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Cheep Airline Tickets - Finding Airline Tickets for Cheap

airlines flights consumers rates

Cheep: High-pitched sounds made by baby birds.

Cheap: What every consumer wants from their airline tickets.

Consumers might say “cheap” when they look for airline tickets, but what airline companies hear is “cheep.” Airline tickets are a fluid, ever-changing series of rates and numbers, and to get the cheapest tickets, consumers need more than just a search engine. To be the big birds in the sky, consumers must know about how supply and demand affect the cost of tickets.

Finding cheap airline tickets does not begin and end at sites like Expedia and Priceline. Rather, these sites are tools which only work well when in the hands of a skilled traveler. To secure airline tickets for cheap, fliers should understand that airlines constantly struggle to balance peak flight times with consumer demands.

In a perfect world, planes would run as regularly as buses. Yet, the high cost of maintaining, staffing, and fueling an airplane requires that airlines use various methods to balance what they can competitively offer against customer demands. At peak efficiency, planes would be in constant motion, shuffling full loads of passengers to different locations. This, unfortunately, is not the case, and that is why it can be so hard to find airline tickets for cheap.

Left to their personal preferences, the majority of fliers would leave airports on Fridays and arrive on Sundays. If this were allowed to happen, though, airlines would have to own twice as many airplanes to handle the large bursts of activity. When pressed, however, consumers have shown that they would rather fly cheaply than conveniently, and airlines offer cheaper rates to help fill their planes during off hours.

The presence of multiple competing airlines creates a large supply of flights, a factor which works in consumer favor in lowering costs. When one airline offers a discount to a certain location, other airlines in turn have to lower their prices as well, or their competitors will receive all their business. Much like with gas prices, this tendency to copy sales makes “20% off” and similar deals less lucrative than they might initially look.

Airlines provide multiple types of seats, some of which—like discounted seats—are purchased almost as soon as they are offered. To beat the system, flights should be secured a few months in advance whenever possible. Three weeks is a significant cut-off point for flight prices—later than that, and rates begin to climb at alarming rates.

A huge advantage of ecommerce airline booking has been the ease with which multiple flights can be connected. Connecting flights and layovers, though inconvenient, translate into big savings. The reason for this is that they move with the flow of the airline—customers are slid into flights that need filled rather than flights that are already too full. The lower price is a financial incentive for consumers to work with the airline rather than around it.

Similarly, a flexibility in departure and arrival times can also save money. When planning a trip, the best way to secure cheap airline tickets is to let the airline’s prices determine when it begins and ends. Though this is not always possible, it is one of the most reliable routes to cheap airline tickets.

At times, money can be saved by switching to a discount airline. Discount airlines are very small airlines that often specialize in a few locations. Within the United States for example, smaller airlines connect destinations like Jamaica and Puerto Rico to their closest international airport. This applies in other countries as well: discount airlines connect nearby countries like Japan and Korea, Germany and the U.K., and so on. Island chains in particular often feature small airlines which hop from island to island at low altitudes and thus low costs.

Be a big bird. To fly cheap, fly smart.

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