It’s an incredibly popular search term: “cheap cheap flights”. No matter where you are in the world, chances are you would have searched for cheap flights from one destination to another. Whether you're looking for cheap flights to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein or international flights, we always try to find the cheapest options. Although there are countless online booking services and local travel agencies claiming to offer the “cheapest” flights, it’s never a good idea to just book the first flight you find. Here are some useful tips a smart frequent flyer can follow when trying to cheap cheap flights online.
1. There are no set rules or tricks that work all the time
Booking more than six months or a year in advance isn’t always going to guarantee the cheapest fares (unless an airline offers an early promotional sale). Prices of flights change all the time. They go up when demand for certain dates are high, or remain the same or get cheaper when there are still many seats unsold as the date nears. Sometimes it’s just down to your luck. Generally, it is advisable to start looking for flights as soon as you have some dates in mind — but you needn’t book right away. Keep looking for fares regularly and book when you score a good deal. That said, do try and book at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to departure or whenever it shows that seats are running out for a particular flight.
2. Look across multiple airlines
No one airline is guaranteed to give you the best deal on a flight all the time, some people believe FlyMango is the cheapest, but FlySafair has had some ridiculously cheap specials at times that knocks FlyMango's prices out of the water. Sometimes you will find that the low cost carriers will have multiple specials on at one time, be sure to search all of them at once - this is where our flight search engine comes in handy, it sorts all available flights from hundreds of airlines by the cheapest options first, so you'll see the lowest fare right at the top!
3. Budget flights are not always the cheapest option
It’s easy to think budget flights are always going to cost less than full service carriers but that isn’t always the case. One thing to be careful about budget carriers is that the fares they advertise may sometimes not include luggage and in-flight meals, these things will often be added to the price as “service extras”. Tally all the additional charges and a budget flight may end up costing the same or sometimes more than a full service airline. In fact, some full service airlines have certain flight routes on lock-down and are unbeatable when it comes to offering the best rates over the competition. Look around and compare all your options, don’t base your purchase decision on buying from an online travel agency that advertises themselves as “pocket friendly”.
4. Keep your dates flexible and avoid peak holidays
Needless to say, flight costs are high when everybody else is traveling and during holidays such as Christmas when there is expected high demand. So whichever destination you are planning to go to, find out if you can avoid traveling during local holiday periods or if you wish to attend a local festival, see if you can fly in a few days prior. Flying to a destination when everybody else during peak season only means crowded attractions, leaving you with photographs of hordes of tourists obstructing the sights. Sometimes it works out a lot cheaper when you travel during low season or just before high season — not just for flights, but for every other travel expense too.
5. Use coupons and sign up for loyalty programs
Sometimes after you run a search on a flight booking website but do not purchase, you may start to see the website you just went to advertising on future websites you visit. Online agents often use targeted advertising (using browser cookies) to track users and pursue them into making a purchase. One way the websites do this is by advertising discount coupons or sending you coupon codes via email (if you provided one) to lure you into completing the booking with them. So keep a look out for these! Even if you don’t see ads, run a search for “booking website name” + “coupons” into Google and try and find discount codes that work.
Alternatively, if you are a member of an airline’s miles program, you can redeem some miles to get discounts or upgrades with the carrier. If you have miles accumulated from an airline that belongs to an airline alliance like One World or Star Alliance, you can use those miles to book flights with another airline part of those respective alliances.
These are just some of the ways you can save money when booking flights online. There are a lot of deals out there for cheap flight tickets. You just need to be patient enough to search around to find the right deal that works for you.