Friday, June 13, 2014

Tips to reduce the cost of flying this summer

Summer is a busy time for travel and predictions are that airfare will steadily increase, especially as more airlines consolidate (American Way and U.S. Air  are the latest). So consumers are facing more challenges when booking flights: Fewer flights means higher demand and increased fare costs in some markets. These tips could help you save on airfare:

1. Catch an early flight
The time you fly can impact the cost of your flight significantly. Waking up before dawn or catching a late-night redeye may get you the cheapest flight of the day.
Finding the right flight to get you where you want to go quickly
can be a challenge and takes research time.

2. Choose a loyalty credit card
It's important to sign up for an airline's frequent flyer program. Airline-specific credit cards enable you to earn miles for everyday purchases as well as for booking flights, and they generally allow you to check one bag free. But there are other credit cards that offers award trips, too, and you might want to have one of those if you don’t fly often or don’t expect to use the same airline each time. Most credit card companies offer mileage points for use toward flights, hotels or car rentals.

3. Shop for flights on Tuesday
Not everyone agrees, but according to, booking flights at 3:00 p.m. ET Tuesday afternoon is your best chance to find the cheapest airfare. Since more airlines bid for flights on Mondays, and companies are busy booking their business travelers, less expensive flights abound on Tuesday and Wednesday.

5. Skip direct flights
Making connections may lower your overall fare costs in some cases. Look for short connection windows, but make sure there's enough time to catch the next flight in case of a delay. Also, be sure the amount of savings is enough to justify the hassle of a layover (and increased possibility of misplaced luggage).

6. Travel Midweek
Monday and Friday flights are notoriously more expensive because that’s when business travelers either fly out or fly home, and leisure travelers escape for a short getaway or vacation. Tuesday or Wednesday departures can result in savings in some cases.

7. Track flight price drops
Some airlines will issue an airline credit if your itinerary drops in price after you book it. will alert you when your itinerary drops in price so you can request a credit or book the trip if you've been holding out for a better deal. Checking in to an airline site too often prior to booking can actually result in increased fares popping up on your screen.

8. Consider alternate airports
You might assume smaller airports with limited flights have costlier airfare, but this is not always the case. With limited schedules, these airports can't accommodate all travelers, making select flights and trips in less demand and therefore less expensive.

Your computer can be the best tool
for booking flights.

9. Search one-way flights
When flying to and from the same city, most people search roundtrip flights. However, booking one way flights on different airlines may get a better deal. Plus, it's easier to redeem miles on one-way flights because the cost of one leg is significantly less than the cost of a roundtrip flight.

10. Book online at airline sites
Compare prices and schedules with a search engine like Kayak, but don't forget to search airlines separately. Buying directly from the airline will also reduce the hassle associated with dealing with a third party if there are flight changes or cancellations.

Today’s guest post is by Andrea Woroch, a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert. Follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and


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