How to find cheap flights

Jump to: navigation, search

Finding cheap flights is a nice skill. Hitchhiking is a good way to get around but how can you get to other continents if you don't have oceans of time? Going by boat or ferry is often an interesting adventure by itself.

Environmental impact of aviation

Error creating thumbnail: File missing
Alaska airlines is more efficient by using aeroprops, also Spirit Airlines has more efficient technology and more seats per flight than others.

Going by plane emits tons of carbondioxide, for example the typical comfortable canal jump London – Frankfurt – London emits 150 kg to 500 kg CO2 per person (see Carbon Offsetting & Air Travel. Part 1: CO2-Emissions Calculations), page 19). It is much worse than going by car on your own using a ferry. Please think twice before paying for the destruction of our climate. Even if fuel efficiency of modern aircraft is better by consuming less fuel per kilometre, the absolute amount of emissions rises by 4% per year because more people go by plane (see Are technology myths stalling aviation climate policy?).

If you still have to fly (instead of organizing in a better way), you can choose a more efficient airline, like Spirit (see Comparison of US airlines, page 8), or less consuming aeroplanes like a turboprop. However carbon offsetting is usually a scam as green labelled tropical organic farms usually grow in former rainforest areas.

Wikipedia has additional encyclopedic information on Fuel economy in aircraft#Airlines
Wikipedia has additional encyclopedic information on Environmental impact of aviation

General tips

Error creating thumbnail: File missing
  1. delete browser cookies and history or use incognito mode
  2. if you see the price goes up while you are searching, don't panic. Instead wait an hour and check again
  3. book in low season (november to january)
  4. if you see an error fare, book it (they appear in hours usually)
  5. be flexible with time and departure country

To search effectively, use a search engine where you can search multiple days and airports at once. Some sites allow you to search using the whole country, or all airports within a specific distance.

Sundays and Fridays are the two most expensive weekdays to fly on, in general. Some cities are however typical weekend destinations, and then the pattern is a little different. One example is Barcelona. People fly there from all over Europe on Fridays, and return back home on Sundays. Therefore, because of differences in demand it will almost always be cheaper to fly into Barcelona on a Sunday than on a Friday.

When flying, you must typically use more than one flight to get to your destination. If you travel slowly and make a stopover underway, the number of possible flights will increase. This will improve your chances of finding a cheaper flight.

The same principle applies if you during your stopover travel by bus or train to a nearby city. From there you will have additional chances of finding the cheapest flight onwards.

Search engines

  • www.tripeconomist.comis an online resource to find cheap flights from Europe to Asia.
  • Skyscanner is a great way for finding cheap flights. Choose "whole month" or even "whole year" for this to work properly.
  • is a real time aggregator and search engine that monitorizes all the deals published by sites like TravelPirates, SecretFlying, Fly4Free, Flynous, TheFlightDeal, etc... If subscribed it notifies the user each time that a deal is published (via browser notification) and it has a daily newsletter.
  • HelloWings is a good tool for comparing across multiple low cost airlines at once and on a full year price chart. Has good coverage of LCC(Asia, Europe, Middle East, even America, showing full year prices of Southwest), great for a long term backpacking trip.
  • is a specialized low-cost search engine. It can combine diff. carriers (up to 3 changes), search by region (from: Scandinavia, to: Mediterranean), search in long time windows (June-October), has data form 45+ LCCs (mostly European and Middle-eastern), works fast
  • Azuon is Windows program that has many low-cost airlines in its database such as Ryanair, Norwegian, Wizzair, AirAsia and many more.
  • ITA's Matrix lets you search in advanced ways.
  • Drungli is very simple search tool for flights in EU, but it covers some cheaper airlines (eg. Ryanair).
  • Kayak
  • is a low-cost flight search engine for finding the cheapest multi-city trips across Europe.
  • Hopper Flight research tools.
  • GoAvio (former JetMap) shows routes for low cost airlines but doesn't have a search. Especially good for European connections; outside Europe it's not always up to date. See airliners list
  • SkipLagged finds "Hidden City" connections, sometimes it's cheaper to book a flight to a third city, and you simply don't board the last plane.
  • Jetcost Compare different search engine - they also list companies that scam their customers though
  • PanFlights Supports country to country search, and flexible dates. "Meet in the middle" for multiple travelers. Suggests stopovers. Price calendars / maps. Changes visit order for multi-city trips for lower price.
  • Tripchemy Flight search engine for cheap multi-city round trips in and around Europe.

Avoid scams

Other useful resources

Promotions & error fares:

  • [3] lists budget airlines by country.

Chrome extensions: