Spicy Deals

Last Minute Flight Deals

 

Part of going on vacation is finding a way to get there, which usually means booking a flight. Many airlines overbook their flights, since they end up experiencing last minute cancellations or other problems nine times out of ten. Sometimes, however, these planes find that they still have empty seats left, particularly on certain flights. As a result, these companies become willing to offer last minute flight deals to anyone willing to fill one of their empty seats.

Operating an airline costs a lot of money. Between fuel, maintenance, and salaries for the pilot and air hostesses, most of the costs of flying a plane are completely independent of the number of passengers on it. Therefore, airlines really can’t afford to send a plane up in the air that’s only half full. When it comes to offering steep discounts on last minute airfare, or leaving these seats empty, they become willing to compromise. Some airlines end up offering last minute flight deals for as little as the airline’s cost, especially on flights that aren’t very popular or overbooked very often.

People looking for last minute vacation deals often end up looking for last minute flight ticket deals, too. Sites like Travelzoo help travelers booking their last minute vacations to find cheap airfare. This doesn’t just help vacationers find the most inexpensive plane tickets possible, it also helps people who need to find plane tickets at the last minute for any number of other reasons. Sometimes, vacation time ends up being changed around, or something happens that requires taking some time off. In this case, people often need to try to book last minute airfare. Hooking travelers up with airlines that are willing to cut deals for their leftover plane tickets shortly before departure can get them great last minute international flight deals, and great discounts on domestic flights, too.

Of course, sometimes there’s a reason that these last minute flight deals are so good. Oftentimes, they are for flights that aren’t terribly popular, for a few reasons. Either the flight itself requires a few stopovers, or else it leaves very early in the morning or late at night. As a result, these airlines don’t have as many travelers that are looking for tickets on those flights, forcing them to discount them to try to find some takers. For people willing to take a flight that isn’t during the peak time of day, or has a few stopovers before reaching their destination, some last minute flight ticket deals can get them tickets for a price as low as thirty dollars.

With the high cost of air travel, many vacationers are looking for any way they can find to get last minute vacation deals on airfare. If these travelers are willing to take flights that airlines still have empty seats on, they can get amazing last minute flight deals that are virtually unheard of otherwise, including discounts of up to seventy percent of their usual cost.

Here are some tips on how to save on the last minute flight deals:

1. According to the industry insiders the cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, of which Wednesday is definitely leading the pack. Therefore, when planning your trip choose one of these days of the week for the cheapest ticket possible. Time of the day to fly is also very important. The first flight in the morning is always the cheapest, simply because of the inconvenience it causes you: you’ll have to head out to the airport at around 4:00 am, if not earlier. Lunch hours and dinner time are also great for finding cheap airline tickets.

2. The best time to buy your cheap ticket is around Tuesday 3:00 pm Eastern time. Keep in mind these cheap last minute flight deals will be pulled out of the system on Thursday, so if you are buying your tickets over the weekend, you are probably overpaying.

3. It makes a lot of sense to shop for just one single ticket at a time even if you really need to buy two or more airline tickets. Airlines will always sell you two or more tickets at the same higher price, even if there are one or two tickets available for a lower price. Therefore, when traveling in a group, shop for one passenger at a time, splitting your purchase into two different transactions to save money.
 

4. It’s always a great idea to check budget airlines as well. When you are using popular ticket comparison websites, some low cost airlines won’t show up in the search results, as these companies do not allow their ticket quotes to be shared on such sites. Be aware that many European low cost airlines are charging additional bag fees, which can significantly increase your expenses. So, make sure you pack light.

5. Many people never even bother to check first class seats, which is a big mistake. The reality is there are thousands of deals made available everyday for first class airfares in the U.S., which often come cheaper than most emergency purchases or last minute flight deals, and may cost you less than tickets in the coach class.

6. Remember, flexibility is the key to finding cheap last minute air tickets. It happens more often than not that you can’t change the departure dates, particularly when the whole family or a group of friends is flying together. If you forgo departure flexibility factor, then make sure you are still flexible on the destination. For instance, if you are looking for a beech vacation in the Caribbean, then check out multiple destinations not just Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. You might be able to find a perfect all inclusive package deal for one of the resorts in Aruba or St. Maarten – both are excellent choice for a sunny escape.

7. The big questions is when it’s too late to shop for last minute flight deals. Even though, you can often get really cheap deals a few days before your scheduled departure, I wouldn’t count on it if I were to travel to Paris in July or August. As a rule of thumb, start shopping for last minute airline tickets at least 3 weeks before your planned departure but no later than two weeks prior to the departure date. Airlines tend not to offer cheap deals during the last 14 days window, particularly during the peak season.

If you want to be on the safe side, start looking for your flight deals as early as possible. However, too early is not good either. Airlines won’t release cheap deals 4-5 months prior to international travels and 3-4 months prior to domestic trips. Again, if you are planning a trip to Paris in July, don’t book your flights in January – there will be no cheap tickets available yet.

8. Flying from smaller cities is always more expensive than from a nearby big city that has an international airport, particularly when traveling abroad. You may pay surcharges up to $400 for connecting flights, when flying out of a smaller airport. Consider driving to a bigger airport and fly from there but factor in parking and fuel costs into the overall airfare. If one of your relatives or friends can give you a ride, that would be ideal.

9. You can always count on finding last minute flight deals for these two off peak roundtrip travels: from Saturday to Tuesday and from Thursday to Monday. Fridays and Sundays are the worst departure days in terms of finding cheap rates.

10. Don’t forget to check out Air+Hotel deals as many travel sites do negotiate rates with airlines that would be much cheaper compared to the walk-up rates. Often, major airlines offer such deals themselves. If you see a great flight deal that includes a hotel, pick up the cheapest hotel and then let it go if there is no need for a hotel.