Thanks to Ryan Air, the pioneer for low cost flights, the world of tourism has changed profoundly within the last 20 years, and so it is now possible to travel around Europe with a plane ticket costing less than £10 (of course, this is not including hidden costs).
We could talk be talking about the business model and how they managed it, but what we want to do now is to give you various tips about finding cheap flights among the various low cost European companies. This does not work for every type of company, only those with low cost flights.
Always buy your tickets from the company’s own website
If you were to fly with Ryan Air, do not buy your ticket from Rumbo, Atrapalo or Tripadvisor. Many websites normally deduct €5 so their price appears cheaper, but when you go to pay for your ticket by card they will add on a €12 administration charge.
- Search for flights on sites such as Rumbo, Skyscanner or Whichairline
- Find out which airline company the flight is with (many search engines hide the name, only putting the flight number; however, this information is enough to search for the airline company on Google)
- Go to the airline’s website and buy a ticket there. So, if the flight is with Ryan Air, go to their website. If the flight is with Wizz Air, go to theirs.
Buy your ticket in advance
The myth that waiting a long time before buying your ticket makes it more expensive is false. Every company has a different method of calculating the ticket price which depends on various factors, but they tend to all lower the price if they see the departure date is nearing and the plane is half empty – this is an airline’s worst fear!
So, if there are 20 days before departure and the plane remains half empty they will lower the price until they see that people are going to their website and buying tickets.
I have read many articles saying it is best to buy tickets 5 weeks before, and others saying it depends on the company… I don’t think these studies are accurate at they always deal with averages.
Each flight is a world apart so their prices will differ depending on demand.
Don’t travel at the weekend
Use common sense. Nowadays millions of workers fly on a Friday visit their family and return on Monday, avoiding missing any days off work.
So, if you are fortunate enough to have a flexible job and can choose any day, try to travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday…you will see the prices are much lower!
If you are looking to save money, do not pay extra to take a suitcase…it’s a typical trap to fall into! Learn to travel lightly and pack well.
Look for connecting flights
This is quite a complicated topic, so I will try to simplify it a little.
The main problem is that most people use the same flight reservation site (the most well-known being Amadeus) which does not give all possible flight combinations…they usually show connecting flights from the same company or the sister company.
For me, the best website for low cost connecting flights is Whichairline. It offers a variety of possibilities and gives an indication of the cost and stopover times.
Here is an example: if you need to go to Budapest from Madrid there are several direct flights with different companies, but this can be quite costly.
So perhaps ask yourself, would I prefer to save £50 and make a stopover? If so, look for flights from Madrid to London and then from London to Budapest. It does not necessarily have to be London, it could be Frankfurt, Sofia, Milan or Rome. Normally looking for stopovers at the main low cost airports will result in lower prices.
Whichairline is great and offers many different stopovers, although I know it isn’t perfect and not every connection is possible.
In this way, I could travel to Iceland for half the price of traditional search engines just by making a stopover in London.
Translated by Tayler Gilbert