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10 Money Saving Hacks and Tips for Booking Airplane Flights

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10 Money Saving Hacks and Tips for Booking Airplane Flights

Have a case of wanderlust?

We’ve got money-saving hacks and tips for booking airplane flights that’ll take you to wherever your urges lead – and it’s almost impossible not to get the urge to travel when you see fabulous pictures of vacations all over social media. So why pay a small fortune on the flight that gets you to those sandy beaches, snow-covered mountains, and everything in between?

Keep reading to save TONS on airfare for your next trip!


1. Strategically time the booking of your trip for discounts of up to 35%.

Money saving tips and hacks for airplane flights - planning out vacation with map and computerThe whole “book on a Tuesday” or “book six weeks ahead” mantras have gone out the window since booking your flight isn’t a one-size-fits-all process anymore. With sites like Skyscanner, you can find your desired destination and your departing airport to get an estimation of the best time to book your flight. Based on the location, you’ll see savings ranging from 10-35% based on previous pricing trends.

If you still like to go by a general rule, their data shows that on average you should book two to three weeks ahead for domestic flights and two months ahead for international.


2. Call for special, unadvertised fares.

Not everyone is traveling for vacation. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re traveling due to a family death, military or government business, an international adoption, or if you’re over the age of 65, call the airline directly. They offer unlisted fares for passengers who have travel needs meeting certain requirements and will offer discounted rates based on those circumstances.


3. Go directly to the airlines for bargains.

Money saving hacks and tips for booking airline flights – Jet Blue airplane on the tarmac

There are TONS of booking sites that claim to advertise the lowest price from the majority of airlines, but that’s not always the case. Budget airlines like Southwest, JetBlue, and Allegiant don’t allow third party sites to aggregate their pricing. If you plan to travel with one of these airlines, check their websites separately to get a better idea of how much you could be saving by skipping the middleman. Other airlines to check include Frontier, Spirit, and Sun County Airline.


4. Consider booking a stopover fare for free flights or hotels.

Don’t stay in the airport during a layover. As implied by the name, a stopover fare is a flight you take when you stop at the layover. Typically these layovers last more than 24 hours, but most can be stretched for up to five days. This means you get a mini vacation on the way to your destination! The savings vary, but they have the potential to cover the cost of your hotel if you book as a package.

You may be asking, “Why would the airline allow this?” The reason you can score such hot deals on these types of airfares is that the airline wants to encourage tourism where they’re based. Tourists might end up shopping, dining, and hopefully (revisiting) the destination via their airline in the future, creating customer loyalty – which also makes them more money in the long run.


5. Avoid booking flights on Fridays and Sundays.

tsa pre-check — Money saving hacks and tips for booking airline flights – planning out vacation timing with a planner

🎶 Everybody’s booking for the weekend. 🎶 Those might not be the exact words to the song, but nonetheless, it’s true! The most expensive days to fly are Friday and Sunday since they’re often the busiest. If you have wiggle room in your schedule to book on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or even a Saturday, you have a much better chance of scoring a deal on your flight.


6. Search with flexible dates to find the cheapest time frame.

Money saving hacks and tips for booking airline flights – google flights website navigating flexible date options

If you’ve got time on your side and don’t need to book your flight for exact dates, check out low airfare finders on airlines like Southwest, Alaskan Air, United, and JetBlue. Their helpful calendars share the lowest fares on each day to make finding the cheapest itinerary possible.

If you don’t know the specific airline you want to fly, use Google Flights and switch the date range from “specific dates” to “flexible dates”. Then choose your duration and which month you’re considering travel.


7. Check sites like SecretFlying.com for crazy cheap airfares.

Everyone makes mistakes — even airlines. And sometimes incredibly cheap deals slip through the system. Luckily there are sites like SecretFlying who swoop down on these airfares and post them to their site, giving readers a booking advantage. The destinations, dates, and airlines all vary, but if you’re in the beginning stages of planning a trip, it’s worth giving them a look for a smokin’ hot flight deal.


8. Find all the flight info you need on Google Flights.

Money saving hacks and tips for booking airline flights – google homepage on macbook pro

This was briefly mentioned earlier for its flexible date view, but Google Flights does it all. From seasonal price variations to popular destinations from your area to travel suggestions, you can find just about any flight booking info you could ask for on this site.

When you’re done looking at a specific trip, remember to save your itinerary to get email notifications if the price drops lower.


9. Check out Reddit’s r/Shoestring for frugal travel advice.

tsa pre-check tip — Money saving hacks and tips for booking airline flights – airplane landing

Reddit is constantly making our lives so much easier! Tap into the money-saving travel knowledge of the forum (subreddit) all about traveling on a shoestring budget. You’ll find suggestions for cheap airfare, hotels, activities, and more so you can make all your vacation arrangements no matter how little you want to spend on the trip.


10. Get money back for certain baggage fees through American Airlines.

Money saving hacks and tips for booking airline flights – rolling luggage with backpacks lined up at airport

The airline might owe you $200! American Airlines has been accused of overcharging customers for baggage fees in a recent class-action lawsuit. Due to a glitch in their system, the airline overcharged passengers on flights between July 2013 and June 2018 by “charging them to check one or more of their bags, despite promises that they could do so at no additional cost,” according to the settlement claim website.

So what does this mean for you as a customer of the airline? You could be entitled to $18.75 to $200 plus interest, depending on how much you paid in baggage fees!

Even if you’re not sure you’re entitled to compensation, you can submit a claim which will be verified by the American Airlines records to indicate if your trip was impacted. To submit a claim, head over to the baggage fee settlement website and fill out the online claim form or submit the form by mail.



Written by Emily for Hip2Save. Emily lives in Buffalo, NY where she spends her time drinking lots of coffee, scouring the internet for deals, and tackling DIY projects. She’s a big believer in self-care and living the fullest life possible, all while saving money of course.


Emily is an evergreen writer specializing in health, beauty, fashion & living frugally. She has degrees in Business & Communication. Connect with Emily on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 16

  1. Ashley

    I recently used Google flights and also the hopper app tracking the same flights. Both gave me the same alerts but the Hopper app alerted me hours earlier than google did. Got a great deal on our flights. Also, we use travel rewards credit cards to get our flights for free. This only works if you can pay off the full amount you charge to the card otherwise you spend more money on interest.

    • Jess

      I second the travel rewards credit cards. If you find one with good bonuses and pay it off each month, there are some great deals. We just got back from Australia (both tickets paid for!). Of course it took a year and a half of planning, but so worth it!

      • Donna

        Jess, Which card did you to use to end up getting both tickets paid for to go to Australia? Would love to know.

        • Jess

          I believe it was a chase sapphire reserve with 100,000 mile bonus, however, I also think they stopped that promotion… maybe too many people took them up on it 🙂

  2. Cindy

    Wow, great tips! Hip2Save did all the legwork for their readers, so I have all the info I need the next time I need to purchase airline tickets. Thank You!!

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Cindy! Glad you found the information helpful — best of luck when booking your next flight! ✈️

  3. Jenny L

    Do u know which airline would be the best if u have a lot of luggage?

    • Mel

      Southwest airlines bags fly free. Up to two bags per passenger

      • Emily

        Was just going to say this. Also, SW doesn’t come up in 3rd party searches, so you have to go directly to the airline to look.

  4. Reena

    Wowww awesome post!!!! Loved the tips 😊

  5. Wehaf

    If you are flying from the US to Europe, book with whichever European carrier codeshares with your chosen US-based airline, instead of with the US-based one; on these flights, if there is a significant delay and it is the airline’s fault, European carriers are required to pay you money (as much as 600 Euros) while US-based carriers are not. One flights within Europe or from Europe to the US it doesn’t matter.

  6. Rachel L Pride

    Another great thing is to open up the credit cards for airlines. You receive miles plus your bags fly free! Here are some links.

    Delta Business – Apply for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/RACHEPjsNK?xl=cp20

    Delta Gold – Apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/RACHEPjEyQ?xl=cp20

  7. @GeeEmm

    I subscribe to TheFlightDeal.com’s email list – they send one email per day around noon Pacific time and have US-departure city fares for both domestic and international flights (vs UK-based SecretFlying fares like London-Istanbul or Manila-Shanghai). I think the TheFlightDeal email also covers their sister site FareDealAlert which covers non-major US city departure points. But to cover all bases, I follow all three on Twitter and Facebook.

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      What a great site! I’ll have to check that out, sounds like a good way to score some awesome flight deals ✈️🙌

  8. MaryP

    Scott’s deals is another great website and will email you deals that he finds.

  9. zy9ls9

    for cheap flights, check the homecityflights.com, it’s a gateway for cheap flights, all the flights from your home city ordered by continent/country/city/price

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