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My Flight Booking Secret

I’ve just booked a flight from Switzerland to the U.K., and after looking around at a couple of websites (lastminute.com and similar) and finding the cheapest flight, I thought I should see how much it costs on ba.com (British Airways’s site). BA automatically detected my country as Switzerland, and so set the prices in Swiss Francs. The lowest quoted price in pounds I found online was £120, but the price listed on the BA website for the very same flight was 159 CHF—which ended up being less, because of the exchange rate!

The savings in this case was only £15, but I can imagine with longer journeys, or if you travel frequently, things like this could add up. Just thought this might be the sort of tip your readers would be interested in. — Stephanie B.

I think we need to start a “My Fight Booking Secret” series (send them if you have them!), because finding the best flight deals is something I think about whenever I’m going somewhere. WSJ flight booking secret: Start hunting now for 2013 holiday trips. I’m in the process of hunting for flights this week for a wedding at the end of October, because I heard that there are deals to be had at the end of summer, when fewer people are booking flights and settling back into school and work. The flight I was looking at yesterday is $30 cheaper today, and I’m thinking about booking it before I psych myself out and think it’ll be even cheaper tomorrow.

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15 Comments / Post A Comment

probs (#296)

I’ve heard that prices can change based on the area you’re booking from even within a country, i.e. it looks at your IP or whatever and if you’re in DC or NYC or somewhere else where people tend to have higher incomes, it will charge you more, and therefore people will use proxies to make it look like they’re checking in from Bumpass or Frog Level or what have you. I don’t know if that’s true or even makes sense, but this is what I have heard.

OllyOlly (#669)

@probs Also I just want all readers to know that Bumpass, VA is a real place, something I didn’t not believe when someone first told me they lived there.

cmcm (#267)

Also, if for example you’re booking something in pounds with an American credit card and they offer to convert the price to dollars don’t do it! In my experience, the exchange rate that my credit card gives me is ALWAYS a lot better than what a booking site would use.

@cmcm What you’re describing is “dynamic currency conversion,” and should be avoided.

I use the ITA matrix, kayak, and a quick glance at southwest.com. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be cheapest to buy on Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m too busy to go find those articles at the moment, but they’re out there.

RocketSurgeon (#747)

My flight booking secret is to buy tickets on Tuesday evenings. And if it’s a big trip, buy three months before. I saved us $400 ($200 per ticket) on flights to South Africa a few years ago, and nearly that much again on flights to New Zealand last year. Both were out of NY, and during popular travel times in the destination places.

I’ve heard that tickets are cheaper on Tuesdays because airlines release sale tickets onto the market on Mondays and by Tuesday, the competition has adjusted their prices, but that prices start to go up later in the week/weekend as tickets sell out and airlines raise prices on available seats. I don’t know if this holds true every time, but I’ve checked the big flights I’ve booked enough to feel like it’s worked out for me.

I heard yesterday that the more you look at any particular flight deal, the higher the prices will go up as the company thinks it’s a popular option. I suppose this makes sense but it seems so conspiracy theory to me that I have trouble believing it’s true.

monteig (#2,100)

@redheaded&crazy I had heard this same thing, and was obsessive about clearing my cache & cookies when trying to book tickets to Africa. No way to tell if it helped, but I felt better doing it.

Ugh airline pricing is so frustrating.
My dad just moved to Houston, and I’m trying to get out there to visit him but even “cheap” weekend flights are not so cheap. Is there such a thing as a flash-sale website for domestic flights?

Between trying to visit him, weddings, and then seeing the rest of my family back east, I’d have it **up to here** with airlines. At least I’m no longer in an LDR to boot.

Megano! (#124)

You either have to book like a year in advance or at the last possible second. Also if you pick departure dates on Wed or Thurs it’s a LOT cheaper than any other day of the week.
Oh and I’ve heard that booking at midnight/the middle of the night is cheaper, but I dunno if this is true.

BananaPeel (#1,555)

I have an alert set up on airfarewatchdog.com for cities where my friends live, and if the time is right and up pops a $198, round-trip, all fees included flight to LaGuardia or wherever, I do it. Also, remember that Southwest flights don’t show up on Priceline, but if you are flying to/from a SW hub, they are frequently the cheapest.

For short domestic flights, remember to check small local airlines. I often take a trip that costs $150 with the big name airline, but if I book through a small float plane company on their weekend sale, it costs $30 and I don’t have to go through security.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

My Dad does something similar to this when he travels to the Philippines.
They have 2 islands there, but only one has the international airport, meaning that his family has to take a second domestic flight to get to Dumaguete. He once booked the second flight along with the first flight and paid with AUD $ but figured out that if he purchased the domestic flight tickets once the family arrived in Manila, they’d save buckets because they’d be paying in Pesos rather than AUD $.

ladycakes (#2,109)

Like others, I find Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be cheaper to fly on.

Also it helps to clear your browser cache and cookies whenever you search for flights – some sites will raise the price of a flight each time you visit (British Airways are notorious for this).

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