Booking a flight is easy, but finding the best deal may not be as simple. Prices for flights will vary depending on the time of day they’re purchased, the day of the week and the current rate. Outside factors influencing the cost are fuel prices, the individual airline’s revenue and the airline’s expenses. There are a few important things to know when looking for a flight. This article will give some helpful tips for finding the best flight deals.

Advance Reservations

The best advice for flying is to reserve early. As soon as money is available and travel plans are decided, purchase a flight first. Hotel reservations, rental cars and other trip details can be paid upon obtaining the service. Airline tickets must be purchased in advance. It is important to be sure of travel dates; if they are still somewhat uncertain, it is best to choose an airline that has a lower change fee. Some discount carriers, such as Southwest, do not charge change fees. Most airlines charge between $50-$300, depending on how far in advance the change is made and how full the flight is. The popular search engine called Bing has a special flight-finder feature that shows the current lowest rate, along with a predictor scale that indicates whether it is a good time to buy or it is better to wait.

Discount Airlines

Not everyone plans trips in advance. Sometimes there is little notice for booking a flight. Funerals, family emergencies, weddings and impulsive weekend getaways all call for a last-minute purchase. When this is the case, always compare rates. Keep in mind that some airlines do not appear in a search engine’s results – or a discount booking site. Popular sites such as Priceline include all of the major airlines. However, discount providers such as Virgin, Jet Blue, Southwest, AirTran and several others do not sell seats to discount sites. To see these rates, travelers will have to go to the site directly. Discount sites usually always have a lower rate than major airlines.

Flight Sales

In addition to searching the flight deals from discount airlines, it is also a good idea to check for flight sales. Most major air carriers that have sales will announce them through television commercials or advertisements. A simple search engine query for the current month, year and the words “flight sale” in quotation marks will yield any relevant results. Most sales are based on a one-way rate. For example, an airline may list their sale prices as “starting at $39 one-way.” This means the lowest possible round-trip flight would be $78. Not all sale prices are applicable to every airport destination and departure location. To find the best deals when flight sales are not available, use discount comparison sites. Booking Buddy offers a comprehensive look at all the major discount companies’ rates. Keep in mind that some companies do not list taxes and fees. Always be sure the total price has these items factored in to ensure the lowest fare is purchased. In most cases, Priceline has the lowest average prices and the best cancellation insurance plan.