There are hundreds of airlines out there, but how do you get a good deal? Here’s 10 sneaky ways to get cheap family flights, so you can jet off for less.
1. Use the best flight comparison sites
The quickest and easiest way to nab cheap family flights is to use a decent flight comparison site.
These sites gather all the best deals from hundreds of airlines so you can quickly and easily pick the best one.
Some of these sites are a lot better than others, though. For our money, the top three comparison sites are:
Momondo is a great site.
It’s easy to use, quick, and almost always finds the cheapest deals.
It also has loads of nifty tools that tell you when airlines release their cheapest tickets.
For example, if you were booking a flight from London to New York, Momondo can tell you:
- Which months are the cheapest to fly
- Which days of the week tend to have the cheapest fares
- What flight times offer the best value
Just use their ‘Flight Insights’ tool to get this information.
Then when you’ve decided when you want to fly, Momondo will compare hundreds of prices to find you the best deal for the month, date and time you want to fly.
Easy to use, quick and covers a huge number of airlines (but it doesn’t have the fancy filtering options of Momondo). Skyscanner is worth using in conjunction with Momondo though.
Not as many deals as Skyscanner or Momondo, but Cheapflights sometimes throws up deals they don’t have.
If you use any of the sites above, you’ll get a good deal on your flight. They don’t all search the same sites though – so if you want to be really thorough, use two (or even all three) sites to get the absolute cheapest deal.
2. Book early…
The earlier you book your flight, the cheaper you are likely to get it.
Unlike holidays, most airlines don’t do ‘last minute’ sales very often – in fact, last minute plane tickets tend to cost an arm and a leg.
3. …specifically 59+ days early
Research from Momondo has shown that flights are on average 38% cheaper if you book them 59 days or more ahead of your trip. After that time, prices tend to shoot up.
4. Fly off-peak
Flying midweek, outside the school holidays or during the early hours is another way to net big discounts on your flight.
The day of the week can make a difference too – research from Which? magazine revealed that on average, flying on a Tuesday was 35% cheaper than flying on a Friday!
Again, Momondo’s Flight Insight tool is your friend when it comes to working out the cheapest times to fly.
5. Be flexible on dates (if you can)
Use Momondo’s Flight Insight tool to see when your flight is cheapest. Even a couple of days difference can drastically alter the price of flights.
6. Don’t be afraid to mix and match
When using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner to search for cheap flights, don’t be afraid to ‘mix and match’ your flights.
Let’s say you’re flying to Florida. There’s no reason you can’t fly there with British Airways and fly back with EasyJet.
If it’s cheaper to fly with two different airlines – do it!
7. Search flights from nearby airports
It’s often worth checking the flight prices from nearby airports, as the difference can be massive.
One of our readers saved over £90 on their flight by flying from Luton rather than Heathrow (the saving more than paid for the £6 coach journey from London to Luton!)
8. Make the most of your hand luggage allowance
If you can get away with just flying with hand luggage then you can save a lot of money by avoiding hold luggage fees.
Hand luggage allowances do vary between airlines. Most budget airlines allow hand at least 10kg of hand luggage, though plenty go up to 15-20kg which is quite a lot. Easyjet have no maximum weight restriction (though make sure you check size as well as weight restrictions).
If you’re just taking hand luggage, make sure you don’t go over the allowed limits, as charges can be steep. (Weigh your luggage before you go if you’re in any doubt).
For tips on how to pack like a pro, watch the quick video above.
9. Watch out for sneaky extra charges
When you book your flight, some airlines automatically tick those boxes that commit you to buying extra things (such as flight insurance or priority boarding). Ryanair has a reputation for this, so make sure you review the booking form (and all those sneaky little tick boxes) before you buy your flight.
Also remember that some airlines charge you a check-in fee at the airport – but online check in is almost always free. Check out our full list of the sneaky tricks airlines use to make you pay more, so you know what to look out for!
10. Cut the cost of travelling to the airport
Transferwithme.com is a way to find people to share a lift to the airport with. There’s no guarantee you’ll find a match for your flight of course, but it’s completely free to register and search – so why not give it a go?
Other tips to help you cut the cost of your flight
- Remember that if your flight is delayed, you can get up to £500 in compensation. Find out how to claim flight compensation.
- From sneaky baggage charges to cheeky check-in fees: get wise to the tricks airlines use to make you pay more for your ticket, and find out how to avoid them!
- If you pay for your flight by debit card, it is usually a few quid cheaper than using your credit card – but we strongly recommend paying with your credit card. Why? Because if you buy something that costs £100 or more with a credit card, the credit card company will cover you if something goes wrong (such as the airline going bust).