a passport and boarding pass

Airline tickets are simultaneously the most exciting and nerve racking purchase. On one hand: exciting trip, new adventures and a view from the sky. On the other hand: did I overpay, is this a mistake and what if I don’t want to go anymore? Brutal. To quell your fears, there are ten things you should know before booking your next airline ticket…

24 Hour Risk Free Cancellation

All airline tickets that touch the United States offer a 24 hour hold or cancellation policy. Almost all tend to be on the cancellation side. Even non U.S. reservations are continually allowing a 24 hour cancellation policy. Why? It’s good for customer trust. Many European, Asian, Middle East and Pacific carriers now offer 24 hours from the time to purchase your ticket, to cancel for a full refund. Not bad right?

Booking Two One Ways Can Be Cheaper

Airline pricing is far too complicated to explain in anything shorter than a PhD candidate’s thesis. But know this: booking two one way tickets can be a lot cheaper than booking a round trip. Not only that, it gives you more flexibility if your plans for the return change. And if you want to take things a step further, booking tickets individually, rather than in a group can also save quite a bit of money. The more you know, right?

Price Guarantees Are Easier Than You Think

If you’re worried about price, fear not: quite a few airlines offer price guarantees. In fact, most airlines guarantee their price will be lower than online travel agencies. Price guarantees are offered on Alaska, Southwest, JetBlue as well as select EasyJet tickets. Each airline has different policies, but in general: if the price goes down after you book, they’ll give you future credit or a refund of the difference in price. Pretty amazing.

You Can Get Cash Back For Every Flight, On Top Of Points

When you spend money, any money back in return feels like a tremendous win. Thanks to sites like eBates and TopCashBack, anyone can get cash back on any airline ticket purchases. This is in addition to earning credit card points and airline miles, making this a cherry on top of the cherry on top. Simply start at one of the cash back sites, and click their link to book with the online travel agency or airline. The prices will be the same, you just get money for clicking over!

It’s Generally Better To Book Direct

When travel plans change, a phone call is generally inevitable. When you book direct with an airline- you know who to call. When you book with an online travel agency, like: Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and so forth, you’re occasionally left in between a wrestling match. The agency says call the airline, the airline says call the agency and time is wasted. To make things simple, if you’re not booking a flight and hotel package to save money, try and book direct. No hassle, no problem.

There’s No Magic Day To Book, Truly

If life gets busy and you miss that Tuesday that happens to be 60 days away from your departure, fear not. For (hopefully) the last time- we can officially say that there is no magical day to book tickets and therefore you shouldn’t stress too early into the game. The key is knowing a good price when you see it (by looking at historical prices) or following a route closely for a while. Knowing a good price when you see it, you’ll know when to book.

Price Trackers

And to stay on top of good prices, you can set free price trackers, for just about any flight in the whole entire world. That’s right. Kayak, Hopper and Google Flights each allow you to set free alerts. You put in your ideal date range, and they’ll send you an email with every drop or price increase. You’ll be first in line when great deals become available! Magic.

Basic Economy Is Almost Everywhere Now

Knowledge is power, and knowing what you’re getting into is the key to flying with ease. All around the world, many airlines have rolled out “basic” economy fares, though they may have similar (deceptively cheerful) names. These fares often do not include a seat assignment, a checked bag or even online check in. All these things can cause a lot of hassle, so before you book, be sure to compare with standard economy fares which get you the things you’d usually expect to have on a flight.

A Single Day Can Make So Much Difference

Just like the wonderful song, a single day can truly make a difference. Think schools getting out, Christmas vacation and all that sort of stuff. Leaving a single day before the rush (and booking in advance) can make all the difference in price. Obviously this all comes down to flexibility- but my goodness you can save a lot of money. Save up those vacation days and leave early, come back later or both. You won’t regret it.

Airline Sale Emails Are Almost Always Bogus

When an airline says sale, people simply can’t resist. But that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting a good deal. The very best prices are rarely publicly announced, and are only found if you’re using price trackers, or following great deal sites, like ours. Hint, hint. It never hurts to glance when those sales hit your inbox, but don’t just jump on a ticket because the subject line says sale. Trust us on this one.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I presume you meant that you could get credit if a price of the ticket goes down (not up) after you purchase it?
    I’d be happy to get some credit/voucher as a reward for getting the lower price and doing it just before price hike 🙂

  2. 1] This article was about TEN (not THEN as stated in the title – or FIVE – as stated at the beginning of the article) things.

    2] “if the price goes up after you book, they’ll give you future credit or a refund of the difference in price.” If the price goes UP?

  3. did I overpay, is this a mistake and what if I don’t want to go anymore?
    This is exactly what is going through my head. I have dragged my husband and daughter (who have never flown outside of Australia before) into this trip for my niece’s wedding in Edinbrough and my husband’s ancestry is from Scotland. Booked online through Click Frenzy Travel. Flights and accommodation. I have insurance for the whole or deal. And would like the best advice in cancelling this whole nightmare and I haven’t even stepped onto the plane yet. Date for departure is 19/9/17 can you/anyone help. Plus I puff up like a puffer fish in and 1hr and 40 min flight so what will happen to me on a 23hr flight?
    Kind Regards
    Katrina Kay

  4. Booking a one way ticket long haul from Japan is almost always more expensive than booking a return. I still to this day don’t get the logic behind that. The only exception seems to be Aeroflot, but then you have to deal with the sh*tshower that is SVO, and I’d rather sit on the tarmac in Baghdad again than do that.

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