You can’t really go through life without having to buy at least one cheap airline flight. It’s a fact of life for all of us like taxes, left-turns during rush hour, and accidentally biting down on a fork. Yes, this is exactly how bad flying a cheap airline is. But there are a few things you can do to make the entire experience somewhat palatable. There’s nothing worse than having to fly on an impossibly, suspiciously-cheap airline and then on top of that having something go wrong. So for now, here are five tips (or “airline hacks”) that’ll at least make you feel like you’re outsmarting the cheap airline instead of falling into one of those “that’s how they get you” schemes, like paying as much as the ticket to check your bags or physically paying for a soda like some kind of animal. These cheap airline hacks work for every inexpensive airline, so make sure to read the fine print for whichever unspeakable flight you’re about to take. Good luck.
5) Just Ask To Be Upgraded
Have you ever walked to your back-of-the-plane seat while passing by an entire section of empty first-class seats? Well, sometimes all it takes is to ask a flight attendant if one of those is taken, and if one of them isn’t, ask if you can upgrade. It will often cost nothing and will be much cheaper (and more comfortable) than if you were to have bought one online or even at the counter. It never hurts to ask. And yes, of course, you’re not thrilled about how it’s going to look to other passengers, but hey, that’s their problem. Also you will probably never see those people again for as long as you live.
4) Clear Your Cookies To Get Even Cheaper Flights
Depending on the browser you’re using, if you clear your cookies (check the instructions on how to clear your cookies on your particular browser), then you will actually, usually, get cheaper flights. Sure, you’ll have to enter some of your passwords again, but clearing your cookies is always a good way to remember your passwords anyway.
This works because of something called “Dynamic Pricing,” which is when a particular product is in high demand, so the company actually charges more. Like when you call a Lyft or an Uber and the ride is going to cost as much as buying an entire car. If you log out and log back in, if your price is different, then that means the site knows you’ve been there and is trying to force you to make a decision. If you clear your cookies you will be able to circumvent “Dynamic Pricing” and get the best possible rate when buying airline tickets online (which, by the way, if you aren’t… then how are you buying them?)
3) Don’t Book Your Flight “Too” Early
So, as it turns out, while most people think it’s actually a good idea to book their flights as early as humanly possible, it’s not much different, but actually somewhat worse than booking your flights a month in advance. According to other websites, “the average domestic fare found six months before a selected departure date was found to be 19% higher than fares searched for a month in advance.” You might want to have the peace of mind of booking your flight super early, but if you’re fairly confident you can buy your tickets 47 days weeks in advance, you may be in better shape (depending on the time of year, of course).
2) Carry An Empty Water Bottle
Water costs money. Bottled water in airports, though, may as well cost like seven hundred million dollars. No less. They, of course, will take your water at the gate, but if you take an empty bottle with you, there are always water fountains at airports. That way you’re drinking some sweet, sweet airport tap water, yes, but still saving at least $10 if you have kind of a long flight. And, most of the time, once you’re on the plane they’re going to nourish you, and water is always free there. You can also always ask for multiple bottles of that tiny baby-sized water they give kindergarteners and politicians.
1) Travel Early
According to this person on Quora, “as a general rule, the later in the day you travel, the more likely you are to catch a delay.” It’s true! Depending on when exactly you’re going to be flying out based on your own schedule, if you’ve freed up the entire day to travel, the hours between 5-7am and after 8pm are usually the times you’re least likely to suffer delays. So plan on sleeping on the plane or ending your day at the airport if you absolutely need to get there that day or if you just like saving your own time. Because time is money and money is life.
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