Finding cheaper airfares is a bit like searching for the Holy Grail – quite impossible, because the reality is that the cheapest airfare does not actually exist. What do I mean by that? There are so many permutations to get cheap domestic flights or cheap international flights – such as routes, different airlines, travel class, seats, dates and time of travel, etc., especially on international flights – that no travel agency or airline can actually guarantee that you get the absolute cheapest airfare.
This does not mean that you should not look for the cheapest airline tickets, but cheaper airline tickets that meet your needs in terms of time, comfort, convenience, etc. In other words, when you're pretty happy with a plane ticket, it's best to book and pay right away, rather than spending time looking for something that could save you just a few dollars more – keeping in mind that if you can't find it cheaper, maybe your original job would now be released by someone else.
Ideally, if you regularly use a trusted travel agent to book your travel and vacation, you can give them the details of what you want and trust them to show you the lowest flight ticket currently available for the flight criteria you specify. If you are not using access to reliable and trusted travel agents, here are my simple ideas for cheaper rates:
Buy your ticket as soon as possible – Ticket prices often start to rise 21 days before the flight. The earlier you book your flight, the better your chances of finding a cheaper plane ticket. Try to book on Tuesdays or Wednesdays to benefit from increased price competitiveness.
Buy a round trip ticket and travel with one airline – return tickets are usually cheaper than one way tickets, and it is often cheaper to book all the legs of your trip on one airline rather than a combination of several airlines.
Saturday Night Stay – Travels that include a Saturday night stay are sometimes a lot cheaper than traveling on a weekday. If you plan to return on Saturday, consider delaying your return on Sunday and see if the price goes down.
Choose unpleasant flight times – Try different times of the night or day at different flight dates. Flights in the mid morning and late afternoon are often crowded, so try to schedule flights that depart very early in the morning or very late at night to see if there are cheaper airfares. Flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays can sometimes be cheaper as these are less popular flight days on some routes.
Avoid traveling on or during vacations – it's sad, but it's true that it is difficult to find cheaper airfares during the holidays. Try to schedule flights on less popular days, e.g. Avoid traveling over Christmas or Thanksgiving by considering traveling on the days before or after these dates.
Use an alternative airport – Try using alternative airports near your destination to see if cheaper rates are available for another airport. In the UK, fares to London Stanstead are often cheaper than flights to London Heathrow or Gatwick.
Take advantage of promotions and sales – Enter as soon as online promotions are announced as the cheapest flights will sell out fast. Sign up for airline newsletters and travel alerts, or join organizations that offer discounted airfares.
Top tip In Australia, some of the best last minute deals can be found on cheap domestic flights, with Jetstar running a weekly "Fare Frenzy" from 4pm to 8pm every Friday and Virgin Blue daily 'Happy Hour' at noon. While it is not an exhaustive list of tips on how to get you the cheapest airfare, applying the above methods will undoubtedly save you a lot of money on your next flight.
Remember, different airlines follow different tariff rules, so these guidelines may not apply to every itinerary, but try one or more of the tips above to see if you can find a better price. Don't give yourself a heart-wasting time searching for the absolute cheapest airport cafe – it's not there. It is much better to have an idea of your budget and travel requirements and then book a cheaper plane ticket that is closest to meeting them.