Flying the friendly skies has become such an integral part of travel that it’s second nature for most of us to book a plane ticket. But who says flying has to be expensive? By taking advantage of some tips and tricks of the trade, you can save money on your favorite airline.
Traveling by air? Here’s how to save money
The major airlines have sales at various times during the year that present opportunities to catch a good deal. Most attach savings and rewards to being members of their frequent flyer programs. Finding the cheapest flights can take a little bit of effort since the airlines vary in different ways, but your wallet will thank you.
How to save money on Spirit Airlines
To really save money on Spirit you need to be aware of where all the “gotcha” fees are. And when it comes to letting you know, we’ve gotcha. Here are three ways to save right off the bat:
- Print your boarding pass at home: Spirit charges $2 to print that little piece of paper for you at one of their kiosks. If a ticket agent has to do it, the price balloons to $10.
- Bring your own snacks: Spirit will charge you $1 to $10 for snacks and $1 to $15 for drinks. Save money by making your flight a BYOF (bring your own food) affair. They allow it.
- Book your own flights: Yes, Spirit will charge you for booking, especially groups. Their Reservation Center starts packages at $35 per booking. Group bookings (10 of more passengers on a single itinerary) must be done via phone or in person.
How to save money on Southwest Airlines
- Sign up for Rapid Rewards: This frequent flyer program can allow you to save money (and eventually earn free flights) if you accumulate enough points. You earn one point for each dollar you spend.
- Join Click ‘N Save: Southwest’s email newsletter shows you special deals. The website has a link to special deals, but it redirects to an email sign-up page. The only way you see deals? Click ‘N Save.
How to save money on Delta Air Lines
- Check out Delta’s Deals page: The best way to get an affordable Delta plane ticket is on their Flight Deals & Offers page.
- Book a rental car or hotel: Unlike some other airlines, Delta.com allows you to rent a vehicle while you’re booking your flight. All you have to do is include your SkyMiles number and you’ll earn miles for as long as you’re in the car. And yes, you can book a hotel on Delta.com as well.
How to save money on Hawaiian Airlines
- Fly in January, February and March: Weak demand during the winter months of the first quarter means you’ll most likely to score a low airfare. The airline says in its annual report: “We may adjust our pricing or the availability of particular fares to obtain an optimal passenger load factor depending on seasonal demand differences.”
- Don’t fly in June, July, August and December: Hawaiian Airlines is increasingly dependent on these four travel months to meet its bottom line. You’ll find fares higher in the summer and during the December holidays. To save money, fly any other time of year.
- Special offers: Frequently check Hawaiian Airlines’ Special Offers page, which gives you fares from key mainland cities as well as days to travel for the lowest prices. There’s also a deals page for travel among the Neighbor Islands.
How to save money on Alaska Airlines
- Use a discount code: Alaska Airlines makes discount codes available for fliers who have partner-branded credit cards, like the Alaska Airlines Visa and World Elite Mastercard.
- Online flight deals: On its website, Alaska Airlines has weekly flight deals as well as sale pages for fall and spring that have flights for less.
How to save money on JetBlue Airways
- If you can, book online: JetBlue adds $25 per person to fares purchased by phone.
- Check their deals page: Use JetBlue’s Deals page, its Best Fare Finder and the JetBlueCheeps account to save.
- Become a TrueBlue member: JetBlue’s frequent flyer program, TrueBlue, offers numerous perks for members, including exclusive fares and upgrades.
How to save money on Wow Air
- Check out the deals page: Wow has a Best Fares page that offers the lowest prices you can find on the airline.
- Also be aware of gotcha fees: On a typical $99 flight, you’ll pay $30 for a carry-on bag, $29.99 for cancellation protection, $27.99 if you book through Wow’s air call center and more.
How to save money on United Airlines
- Military discount: If you’re a veteran, active service member or in the National Guard, the airline offers Veterans Advantage, which can give you up to 5% off your United or United Express airfare.
- Get a United card: Avoid baggage fees by signing up for a Chase United Explorer Credit Card or the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card. You and a traveling companion get their first bag free.
- Deals page: United also has a webpage for Special Flight Offers, which show seasonal sales and upcoming routes.
As you can see there are plenty of ways to save money on airline tickets. Money expert Clark Howard says the best way to fly for less though is to follow his #1 rule for cheap travel.