AAA's Simple Ways to Save on Airfares
AURORA, ILL. (March 20, 2013) — Americans will likely find busy airports and rising airfares during the next several weeks. The Travel Security Administration (TSA) expects 62 million air travelers for Spring Break. This is the first big travel push of the year, and finding a low-priced air ticket may not be easy.
"In many ways, travel is cyclical and one common theme is that airfare costs increase when kids are out of school," said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "We normally see airfares rise during Spring Break, slip lower in April and May, then shoot back up in the summer. Having knowledge of some basic principles when booking your flight can go a long way in helping you get the most for your money."
AAA's Tips for Finding the Cheapest Airfare
“For many, searching the web for the cheapest airfare is daunting, which is why AAA highly recommends working with a travel agent to help save time and money,” said Evans. “Travel agents eliminate the hassle of surfing the web and ensure travelers will get the best flight, at the least expensive price." Travelers can speak to a travel agent at their local AAA branch, or compare prices and develop their own itinerary on AAA.com/Travel.
- Book early. Air carriers want to fill every seat on the plane. They base their rates on supply and demand. Prices will be higher on flights with few available seats. Conversely, when empty seats are in high supply, the prices are adjusted to entice travelers to book.
- Shop on a Monday or Tuesday, between midnight and 5 a.m. Any flights - booked during the day, that are not paid in full - are released at midnight, a time when most people are sleeping. This means more seat availability, reduced demand, and cheaper airfares.
- Delete computer cookies. If you check an air carrier's website multiple times a day and notice the price of the flight has changed, try deleting your computer cookies. Otherwise, the website may remember that you visited before and might not show the lowest price available.
- Travel during off-peak times. Airfare is often much cheaper for early-morning or late-night flights. Since these times are inconvenient for many travelers, fares tend to be cheaper.
- Get quotes from regional airports. Oftentimes regional airports offer cheaper flights than international airports.
- Bundle. Travelers can find incentive pricing when booking their airfare together with a hotel and/or rental car.
Peak Travel Periods
Busiest Days to Travel
- Spring Break (late February - early April)
- Summer (Memorial Day weekend - Labor Day weekend)
- Christmas/New Year's
Attention International Flyers
- Friday, Sunday, and Monday (Domestic): Heavier traffic days with Americans departing or returning from business trips or extended weekends.
- Weekends (International): The majority of international travelers start their vacation on a weekend.
If you are going on an international flight, be sure your passport is up to date. If your passport is set to expire within 6 months of your return date, you will not be permitted to board the plane. Also, consult with a travel agent to learn more about visa and immunization requirements at your destination.
Book Travel on the AAA Mobile App
The free AAA mobile app allows travelers to book a flight, hotel, and rental car; find travel guides, vacation ideas, deals, driving tips, and locate a AAA travel agent near you.