Super Easy Flight Booking Hacks You Can Use Today
Super Easy Flight Booking Hacks You Can Use Today
Whether your plans for your next holiday are to go swimming with sharks or to have the world’s most relaxing massage from a blind Chinese man, we all have one thing in common: We want to find the absolute best deal available and flight hacks are one way to get you there faster and cheaper.
Have you ever been looking at a flight that you’re not quite ready to book, and every time you go back to check the price it gets higher and higher?
You’re trying your best to be a savvy money saver. But it seems to be working against you!
People that succeed with travelling on a budget do two things very well:
(And you don’t have to have thousands of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Fans like Melissa to do it)
First, they identify booking techniques that get them results.
Second, they put 100% of their resources into executing those techniques. But you’re probably wondering: “How do I find booking strategies that actually work?”. Today I’m going to make it easy for you. All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and tackle these 2 flight booking methods below.
If you want to know the best days to book on and fly on, how far in advance to book, you’re in the right place.
Flight Hacks are the way in…
Ready? Let’s do this.
Use Split Ticketing to Pay a Fraction of the regular price
It’s easy to search for flights from A to B but don’t assume it’s the cheapest way.
By being a little creative about the route and splitting the ticket, you can slash the cost.
Typically associated with train fares. You can do the same with air travel.
- Let’s say you’re flying from San Francisco to London, chances are there’s at least one stop on the way.
- So run through kayak the start and end destinations and see what the stops are.
- Write these down.
- Then try with each leg as a separate flight.
The best way to utilise this is to combine with Airline Error Fares.
- Grab a bargain airfare
- Even when it’s not ideally from or to where you want to go.
- Get cheap connecting flights.
Or try “open-jaw tickets”
Where you fly into one airport but return to or from another.
Breaking a journey down into multiple tickets can cut costs without altering the route you wanted.
The Django Technique
Stories are great, as children they can be used to teach us, and can still do so throughout life.
If you’re a fan of Quentin Tarantino. You’ll have seen the movie Django Unchained.
It almost personifies supply and demand:
In the movie, Django is separated from his wife and enslaved. He cannot simply try to buy her back, if the owner of his wife knew the exact situation, that she is so “valuable” to him, the price would be extortionate.
Django and his bounty hunter friend devise a plan to minimise attention by trying to purchase a common commodity, a mere Mandingo fighter from a collection of 20+, not the irreplaceable love of his life.
So, don your cowboy hat and pick up your pistol. Master misdirection to save more.
Learn The Django Technique:
This sounds strange at first, but airfare prices are not based on logic.
Instead, prices are based on supply and demand, and a route with less demand may be cheaper, even if it’s longer. Likewise, a route that has high supply, like many popular tourist destinations can be cheap.
The Django Technique, is not only frowned upon by the airlines, but they can penalize passengers who do it:
- Per ticketing rules, the second half of a roundtrip ticket can be canceled if a passenger does not complete all legs of the first part of the trip.
- And airlines can also retaliate by voiding rewards, if any, are earned by the passenger.
- But if you follow our rules, you can avoid that.
You want to fly from A to B. Guess what:
Booking A:B:C can cost less than A:B
- If there is a popular destination, lots of customers want to fly it. (Think New York, LA, Las Vegas)
- If lots of customers want to fly it, all the airlines want to get in on the action.
- The airlines compete and the price drops.
With me so far?
Many of these flights will have a stopover somewhere, it allows them to service more passengers, sell more tickets, and connect to more destinations, much like your local bus.
The cost of running a flight are fairly fixed; plane, crew, and fuel.
It makes more sense to have a stop in Dallas on the way to LA from Des Moines, rather than putting on a single flight to shuttle 4 passengers from Des Moines to Dallas.
This straightforward economics sometimes lead to a bizarre consequence:
In certain circumstances, airlines charge less for a longer, multi-legged flight than they do for the first leg of the same route by itself. To illustrate with an example, let’s stick with Dallas.
You may be thinking:
So what if the price is low for one destination? I want to go somewhere else!
This is not a trick question:
Would you rather pay $375 to fly to Dallas or $186?
Very few airlines fly direct from Des Moines to Dallas, in fact, only 4 do. With 2 being $100+ more than the best price.
There is very little competition, so airlines put their prices up.
If you book to fly to somewhere past your desired destination things get a little more interesting.
Take a look:
How can I take advantage?
- The Django Technique comes in when a passenger disembarks an indirect flight at the connection airport.
- Flight fares are subject to market forces (Supply and demand)
- They do not necessarily correlate to the distance flown.
As a result, a flight from airport A to airport C, with a connection at airport B, might be cheaper than a flight between airport A and airport B. It is then possible to purchase a flight ticket from airport A to airport C, disembark at the connection airport B and discard the remaining segment (B to C).
Walkthrough –Simple method to finding your own Django Technique deals:
- Go to Google’s ITA Matrix.
- Click the “one-way” tab. (The Django technique does NOT work for round trip tickets. You can book 2 one way tickets to maximise savings)
- Click the “Advance Routing Codes” link (below the “Departing From” and “Destination” windows). As seen below:
- You now need to complete: Departing From, Enter your departing city in the first box,
- Enter your desired destination airport code in the Outbound Routing box. THIS MUST BE THE 3 LETTER AIRPORT CODE, not the actual city name. To find your airport code, simply Google: “airport code for (city or airport name)”.
- Here’s the secret part: In the destination box enter a centrally located airport.
If you’re flying domestic within the US try:
(STL) Saint Louis Lambert International.
If you’re flying in Europe try:
(FCO) Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, Rome, Italy.
If flying in Asia try at least one of the following as Asia is much bigger:
-(ICN) Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
-(HKT) Phuket International Airport, Thailand
-(MNL) Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, Philippines.
- Click “Nearby” to the right.
- A yellow box should appear, first select “within 2000 miles” from the top drop-down menu.
- Then tick “select all”. It should look something like this:
- Enter your departure date
- Click “search”
What happens: The search engine will search all available flights to all those cities in the long list (that are within 2000 miles of the central US, central EU or central Asia airport you selected). It will return the results of all the flights that CONNECT in your desired destination.
Look at the “From/To” column, and you’ll see your departure city and the desired destination location in the next column “STOPS”. To get the flight details, either click on the price at the left of the page; or hover your mouse on the right side of the display, which will reveal a “details” link.
Head straight to the airlines own website (very important) and book the flight as per the details provided in the ITA matrix.
If you don’t fancy doing the work involved in this travel hack, you can always head over to Skiplagged, and see what flights they have managed to find, whilst it’s a slight time saver I would always check manually for best results.
- One way at a time. (For a round trip you must book two one way tickets)
- No checked bags. You can only bring carry on luggage
- The risk of route changing. Airlines only guarantee travel from A:C, not the routing to get there.
- The risk of hostile airline action. Like the removal of frequent flyer program.
Is it legal?
There’s nothing like a pair of big corporations suing a 22-year-old kid who turns an obscure loophole into a money saving website. On November 17th United Airlines, one of the three giant American carriers, and Orbitz, an online travel agency, filed a federal lawsuit demanding damages “in excess of $75,000” against Aktarer Zaman, a recent college graduate and the creator and owner of the website Skiplagged. The service enabled users to discover cheap airfares that did not appear on competing engines’ searches by utilising a tactic known as “hidden-city ticketing”, which takes advantage of occasional anomalies in airlines’ pricing algorithms.
The case was thrown out of court.
Moreover, even if Skiplagged vanished from the internet tomorrow, the automated hidden-city lookup tool Mr. Zaman sought to offer already exists, thanks to none other than Google’s ITA Matrix we have used. With just a little know-how, it is easy to find flights on Matrix, and employ the Django Technique.
Stick to these rules to minimize any potential issues
You may NOT check any luggage.
This is the airline’s mainline of defense because they will not under any circumstances check your luggage only to the connection airport.
Therefore: Pack light with only carry-on luggage.
If for any reason airport staff try to separate you from your hand luggage and put it in the hold, politely give them one of these replies:
“I have medication in my bag which I must have with me at all times.” (By the way, aspirin is a medication…and you should always carry it to deal with the headaches that today’s airlines can give you.)
“I’m carrying some documents with me and am going to needing them in (name of your connecting city).” These documents might be a novel you are intending to read in your connecting city, but they don’t have to know that.
Or the simplest: “I’m sorry, but I need to keep the contents of my luggage with me at all times.” (If they want to know why just tell them “it’s rather personal” and leave it at that.)
Make it a habit of packing medication, or a book so you can be prepared, and you are telling the truth.
Only book your Django Technique ticket through the airline website.
If you book your ticket through a travel agency and only use the first part, the airline will possibly bill the agency for the amount of money you saved. If they don’t pay it, the airline will prohibit the agency from further ticketing on that airline. Which really, just isn’t fair on them.
Never submit your frequent flyer number.
Closing your account and revoking your miles is a tactic the airlines have, at times, tried to use to retaliate against frequent exploits. While it’s never been legally successful for the airlines when a customer has the time, money, and legal guts to challenge, considering the money you’re saving and the paltry value of those miles anyway, it’s best just to not give the airline a way to track you, especially if you use them frequently.
Be prepared for flight irregularities.
If the first leg of a flight is cancelled due to weather or any other reason. From the departure airport to the connection airport (Your desired airport).
Before even asking you, they may have re-booked you on a flight to the end destination via another hub in any other city, or even re-booked you on another airline. When this occurs, you must inform an agent that you booked this flight specifically because of the change of planes in the desired airport so you could meet somebody (which is true, assuming you are not going there to be completely alone and never see anybody). Politely insist that your new flight take you through the desired airport on your way to the end destination.
Only book your Django technique tickets as one-way tickets.
This is because as soon as you “miss” your first connecting flight, the airline will automatically cancel the rest of your ticket’s reservations. In most cases, you would need to do this anyway, as when you return home, you’ll be departing from a different city than the one you were originally ticketed for.
If you found these flight booking hacks useful, make sure you check out my full list of 15 flight booking hacks you can use today.
Guest Post Author Bio:
Joe Ryan –
“Slowly dragging my girlfriend around the world, place by place.”