Ramon is the creator of Travelling Companion. He focuses on flight review, hotel reviews, and helping stretch, your travel dollars, miles, and points further.
One question I often get asked is, where do you find your cheap flights? Given that I fly over 30,000 miles a year for pleasure, it is important that I stretch my travel dollars so I may go on as many trips as possible. One way to find cheap airfare is a fare sale. A fare sale is when one or more airlines discount their airfare to/from a specific city. Below are my suggestions for the best websites, apps, social media, and email subscriptions you should use to find cheap flights.
1. Google Flights
Google Flights is my favorite travel tool because of its powerful flight search engine and it has the ability to customize your search. Google Flights searches prices from multiple sources including online travel agencies (e.g. Expedia) and airline websites. The website then easily sorts the results by the best flights based on multiple factors including the flight length, departure, and price. However, where Google Flights really shines is the ability to customize your search by features such as number of stops, airlines, connecting airports, times, and now the ability to eliminate basic economy fares. The best Google Flights function for finding cheap flights is the "Track prices" feature which allows you to track the change in flight pricing based on your customizations all the way up to the day of departure. If the flight increase or decreases in price Google Flights alerts you to the change by sending out an email.
This is my favorite app for flight deals! Hopper allows you to pick your departure and destination airports, filter out flights which long layovers, and basic economy fares. Where hopper really shine though is it take the guessing out of the best time to buy. The app gives you a prediction of what is likely going to be the best price based on your specified filters and in what time period you are likely going to see that best price. Once it finds the best deal it alerts you on your phone that it is time to buy and even tells you how much the price is predicted to go up if you aren't ready to buy. Two things to keep in mind when using Hopper. First, it does not consistently show all major U.S. Airlines (e.g. Delta). Second, you should double check Google Flights to make sure that the price on the app is in fact the best price because Hopper charges a fee to book through the app and sometimes there are cheaper flights available on other websites.
3. The Flight Deal
The Flight Deal is a Twitter account which on a daily basis sends out alerts on the best flight deals on the internet for flights to and from a select set of major U.S. cities including New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Boston, and Los Angeles among others. If you click on the links from the Twitter account it brings you to a more detailed page which shows you information including the fare availability, examples of the fare, and mileage earning for non-elite members. Where The Flight shines is the speed with which it brings you deals. I typically find out about the best deals here first before other websites send out alerts. Finding out about cheap flights quickly is important and The Flight Deal delivers your alerts with speed.
4. Scott's Cheap Flights
This is an email subscription service which searches the web for cheap flights and sends periodic updates about deals to your email address. The emails include information such as the pricing of the fare sale from different airports, the airlines offering the sale, and the relevant sale period. Where Scott's Cheap Flights really shines is the ability to understand how good the deal is and their estimate of how long they expect the deal to last. These two pieces of information are very important when trying to take advantage of a fare sale.
This is an email subscription service which sends periodic emails with flights deals for your specific city. The emails include information such as how good of a deal it is, the normal price, the quality of the airline, mileage earnings, and credit card point earnings. Where this subscription service shines is the ability to completely curate the flight alerts. The service sends you deals based on your city and includes the specific award miles and credit card points you are likely to earn based on your preferred card and elite status with the airline. The ability to curate the flight deals in this fashion means you will only receive deals that are relevant.
Tip- Act Quickly on a Fare Sale
One key thing to remember is that airline pricing changes constantly and a fare deal could disappear from one hour to the next. So if you find out about a fare deal and think you are likely to go book it as soon as you can. Because of a Department of Transportation regulation all major U.S. airlines allow you to cancel a non-refundable ticket within 24 hours of booking without a penalty as long as it was booked at least 7 days in advance. This can be a powerful tool when you find a deal but would like to make sure you can get the time off, figure out the rest of your trip itinerary, or check with your traveling companions,