Our Flight Reservation Agents Divulge their Top Tips on how to Find the Best Airfare Rates
Recently I had a family member ask me for some tips on how to find the best priced, international airfare. Of course I said, “well call 1-800-Fly-Europe, and they‚Äôll help you with the quotes.” I quickly realized that this response wasn‚Äôt sufficient. I do blog for this site, so I should know these things. Right? Fortunately, I work on the same floor as our flight reservation agents, and I knew that they would be the best resource for my investigation. After all, they work incredibly hard to uncover the lowest airline ticket rates for our clients everyday. So I asked our 1-800-Fly-Europe team if they would be willing to share their secrets with me, and they were more than happy to give me their expert advice. Some of the suggestions may surprise you, and there are some common misconceptions people may have on how to go about striking the best deal.
Myth: Buy the ticket as soon as you are offered a great price, or you will lose the rate if you wait a day or even a couple of hours.
Request a Courtesy Hold
Paulsen recommended an option that you may not have heard of: take advantage of Fly-Europe‚Äôs Courtesy Hold. Do you need a few hours or perhaps a night to mull over your options before purchasing a ticket for an international flight? Our agents will gladly place a hold on your seat(s) for your desired itinerary. Now while the initial price of the flight and place on the plane are held, do be aware that the final rate can fluctuate a bit due to fuel costs, taxes, and/or currency exchange rates. Once you decide to finalize your airfare plans, payment will be needed and then your tickets will be issued.
Myth: Wait until a last minute sale to purchase your airfare. Aubry disclosed that ‚Äúmost airlines require at least 7 days advance notice for a booking. The closer you are to your departure date, the less availability there is, and the more expensive the ticket will be.‚Äù
‚ÄúIt is best to reserve your international flight as soon as you know your travel dates,‚Äù advises Marty.
‚ÄúInternational airfare pricing is generally based on a standard supply and demand system: as the plane fills up, the prices are going to increase (depending on the flight class that is requested).‚Äù Be aware that if you plan to travel during the summer or a major holiday (know beforehand events that are occurring in the country you wish to visit) the tickets may be priced differently (higher) based on the high flight sales.
Marty also sheds some light on these last minute sales that are rumored, and said that ‚Äúmost carriers have several classes of service that they offer, and as flights start to fill up, the airlines will close the sales of lower classes of service. They then sell the same seats at a higher price. For flights that aren’t selling fast, they will open up vacancy of lower class tickets until the plane begins filling up, and in turn, airlines close the cheaper seat rates to sell the same flight space at a higher price.‚Äù So, yes, while these rumored sales do exist, they are extremely short lived. If you like to gamble, this may be the option for you.
Is there a particular time of day that is better to reserve a flight?
Yes there is! Virgil recommends to ‚Äúshop early in the morning for airfare, as the availability of seats refreshes overnight.‚Äù The airlines assess and reset their ticket prices at midnight (the time zone is dependent on the location of the carriers‚Äô headquarters). As flights begin to fill up throughout a day, the rates go up.
Are there any particular days that are cheaper to fly?
Shelley suggests choosing weekdays when making your travel arrangements and arranging your schedule (if possible) to include a stay through a Saturday. The more flexibility that you have when planning your trip, the better chances you have of scoring lower airfare. Our reservation agents will help you to search ticket rates for varying days, times, airlines, and even airport locations. You don‚Äôt have to keep all of these options open. For example, just changing the day you fly in or out of a location (Monday-Thursday are generally the lower cost days to book) could make a huge difference on the price quote.
Should you buy travel insurance?
The general consensus of our reservation agents is that it is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance. How does spending approximately $45-$65 (4% of the travel cost) per round trip save you money? If something comes up and you need to cancel or reschedule your flight, you either stand the chance of losing the funds spent on a trip you didn‚Äôt take, or you risk the possibility of having to pay a $350 change fee to reschedule your travel plans. Circumstances beyond your control can pop up while you are abroad, and with this extra coverage comes the peace of mind that you are protected for matters such as injury/illness and lost luggage.
I love to travel. I feel lucky to have such knowledgeable coworkers who know the ins and outs to booking low cost airfare, and now I am sharing their tips with you. Let one of our reservation agents work their magic for you to book flights to Nice, Munich, Barcelona, and many more destinations.