10 Ways to Get Last-Minute Cheap Flights

10 Ways to Get Last-Minute Cheap Flights
Last-minute flights are hard to find, and they usually aren't cheap. Photo: freepik

By Amanda Hoffman

Have you ever found yourself in a last-minute scramble to book a flight? Whether you're planning a spontaneous weekend trip, have an unplanned business meeting, or have been putting off booking your flight, you don't have to break the bank when booking last-minute flights. Even if you don't have the luxury of booking in advance, there are still ways to find affordable last-minute flights.

Read More: 11 Ways to Save Money on Family Travel

1. Be Flexible with Your Dates and Destinations.

Keep an open mind about your travel dates to get the best flight deals. Depart on weekdays instead of weekends, as flights tend to be cheaper. Moreover, consider alternative airports near your destination. For example, when traveling to New York City, consider flying into EWR or LGA instead of JFK to save up to 20% on flight costs.


2. Use Flight Comparison Websites.

Utilize flight comparison websites and apps to quickly compare prices across several airlines and booking platforms. Search for last-minute flights by selecting the 'flexible dates' option on Google Flights, Skyscanner, or Kayak. You can also set up price alerts for your preferred routes to receive notifications when prices drop. These apps use advanced algorithms to compare prices from multiple airlines and booking platforms. This ensures that you get the best deal available for your preferred route.

3. Sign Up for Airline Newsletters and Alerts.

Stay in the loop by subscribing to newsletters and fare alerts from airlines and travel agencies. Airlines often announce last-minute flight deals and promotions through their newsletters, giving subscribers exclusive access to discounted fares. Set up alerts for your preferred routes, and act quickly when a good deal pops up.

4. Book with Budget Airlines.

While budget airlines may not always offer the same comfort and amenities as legacy carriers, they often provide unbeatable prices, especially for last-minute bookings. Look for special promotions and flash sales from budget airlines since these can offer significant savings on short notice.


5. Look for Errors and Glitches.

Sometimes, mistakes happen in the airline industry, resulting in drastically reduced airfare, known as error fares. Keep track of these error fares by following forums and social media groups dedicated to finding and sharing such deals. While error fares are rare and often short-lived, they can result in unbelievable savings if you snag one in time.

Read More: How to Get Compensation for Flight Delays in the US

6. Book Package Deals

Booking a package deal can save money when traveling during peak season or to popular destinations. Many travel agencies and online booking platforms offer package deals that include flights, accommodations, and additional perks such as car rentals or breakfast, making them worth considering for spontaneous trips.

7. Take Alternative Routes and Layovers.

Sometimes, taking a slightly longer or indirect route can save you money on last-minute flights. Consider taking connecting flights. They often offer cheaper prices than direct flights. Keep in mind the potential layovers and delays when weighing your options.

8. Travel Light.

Many airlines charge extra fees for checked baggage, which can significantly increase the total cost of your trip by hundreds of dollars. To save money, pack light and opt for carry-on luggage whenever possible. Not only will this help you avoid additional fees, but it will also make navigating airports and getting through security checkpoints quicker and easier.

9. Be Strategic with Your Booking Timing.

Timing is crucial when booking last-minute flights. While waiting until the very last minute may seem like the best way to score a deal, it can also backfire as prices increase rapidly within a week of the departure date. To secure the best options and the lowest prices, aim to book your flight within one to two weeks before your travel dates.

10. Don't Forget to Check for Discounts.

Before finalizing your booking, don't forget to check for any discounts you may be eligible for. This includes discounts for students, seniors, military personnel, and members of loyalty programs. Even if you don't qualify for a specific discount, it's always worth asking if any promotions or deals are available.

Read More: When Trying to Save on Travel Can Backfire

Last-minute flights may not be available during peak travel seasons or for popular destinations, and they may not be the cheapest option for every trip. If you know your travel destination and dates, booking in advance allows you to have more options and potentially find better deals.

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Travel Magazine: 10 Ways to Get Last-Minute Cheap Flights
10 Ways to Get Last-Minute Cheap Flights
Last-minute flights may not be available during peak travel seasons and may not be the cheapest option. Here are 10 ways to snag that cheap deal.
Travel Magazine
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