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You’re probably here, with steam still coming out of your ears. You missed a great flight deal, it probably would’ve made your year perfect, and now you’re upset. You want in on the next flight deal, and guess what? You’re going to get it. Here’s everything you could possibly need to know to make sure you’ve got a shot at booking any great flight deal that pops up.

two glasses of wine on a tray by a windowStart With

Start with setting your own alerts. We love sharing flight, hotel and other deals, and so do other great sites, but there’s nothing more personal than having alerts set, specifically for flights you’d love to take. They’re free to create, easy to create and will inevitably save you money. Set alerts for every flight on your bucket list – and for multiple dates too. You can do the same for hotels!

Prioritize Feed

On Facebook or Twitter? So are we – and other great deal sites are too. Consider adding notifications whenever we, The Flight Deal, Secret Flying, Fly4Free or other great resources post a deal. The time between finding a deal and it going up on the internet is often just minutes, so you’ll definitely get a chance to book. Simply select any feed or page and click the options to set notifications – which will make posts come up first in your feed. Better than politics, right?

Book First

Book first, ask questions later. The very best deals often last between one and three hours. Certainly not multiple days! The most common feedback we hear is: “I saw the post and was going to book when I got home, but it wasn’t there”. Yeah – we feel ya. Most airlines now offer a risk free 24 hour cancellation. Try to firm up dates as much as possible, double check the airline cancellation policy and get something booked. Worst case, you can cancel and get a full refund.

a pool with palm trees and a buildingLearn Lingo

The best fare hunters often share their bounty on online forums. The problem for most people is that these forums require some translation. like “CX J MXP-CNX $1200 RT”. That means Cathay Pacific Business Class from Milan to Chiang Mai, Thailand for $1200 round trip. We have a cheat sheet for learning the lingo here. Once you’re down with the acronyms, you can enjoy the mileage run deal forum and the premium deal forum.

That Simple

It’s really that simple. But it’s all about participation. If you regularly frequent and bookmark great deal pages, get alerts when new posts pop out in places you’ll naturally be (like stalking people on Facebook), you’ll make deals a part of your life. When deals are a part of your life, you travel more, travel better and get to experience the magic of the world. Like countries where beers are $2 or less, places where five star hotels are less than $100 a night and things like that.

What’s the best flight deal you’ve ever scored?


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 Comment

  1. Dear Sir,
    Thank you for trying to instill some sense to the “I know how to get an upgrade”crowd. I recently retired after 24 years of being an International Purser for United Airlines. Occasionally before an airplane is ready to board we sit in the boarding area waiting to board. It’s easy to overhear passengers bragging about sure ways to get an upgrade. It’s particularly amusing when I know the flight is completely overbooked or over sold in every cabin. I have even been approached by customers asking about an upgrade, trying to schmooze with me or offering me a $100 bill for an upgrade. Sorry; no cigar!
    Nowadays, because of airline mileage programs, it is virtually impossible to secure an upgrade. Some know-it-all will be thinking about an upgrade not knowing there are 35 frequent fliers in economy waitlisted for upgrades. In the end, if there somehow is an open seat in business or first class, which is extremely rare (pre-COVID), I’ll check the passenger manifest which is kept out of passengers sight and see if there are any passengers in economy or business who have purchased a full, non discounted fare. I used to post a manifest on a wall in the galley for meal distribution purposes but not anymore. Passengers like to go into the galley during a crew break to see who is sitting in business or first class. Sad, but true! After our Qualified Purser Program was enacted at United, only three people could process an upgrade: a duty supervisor, a gate agent, or the purser. After the flight has completely checked-in and boarded, a supervisor might take a look at the manifest to make sure any upgrades awarded came from the waitlist of mileage award upgrades or a full fare upgrade. I’m sure you are aware of all the antics that don’t work. Period!
    Thank you for your excellent column!
    P.E. Hagstrom/IADSW

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