As the sun sets on the summer holiday season, we get inundated with news of seat sales to the USA, reduced-priced tickets to Africa and bargain fares to the Far East. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and KLM are just a few of the major carriers slashing prices on tickets to popular destinations including New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Cape Town and Barbados.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the myriad sales:
Fares are slashed on some of the most popular routes in air travel, but they do come with caveats. Some of those concern days of the week — you'll often have to stay a Saturday night to get the best price, so try to include a weekend when looking for that great fare. However, avoid flying on the weekends themselves; Monday-Thursday flights tend to be the cheapest.
The great rates are unlikely to be available every single day during the travel period, so if you have fixed travel plans, you might find it harder to get the fare you want. Try to keep an open mind, or at least some room to manoeuvre. Can you really not fly on Thursday night rather than Friday morning if it means saving £100?
Direct or hours of sitting in airports?
A big bonus in flight-sale season is the price drop for direct flights. With some of the major carriers, what makes them stand out when the sales are on is that they offer reduced rates on direct flights. Suddenly, destinations across North America, Africa, Asia and more are available for a great price, without the trade-off of having to stop along the way. Not only are you getting a great fare, you can get there quicker — and without the hassle of changing planes.
Not all airlines have sales that cover the same travel dates, so while one may look to have a cheaper fare for a destination than another, they could cover different travel periods. You might not get the cheapest fare when you want to travel with airline X, but for £10 more it's covered by airline Y’s sale.
Don't hang around
If you see that fare you're looking for, be prepared to grab it. The sales often cover a limited number of seats, so they will go fast. Don't hang around, don't phone your mum to tell her how cheap the fare is you're about to buy is, don't tell everyone on a certain social networking site your plans. Book it. The sales also have end dates; many of the current crop are due to end on 14 September.