Whether it’s a surprise trip back home to see a sweetheart or an upcoming flight in February for business, Black Friday is a great way save money on air travel.
Three contingencies, however, must be kept in mind when purchasing these Black Friday deals:
1. Usually, unless there is a special package by the specific airline, you won’t save money buying international flights.
Airlines such as Southwest usually have more stable fares, ranging in price during the holiday season anywhere from ten to one hundred dollars. However, airlines such as Delta have been seen to fluctuate upwards of three to four hundred dollars. Deals offered by Frontier Airlines and Virgin America in 2012 and 2013 proffered up to half off of flights cross-country, yet virtually no deals for international flights until the beginning of the new year. Air France and Air Canada will historically take up to seventy percent discounts for flights to Mexico and the Caribbean for international travelers looking to escape the cold.
2. When searching for flight deals on Black Friday, clear your cache and cookies first.
Just as websites like Kayak and Hotwire will remember the flights you search for ‘in order to notify you on the best deals and make the experience of searching for flights more expedient,’ so will they also use this information for their advantage. The email alerts aren’t the only products that come from not clearing your history; the site will notice the frequency of your searches and extrapolate the importance of each flight to hike up prices.
This tip is presented by Raghuram Sukumar: “I was trying to book a cheap flight ticket to New York (JFK). I was looking for over a week to get the cheapest air fare after deciding on the flight and days of travel. Finally, air fare price was $50 less than previous days fares. I was using Firefox when I started searching for the flight tickets to New York. I happened to search using Chrome browser, which wasn’t used previously to search the flight tickets. While browsing using the Chrome, I saw the lowest air fare to New York on same flight. To verify the ticket price, I went to back to Firefox (where frequent flyer data was saved). Guess what? Ticket price was $50 higher for same flight.”
3. Use a credit card that collects miles, points, or gives you a percentage cash back with purchases.
Although this is self-explanatory, it is not necessarily intuitive. Studies have found travelers who book regularly on the same site often have credit cards or debit cards saved for purchases that offer no redemptive value for purchasing plane tickets. On purchases as large as these, you deserve a discount!
Happy shopping, fellow travelers; and may your holiday season come with deep savings and unforgettable memories!
Article written by Wenxi Zhang.