If you want to book a cheap flight, it is relatively easy nowadays. On the internet and via app you can quickly compare flight prices and get cheap flight tickets. But there are also some things to consider here, because both with the right flight price comparison and through a clever strategy and the one or other tip you can save a lot of money when booking.
The 1×1 for cheap travel: the choice of the right flight date
It is no secret that the ticket price for flights depends on many factors. Essentially, the date and time of the desired flight are the most important criteria. At peak travel times, such as the holiday season, airline tickets are usually the most expensive. In the off-season, on the other hand, fares are often lower.
In addition, the advertising promises of early booking discounts and last-minute bargains are sure to ring in everyone’s ears. In both cases, significant discounts on air fares are promised. And indeed there is a good chance if you book well in advance. Many airlines try to utilize their capacities in good time by offering early booking discounts. In a study on this subject, economists Marc Möller and Makoto Watanabe concluded that tickets for international flights are generally the cheapest 8 weeks before the travel date. But the day and time of the booking itself also plays an important role in the booking process. Thus a flight booking at the beginning of the week or during the week can be cheaper than at the weekend, in a morning cheaper than in the afternoon.
When are flights cheapest?
A common misconception is that the earlier you book, the better. In most cases the holiday date is fixed several weeks in advance, but early booking is not always the best decision. As a rule of thumb it can be said that flights within Germany should ideally be booked 4 weeks in advance. For long-haul trips, the most favourable time window for booking is usually 8 weeks before the planned travel date (as also confirmed by the study mentioned above). Almost always applies: Short-term bookings are more expensive in most cases.
When booking, also pay attention to the day of the week on which the booking is made. It is best to avoid Sundays and public holidays. Instead, look for flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. Tickets are often cheaper on these days. Even the time of day can influence the booking. If you book your flight before 8.30 a.m., you will avoid price adjustments that airlines or tour operators occasionally make during the day to respond to increased demand.
Expert tips on cheap travel
Those who are flexible with their travel data will find in the ideal flight search price trends calculated to the day for many thousands of routes. On popular routes – for example from Berlin to London – you will find valuable information menus below the search mask with analyses of how early you should book A to B in advance, what price differences there are for months and weekdays and much more.
Families are dependent on the vacation dates and in such a way applies: Flights are more expensive in the holidays times. Avoid the start of your holiday. Often the tickets are more expensive at the beginning of the holidays than at the end. If you are travelling by air with children, it may be worthwhile to start your holiday a few days later. If, on the other hand, you are not dependent on holiday dates, you should use the mid-season. Last but not least, you can also take advantage of the different holiday periods in the individual federal states and, if necessary, depart from another federal state. In this way, for example, with a family of four who wants to fly from Frankfurt to Mallorca, a saving of almost 250 euros can quickly come together by alternatively flying from Munich to Mallorca. Of course you have to keep an eye on the costs for the transfer or calculate against it. Of course, a detour only makes sense if the costs for the journey are lower than the price difference. Cheap journeys with the long-distance bus or offers with Rail & Fly keep the transfer costs low.
When choosing an airport, you should also consider well-connected airports nearby (such as Cologne/Bonn instead of Düsseldorf) or even abroad (such as Warsaw or Amsterdam). Often there are completely different airlines with attractive offers to choose from.
The fees for airlines are often lower at smaller airports, which also has an effect on ticket prices. Weeze Airport on the Lower Rhine or Frankfurt-Hahn, to name but a few, are well known for their low-cost airlines, which pay less airport taxes and fees than international airports such as Düsseldorf or Frankfurt am Main.
Try to be flexible when choosing your travel time. Search and compare prices on days other than the desired time. Sometimes you can book cheaper flights on alternative travel days. Here too, the route-specific price diagrams on flug.idealo.de and in the app offer first-class assistance. Thus one sees fast, which combination of outward and return flight day the suitable and more favorable total price obtains.
Keep an eye out for alternative airports in the destination region. With the professional search in the idealo flight price comparison you can also carry out nationwide searches and also find open jaw flights with different airports quickly. Open jaw flights are particularly worthwhile if you want to travel a lot at your destination. A good example of an open-jaw flight: For a round trip to California, a flight to San Francisco with a later return flight from Los Angeles saves time and money to see much of the region and only have to travel in one direction.
Sometimes it can even be worthwhile to book individual one-way tickets for both routes instead of one return flight. The likelihood of getting a bargain is low, but such a search is quick and worth a try.
When booking, some providers charge high fees for means of payment on the ticket price. How high they are for certain credit cards or other payment options can be seen in the search results of idealo Flug with the “Price Details” overview expanded. This avoids unpleasant surprises in the later booking process.
Some airlines sell tickets with fares that only include carry-on baggage. It is of course possible to buy additional baggage from the airline, but you should also compare the prices here. Sometimes booking a more expensive fare will end up being cheaper than individual baggage upgrades.
Actually, of course, but for the sake of completeness: Avoid overweight baggage. If you exceed the permitted weight per piece of baggage when checking in your baggage (and occasionally also when checking hand baggage), you will have to reckon with generous surcharges for excess baggage. It is also important to note the individually permitted dimensions for hand luggage. If the Directive is exceeded, there is a risk of hand luggage being checked in for a fee.