Last minute flights

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Is it better to book early or get a late deal?

If you’re looking for a holiday that won’t break the bank, what’s the best way to save money?

The world of last-minute flights has changed a great deal due to the emergence of budget airlines in recent years. Previously, you were able to find the best deals by turning up at the airport and finding standby flights at a fraction of the cost – sadly, times have changed. However, you can still find a host of cheap airline tickets just as easily without having to wait until last minute.

When can late deals work?

In short – when you’re flexible.

The best time to consider searching for great last-minute deals is when the urge to book a quick getaway to somewhere fantastic is stronger than the when, where or how.

The prices for flights with low-cost airlines increase as time goes on so the best time to get the cheapest fares are when the tickets are first released (or in a seat sale, though availability is always restricted in these sales). Another sure-fire way to receive up-to-date information on flight offers is by signing up to the Cheapflights newsletter.

Often, you can find Charter airline late deals available when they’re trying to sell their spare seats at cheaper prices. Additionally, cheap last minute flights can also be found by booking two one-way journeys. It allows you more flexibility too so consider booking one route with Ryanair and the return with a different airline.

As well as being flexible, you can find some great deals just by signing up to different airline and website mailing lists.

When to book early

Statistically, the costs of flights are cheapest around 50 days before take-off, although if you are planning a holiday then it’s worth securing your flights even earlier than this – especially if it needs to be scheduled for the school holidays. Search for cheap flights as early on as possible, as this is a very busy season to travel.

Below is a chart that highlights when the best times to book your flights are to secure the cheapest prices. Whilst the actual prices are just a guide, you get the idea of when it is best to book your domestic flights. (International flights are a different ball game altogether!)

Last minute flights 1

When it comes to flag carriers such as British Airways, you needn’t wait until the week before your holiday to get the best deal on cheap flights. In fact, by booking your flight sooner rather than later, you could easily land yourself a top deal and be left with plenty of cash to spend while you’re away.

If you’re thinking of travelling in a large group with friends, you could find it a little difficult getting last-minute deals to accommodate all of you at the same time. Alternatively, if there are only two of you, your chances of getting last minute flights together are much greater.

Money savings in a glass jar on world map background, Travel concept

Where and when to go?

Whether you want cheap flights to destinations throughout Europe including Spain, Greece, Portugal or France, or you want to go further afield and book flights to India or Orlando, there are some great last-minute flights to be had.

Airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet are well known for their budget prices, and although the comfort might not be as high as an Emirates flight you can find some real bargains. You just have to keep your eyes on the additional fees that might be added for things such as checked in baggage as some of the budget airlines do up their prices during peak times of the year.

There are pros and cons when it comes to both booking early and getting late deals. Depending on your travel arrangements and the time of year you plan to take your trip, either can work for you just fine. By booking early, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your dream trip is all booked up, but waiting until the last minute could leave you with the possibility of finding late deals at a fraction of the price.

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Last minute flights was last modified: June 1st, 2016 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3402 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!