5 Tips for Airline Ticket Buying 101

By Diana Zarowin - New York University-Stern

Traveling (especially if it’s for pleasure!) is one of my favorite activities. Whether planning an extended cultural excursion to Europe or a quick beach vacation to Miami, my excitement begins to escalate the moment I start thinking about a trip outside of my normal routine. But, there is one little aspect (read: very important aspect!) that does not excite me while thinking about a trip: airline fees.

Plane tickets are part of the traveling bargain – there’s no way to avoid them, unless you’re visiting a local spot and can utilize a different method of transportation. Furthermore, ticket prices often heighten the farther away you plan to travel. This can create a bit of a challenge since most of our generation wants to see the world, and long-distance travel has become so routine.

Lucky for you, young travelers – I have some good news! If you’re thinking about planning  trip sometime soon, be sure to check out the following tips for getting the best ticket prices!

Discounted Ticket Sites

The Internet is home to a host of reliable discounted ticket sites that offer sizeable savings from major airlines. Before checking a specific airline’s website, be sure to scout sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, Jetsetter and others for great prices. In fact, compare between all of the aforementioned sites in order to obtain the best deal possible on the web!

Purchase on a Tuesday

This might sound rather silly, but rumor has it that purchasing airline tickets online on a Tuesday will almost guarantee you a cheaper price. The reasoning behind this? Airlines usually announce deals on Monday evenings and scramble to match those deals the following day. Sounds more legit with this rationale! It’s worth a shot to try, wouldn’t you say?!

Using Miles/ Combo- Pricing

Many of you (or your parents!) accumulate airline miles, and a rather large number at that. If the mile pricing isn’t ridiculously high, consider paying for your fare in miles rather than dollars. Another related option that several airlines have started to use is combination-pricing – that is, pricing in terms of miles paired with a lesser fare.

Use Credit Card Points

Similar to airline miles, you may not even realize how many of your credit card spending points can be put towards travel. Further, many credit card companies have partnerships with airlines, in which airlines allot a certain number of discounted tickets to the credit card companies, and the like. Be sure to check in with your credit card company before making a travel purchase and see what discounts might be readily available to you.

Keep Your Dates Flexible

This is my favorite trick in the book! Although it’s not always possible to have flexibility with your trip start and end dates, make sure to research the difference in ticket pricing for various travel days, if you do have wiggle room. Often, you will find significant variation depending on the day of the week and/or start and end of the month.