If you need to book a last-minute flight, it can be easy to feel like you're out of options and will have to pay top dollar for a ticket. But there are actually a number of strategies you can use to find cheap last-minute flights and save money on your trip. Here are 10 tips to help you score the best deals:
Be Flexible with Your Destination
One of the most effective ways to find cheap last-minute flights is to be flexible with your destination. If you're open to flying to a variety of different places, you'll have a better chance of finding a good deal. Consider using a flight search engine that allows you to search for fares to multiple destinations at once, or consider using a "nearby airports" feature to see if there are any cheaper flights available from a nearby city.
Take Advantage of Nulled Change Fees
Many airlines are currently waiving change fees due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which means you may be able to change your flight for free or for a reduced fee. If you're booking a last-minute flight, be sure to check the airline's policies on change fees and see if you can take advantage of this opportunity to save money.
Search for Each Leg Individually
If you're booking a flight for multiple people, it can be tempting to search for fares all at once. However, it's often cheaper to search for each fare individually, as you may be able to find lower prices for certain people. For example, children or seniors may be able to get a discounted fare, and searching for their ticket separately could lead to a lower overall price for your group.
Take Advantage of the Rebound of Business Class
Business class fares are typically more expensive than economy fares, but the demand for business class travel has been slower to rebound following the pandemic. As a result, you may be able to find discounted business class fares if you're willing to pay a little more for a higher level of comfort.
Book at the right time
It's a common belief that the best time to book a flight is either very far in advance or very last minute. While it's true that booking too far in advance can sometimes lead to higher prices, the best time to book a flight is actually about 6-8 weeks before your trip. However, if you're booking a last-minute flight, it's still worth checking to see if there are any deals available. You may be able to find a discounted fare if you're flexible with your travel dates and destinations.
Try a Last-Minute Rewards Search
If you have loyalty rewards with a particular airline or hotel chain, it's worth checking to see if you have any points or miles that you can use to book a last-minute flight. Many loyalty programs allow you to redeem points or miles for flights, and you may be able to find a discounted fare this way.
Consider Fifth Freedom Flights
A fifth freedom flight is a flight that is operated by an airline between two foreign countries, with a stop in the airline's home country. For example, if you're flying from the United States to Thailand with a stop in Japan, the flight from Japan to Thailand would be a fifth freedom flight. These flights can often be cheaper than flying directly from your home country, so it's worth checking to see if there are any fifth freedom flights available on your route.
Look out for baggage fees
If you're booking a last-minute flight, it's important to be aware of baggage fees, as they can add significantly to the cost of your trip. Many airlines charge fees for checked bags, and these fees can be higher for last-minute bookings. To save money, consider packing light and only bringing a carry-on bag. If you do need to check a bag, it's often cheaper to pay for it in advance rather than at the airport.
Book using Hidden Citys
"Hidden-city" booking refers to the practice of booking a flight with a layover at your intended destination, and then getting off the plane at the layover rather than continuing on to the final destination. While this practice is not always allowed and can sometimes result in the cancellation of your return flight, it can be a way to save money on a last-minute flight. However, it's important to be aware of the risks and be prepared to pay any additional fees that may be incurred as a result of this practice.
Ask for a Deal in Person
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for a deal in person if you're booking a last-minute flight. If you visit the airport or a travel agency in person, you may be able to negotiate a better price or find a last-minute deal that isn't available online. It's always worth asking if there are any discounts or promotions available, as you never know what you might be able to find.
In conclusion, there are many ways to find cheap last-minute flights and save money on your trip. Whether you're flexible with your destination, take advantage of waived change fees, or consider fifth freedom flights, there are a variety of strategies you can use to find the best deals. So don't despair if you need to book a last-minute flight – with a little research and creativity, you may be able to find a great deal and still get where you need to go.