
If you are living in tier – ii or tier – lll city, it is best to take low cost airlines. As most LCC operates to small cities getting a ticket will not be a difficult endeavor. Small airports can have fewer security checks and most importantly least crowded.
General Tips on How to Get Cheap Airline Tickets
Here are some of the best ways to secure cheap flight tickets:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays remain the cheapest days to fly. The weekends are generally the most expensive time to fly, naturally!. Purchasing tickets in off-peak seasons can help you save up to 40 percent on your ticket.
Keeping track of all the discounts and deals offered by all major airlines is very difficult to maintain, having a fare tracker subscription can help you get the information at your fingertips. Last minute flight deals are usually offered on flights with very low occupancy rates, have a chance to get one of those deals will make your travel experience a pleasure. Taj Travel is one of the very few travel agencies that offer last minute flight deals to its customers.
Flights to certain locations show a predictable pattern, for example, the flights between the United States and Europe, the price peaks during the beginning of July and continues to remain high till October. The price softens and reaches an all-time low in March and continues the trend till the mid of April.
Flights between the USA and Asia are generally unpredictable. The price of the ticket is based on various complex factors. The price of the tickets is generally high during December and January. March, April, through August, remain mild. March remains the best time to buy the United States to Asia flight ticket.
Suppose if you are traveling to India and you have multiple stopovers either in Singapore or one in Thailand and if the price to Thailand is cheaper then choose the same to reduce the overall flight cost. If the traveler can plan a trip in advance, he or she is able to buy tickets at a cheaper rate. But for all other cases booking early prospect is impossible to maintain. As mentioned earlier, the prices of airtickets fluctuate with time, this dynamism is caused by market factors of demand and supply. If a particular route commands less demand the price of tickets will be very less and vice versa.
The key to getting dirt cheap prices is flexibility. The amount of flexibility that a traveler has is directly proportional to the amount of discount that he will receive while traveling. Flexible dates, flexible destinations, the duration of flights, the number of stopovers and layovers that a passenger is willing to take while traveling to his or her preferred destination. Being Flexible is the best way to travel to any destination across the world.
If you are looking for long haul flights, traveling from one continent to the other, check multiple online travel websites for the best price possible. Don’t stop there! Check website aggregators like Wego to compare the prices offered by various online travel agents on the route, take note of the same. Finally check the individual airlines to see if the airline website reflects similar prices. While traveling with kids make sure that the travel portal offers child fares, as the child fares offered could be cheaper by 40 percent on the regular fare.
Low cost airlines usually sell their tickets through their own website. Rarely are the price of low cost airlines reflected in the price bars of online travel sites. Taj Travel is one of the very few online travel sites that offer low cost carrier flight ticket prices for its customers, giving the customers a wide array of choices to choose from. An online travel site that offers prices of low cost airlines and full fledged airlines can help travelers make the decision with better precision. A website that reflects prices both LCC and full-fledged airlines make the decision making process an easy endeavor.
Open jaw tickets can help travelers save a lot of money. Open jaw tickets are tickets that have different arrival and departing destinations. Let’s say you are traveling from Miami to Mumbai, but your return flight is from New Delhi, this is what is typically called the open jaw ticket. This strategy is used by some to get to the destination of choice faster and/or cheaper. Even though most deals offered by the airlines are tied to the same city or airport in particular. Open jaw tickets can sometimes prove to be a cheaper alternative than the price of a regular round trip airline tickets. On the brighter side, this gives you an opportunity to experience a new city or a new country in case you are traveling to Europe.
Taj Travel with its three decades of travel knowledge, after analyzing the available data have come with certain interesting conclusions:
Most airlines offer their deals on a Monday morning and the deals usually disappear by Thursday morning. As a traveler, you have practically three days to capitalize on the same. Monday evenings are the best time to buy tickets, as most of the tickets sold in offer tents to get sold off fast. Even though it has three days, most of these tickets are sold as first come first serve basis hence, buying the ticket as early as you can ensure the availability of tickets.
The airlines start discounting the prices of tickets to a particular destination by about 3 months before the date of departure and 14 days before departure, subject to demand and supply. The prices of airlines increase dramatically in the last 14 days of departure. For some low cost airlines trying to book the ticket at least 7 to 10 days before the date of travel, it becomes a costly affair.
Around the World Trips
Travelers are using round the world tickets (RTW) to see the world with minimum costs. Round the world tickets are considered a good value proposition especially for people who want to see the world. The trips are usually broken into slots ( minimum of 3 weeks to 3 months).
For small trips less than 3 weeks, the travel will spend most of his time on the plane rather than enjoying the scenery of the beautiful cities than he/she plans to visit during the trip. If you have limited time and a wish list to visit at least 5 to 6 cities during the short trip RTW ticket is the way to go by.
There is another way to travel the world, this is by using budget airlines to travel the trip. These trips can be both planned as well as unplanned. You could also avail the option of buying tickets as you go. Do thorough research on identifying which is the best option to go by. The freedom some travelers enjoy from having an unplanned itinerary is both fun and liberating. The ability to travel a planned trip is a piece of comfort for many. The entire trip goes as per the pre-set plan, making the journey a comfortable experience.
Tips for Planning an Around the World Trip
RTW tickets offer great value for its customers. The tickets are mainly used for traveling in first class flights or business class flights. Business class and first class will provide all the creature comfort you are looking for while traveling across the cities. RTW tickets are usually fifty percent higher than the regular set of tickets.
Prices can differ based on the starting point. The prices of these tickets are usually cheaper if the starting point is in Europe or Asia, but the prices rise a bit in the case of the North American starting points. If you find the differences greater enough, try taking a one-way route to the destination that offers a cheaper RTW ticket rate. Route changes can involve large fees but date changes have low or no fees at all.
If you want to make changes to your RTW ticket, call the travel agent you bought the ticket, alternatively call the airline that issued the ticket. In both cases, you will have to pay the stipulated date change and route change penalties stipulated in your ticket agreement.
Overland trips can also help you save a lot of money. For example, the price of tickets from Singapore could be much higher than the flights from Malaysia. But, if the traveler chooses to, he or she could travel to Kuala Lumpur by road at an affordable rate and fly to the destination of choice saving a couple of $100 per ticket. This is the case, if you are in Europe, you could travel to another country, and travel from the airport that gives you the best rate to the destination of choice, saving time and money.
If you are looking to plan your trip, online travel sites like Taj Travel will give you personalized travel consultants who would chart the plans for you. You could also look at Star Alliance Fare Planner, the largest airline alliance in the world to connect to cities across the world. There are other online travel providers who use high end technologies to plan the trip for you as per your requirement. But if you are looking for a personalized travel planner who could help you plan the trip effectively then Taj Travel is the way to go.
Booking Flights with Budget Airlines
As I mentioned earlier, the Taj Travel is one of the very few online travel websites that provide end to end travel services be it ticket booking, hotel purchase, tour configurations or simply buying travel insurance. Taj Travel gives people multiple options that will work for them and it is the traveler who has the final say in what he wants.
FAQ On Buying Air Tickets – A summary and overview of popular questions
Will airfares go down or up in 2020?
The recent events in the world coupled with higher capacity generation in the civil aviation industry has resulted in developing what is called overcapacity. These factors have resulted in reducing the overall cost of travel on certain routes.
Tourist places have seen a sudden decrease in traffic due to the outbreak of deadly viruses. Hence, flights to these destinations will see a sudden decline in sales causing a huge decrease in price.
Due to high immigration among people from low income countries to high income countries, the demand for flights connecting these locations tends to increase creating an increase in price for certain routes. Flights from Asia to Canada will come under this phenomenon.
The trend of charging passengers fees for certain perks, aisle seats, onboard meals, entertainment options will still continue.
The reluctance of people to book hotels can force hotel owners to provide discounts on rooms booked. Flight booking way in advance is still a good concept to ensure the availability and the best price possible.
2020 will see a huge improvement in connectivity among different cities. Low cost airlines have emerged as one of the leading forces behind the connectivity of small tier – II and tier – lll cities. New airlines will start to operate flights, creating competition for major airline carriers.
What are the best websites that offer unpublished fares?
Are the tried and tested websites used by travelers looking to buy unpublished fares.
Is business class worth the money it demands?
Yes, the Business class is called the five star hotel in the sky. Business class tickets offered by airlines provide some of the best creature comfort available, that money can buy.
Here are some of the perks offered by Business class flights:
- priority check-in
- priority baggage service
- first off the plane, first to customs, etc.
- more reward miles
- more flexible booking arrangements and overall better service
- more check-in baggage
- sometimes access to an elite lounge with food and drinks
- early boarding
- more spacious seating
- more carry-on space
- flatbeds on some international airline tickets
- more attentive and friendly flight attendants
- higher quality food, selection, and service; free drinks
- less busy bathroom
- fewer children / crying infants
Potential advantages of having business class flights
- priority security screening
- celebrity sighting opportunities
- schmoozing with high-profile people
- complimentary ground service to and from the airport
- special treatment in case of flight delays or cancellations
- psychological benefits of feeling superior to those in economy class
What is the best way to get a seat upgrade?
You need to be part of an airline’s frequent flier program or belong to an airline elite club. Or have a fancy credit card under your name. Without having one of the above mentioned products the chances of getting an upgrade is virtually nil. Airlines reward loyalty, they reward customers with mile points, that can be redeemed in a seat upgrade.
When is the best time to buy my ticket?
The best time to buy tickets is between 4 months to 2 months prior to the travel date. Each destination has its unique set of sweet spots that the customers need to know. Caribbean destinations have a sweet spot that ranges between 2 months to 4 months. In the case of Europe, it is between 4 to 5 months. In the case of flights to Asia, the sweet spot is between 4 to 2 months in advance. Any further the airlines have not actually started to look into actively managing the flight. If you book flight tickets 2 to 3 weeks in advance of the departure date the airlines might consider you as a business traveler, hence charge a higher fee for the flight.