You tolerate the hostile air crew that looks at you as if it’s your fault they only get paid when the cabin doors close. You tolerate the so-called food, which is so laden with sodium, saturated fat and sugar, that it should come with a warning label from the Surgeon General. You tolerate the delays. You tolerate the waiting line to use the tiny little bathroom. Heck, you even tolerate sitting next to a teething baby or a LOUD TALKER WHO NEEDS THE ENTIRE FLIGHT TO KNOW THAT HE LOVES THE GREEN BAY PACKERS (or anything else notable in his universe).
But you won’t tolerate getting gouged. It boils your blood to know that the person next to you (maybe even the LOUD TALKER) might have paid hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars less than you for the exact same journey.
Well, fear not intrepid traveler! Here are three money-saving secrets that airlines won’t tell you, but of course we will. So please fasten your seatbelt, return your (bacteria-riddled) tray back to its upright position, and get ready to save big time by doing any or all of the following:
Book 50 Days Ahead
Yes, it’s true that you can sometimes score phenomenal last-minute deals. But if you don’t want to take a chance, then here’s a little-known tip: book your flight 50 days before departure. No, it’s not a guaranteed way to save money. But data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation suggests that you’ll probably pay less than the passengers next to you (which is much more enjoyable than being on the other side of that equation).
Fly Early, at Lunch or at Dinner
Often, the cheapest flight available is the one that takes off first thing in the morning. Yes, this means you need to haul yourself to the airport in the middle of the night, which isn’t fun. But you’ll likely save far more than if you book mid-morning, mid-afternoon or mid-evening. Plus, you’ll probably have more choice when it comes to seating. If crawling to the airport at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning sounds just too inhumane, then your next best option is probably to book a flight during lunch or during dinner. Why? Because most passengers would rather be eating food on the ground vs. in the air wondering why their broiled chicken is grey.
Fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday
You may be surprised — if not stunned — to discover that flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday is much cheaper than any other day of the week. Again, it’s a numbers game. Typically, fewer people fly during these days; especially business travelers, who are rarely paying for their own ticket anyway, and couldn’t care less how much more expensive it is to fly out on a Thursday, Friday, Sunday or Monday.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re going on a fun family vacation to Miami or anywhere else, the above tips could help you keep more of your hard earned money that you can use for other goals, such as renovating your house, buying a bigger TV, covering the cost of restoring a car, or anything else on your dream board or bucket list.
And oh yeah: don’t feel bad about the airlines. They’re doing just fine, and raked in a cool $30 billion in revenues in 2018. That’s a lot of profit, a lot of flights, and a heck of a lot of little packs of salted peanuts.