Planning is one of the best and simplest ways of saving money on your last-minute flights. That being said, there are times when you will not have the luxury of notice. But do not worry as we will tell you some easy ways to find affordable last-minute flights, whether you are on a business trip, travelling for your family emergency, or a random and spontaneous escape. Here’s how you can save your hard-earned dollars.
You can use a variety of convenient tools such as Skyscanner and Google Flights to find the most affordable flight. Also, in case your destination is set, you can use these maps for comparing fares at all nearby airports too. Also, it could be more economical to reach your destination a couple of hours ahead and then rent a cab to get to your final stop.
On the other hand, if your destination is not set in stone and more open-ended, for example, “anywhere close to a beach”, you can use the maps to choose the most affordable locale. All you have to do is select your home airport(s) and dates and scan the relevant map to choose the cheapest flight. Also, Google Flights would even show you all of the potential destinations; just select the travel dates and your key interests, whether they are food, wildlife, or beaches and you are good to go.
Experts like Elizabeth Avery, founder of a travel website, recommend going on a crack-of-dawn or red-eye flight. It is because a majority of these flights usually have unfilled seats, which makes them more economical compared to midday flights.
According to the latest search on flights available within the last seven days, a red-eye trip to San Diego from the Washington, D.C., area, for instance, was almost $130 cheaper compared to other options for the same route. You can save a lot of bucks for enduring a little inconvenience.
Search for the best deals on the internet or pick the cell phone and call, You may not know this, but a few airlines still offer their customer bereavement fares, which can help take the sting (financial) out of your last-minute travel, if you are travelling for a funeral. Keep in mind that to avail the discount, you are required to book your flight via phone and usually need to start travel within 7 to 14 days.
You will have to furnish a few details, such as the name of your relative as well as the phone number and name of your relative’s funeral home or doctor. For example, Alaska Airlines would knock off up to 10% of its official fares if you are travelling because of the death of your immediate family member, as per Halley Knigge, a spokesperson for the carrier. The same discount can also be availed if you are travelling via Virgin America, because it was purchased by Alaska Air Group.
And that is not all as Air Canada, and Delta Air Lines also provide special rates if you are travelling because of a death in your family. That being said, there might be more economical deals elsewhere; therefore, make sure you compare the standard fares from different airlines with bereavement rates with the help of sites like Last Minute Travel or Kayak. You can also visit Compare My Rates to make sure you get the best deal.
In case you cannot find an economical fare, try redeeming your airline miles or credit card rewards to subsidize the flight. If you are not certain whether to go for cash or reward, it is easy to calculate the exact value of the rewards for a specific flight. Use this simple formula: (ticket price – fees and taxes) ÷ rewards cost. Multiply the result by 100 to determine your rewards value.
For instance: if a flight costs $250 (and has $20 in fees and taxes) or about 25,000 miles will be equal to 0.92 cents a mile. This is lower than the average value of rewards or miles from various programs; therefore, you will be better off using cash.