Finding cheap flights
Our golden rules for finding a bargain flight
We invented it. We even have a word for it: cheapflights-ology. If you want to go away, but don't want to spend a fortune, then follow these recommendations for a life of affordable travel.
- Shop around for the best deal and be patient. No company will always have the cheapest price.
- Be flexible with your flight times. Try flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday rather than at weekends.
- Generally speaking you will get a cheaper fare by booking early.
- Remember that your travel agent may not search all the low-fare airlines.
- Be flexible, if possible, with your airports. Flying to or from a nearby or secondary airport can save you money, but remember to add in the cost of getting to the airport and getting from the airport when you land. Read our Airport Guides to find out how far airports are from their local towns.
- Always compare like with like: first, watch out for taxes, surcharges and fees. Secondly, some airlines are more comfortable (offering seat allocation, food and drinks) so price is not always the only factor. To compare the costs of airline's meals, seats and in-flight entertainment for the main airlines in the UK in our handy comparison tables.
There are some other considerations. There are advantages to travelling with a traditional carrier if you can find a bargain. These include assigned seating so you can avoid that scrum at the departure gates and you may get some kind of in-flight service too. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, the traditional airlines will be better able to get you on another flight or help you with accommodation for the night. With the low-costs, even with Regulation 261/2004 (the EU regulation that established the rates of compensation due to air travellers when they are denied boarding or their flight is delayed or cancelled), you may not receive the same level of care.
More ways to find a cheap flight
Cheapflights.co.uk is an independent guide to the best deals from hundreds of flights companies including airlines (traditional and low-cost), consolidators and travel agents. Compare prices to your chosen destination and consider using a specialist for long-haul flights. You will find these companies on destination pages (Alicante for example), or use our agents and operators' contact list.
Use our handpicked deals page to find a daily selection of the best flights, holidays and car hire available from the UK and Ireland.
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Updated May 2014