The Ultimate Guide to Finding Cheap Flights

In a highly conclusive and extremely wide-reaching [sarcasim] Instagram poll I conducted recently, I discovered that most people are price loyal when it comes to booking their airline tickets. So I’ve put together this quick guide outlining how I find my flights. I normally fly Premium Economy whenever possible, I typically find Business is just too expensive, and honestly, I’m pretty happy in Premium Economy, but let’s be honest we all want to be at the front of the plane. Check out my review of Air Canada Business Pods here.

Find the Best Price

Finding the lowest price for your flight may mean the difference between staying at a great hotel and staying somewhere that’s less than desirable, depending on how much you can save on that flight. To ensure you’re getting the best price possible on your flights here are several tools I use to search which allow me to search based on price, connections, total time, airline and seat class.

My Goto Sites

Google Flights

Google Flights is my first destination when I’m looking for flights. Its clean interface and streamlined options allow me to get a good grasp on what types of flights are available to a destination. This way I can edit my expectations as to if I can expect a direct flight, the classes of cabin available and which airlines seem to offer the best prices.

Google Flights also lets you see a calendar view with prices, so if you have the flexibility you can select flights based on the cheapest days.

Starting here is a good first step, now you have a broad view of what’s available, general pricing and how long it should take you to get there. Once you’ve decided on a flight from here, I move onto other tools to see if I can find better pricing.

Google Flights

Google Flights

Momondo

Momondo works similarly to Google Flights, going out and asking for prices from various airlines and returning the results to you. The difference here is you sometimes get combinations that don’t show up on Google Flights. Which may be cheaper, but be careful there is value in booking an entire trip with one airline. If you are delayed and miss a connection and the whole trip was booked on Air Canada for example, they’ll get you a new flight. But if the first leg was Air Canada and the second leg is Saudia, neither airline is going to do anything to help you, you’ll likely need to rebook a new ticket.

What makes Momondo so powerful is that it aggregates from so many places, putting all the prices in front of you.

ITA Software by Google

Matrix ITA Software is, in fact, the same platform that Google Flights works on, but it’s nice to see it here sometimes. With slightly different options you’ll have the ability to more easily see things like taxes and fees attached to your ticket. Sometimes flying to and from smaller airports can be cheaper. Just another place to check and see what you’re getting.

Skyscanner/Expedia/Booking.com

All of these sites tend to act the same. aggregating various sources for you in one place. Each has its own benefits, such as using Expedia points on Expedia. It’s always good to check various sites to make sure you’re getting the best price. So it never hurts to check these guys out too.

Using Points to Upgrade

There are a few key points you need to consider if you’re planning on upgrading using loyalty points of some kind. In most cases, you will need to book a class of ticket that allows you to use those points to begin with.

In the case of Aeroplan, in order to use my points to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business, I first need to have the necessary amount of points. Great, that’s obvious. What may not be so obvious until you go and try to upgrade is that you need to book a ticket class that lets you apply those points.

For example, the cheapest Premium Economy ticket is class N, you need O, Y or B to upgrade using your points. The solution here is to book the slightly more expensive Premium Economy fare, upgrade with points, and you’ll still likely have paid half of the standard Business fare.

Keep things like this in mind if you’re planning to get a deal on a lower class ticket and want to use points to upgrade, you may find yourself in that seat you didn’t really want.

Aeroplan

Aeroplan

Tips to Get The Best Prices

There are a few things you can do to change up those prices you see. While they may not always work it’s certainly worth the effort if you save some money and get a better seat!

  1. Check the airline’s site in another country. If you’re traveling to Germany from Canada, look at the German site for Lufthansa or try the UK site. My friend recently scored Lufthansa First Class tickets from Frankfurt to South America on the UK site, the sale was only available via the UK Lufthansa site!
  2. Change your IP, if you have access to a VPN like NordVPN, try switching your country to look at the same flights. Don’t forget to do the currency conversion though!
  3. Keep an eye on your flights, sometimes the price is just the price, but you’ll feel better knowing you paid a reasonable amount if you have watched it.

Using a VPN to Get Different Prices

Sometimes it’s possible to get different prices on the same flight if you’re in a different location. Using a VPN can help you do this. Check out the video from Linus Tech Tips for more information. I use NordVPN for my VPN needs,

What are your tips and tricks to finding the best price on a flight? Let us know in the comments!

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