Saving Money On Airfare – Flexibility is The Key


If you travel by air, even just occasionally, you know that the airfare for a given flight can vary drastically. On the same flight, it’s possible that the same class seat has sold for five to six times the lowest fare paid.  That’s why we all try to book ahead of time to obtain the advance ticketing discounts that airlines virtually always offer.

But advance ticketing alone won’t get you the best fares.  You can start saving money on airfare by being a little flexible on your travel dates.  This is partly because most carriers, such as United Airlines, often use other carriers to complete parts of your travel route, and the demands (think supply and demand) on individual route segments can vary greatly.

Being Flexible Saves Money

If you’ve been relying on advance ticketing as your primary way to save your travel funds, you’re missing out on the discounts that can be had in other ways.  By far the largest savings are had by being flexible on travel dates.  You may have been ignoring that button on many travel sites that asks if you want to check fares on other dates.  Often, we get our mind set on a particular day, or even time, of departure.  And that is costing you money.

If you’re flying for business, unless there are specific stops in your overall itinerary that cannot be altered, you can easily move departure and return dates by a day or two.

If you’re flying for pleasure, think of it as an opportunity to see a few more friends or sights, or have a little more time with your loved ones.

travel disasters

Be Flexible

The more you’re able to use alternative airlines and travel dates, the more you’re going to save.  But it doesn’t end there.  Here are some more ways being flexible when you travel will keep more money in your wallet.

  • After booking, but before packing, check the air carriers rules on baggage.  Be willing to adjust your baggage. You’ll avoid being dinged by fees for checked or carry-on bags that exceed limits.
  • When traveling for pleasure, look for offers that might be initially outside of your consideration.  Even traveling with a travel buddy can sometimes lead to cheaper per-traveler costs.  Not sure where to find a travel buddy? Check out sites such as Thelma and Louise who specialize in connecting travelers with like interests.
  • Even though you may love those business class seats, opt for coach.  Then add a little sugar-sweet politeness to the flight attendants.  A few smiles in, a polite request is more likely than you might think to get you a free upgrade.  If you don’t get it, take heart – you still saved on the fare by going coach.
  • Check nearby cities.  Often, the secondary hub in a metropolitan area will have less traffic and you’ll be likely to find lower fares.

When it comes to air travel, being flexible is sure way to save.  Try it!


Linda Allen

I'm a serial entrepreneur, with a resume that makes me look like a Jane of all trades. Pretty sure we are all reluctant Messiahs, travelling through life planting seeds where ever we can. Hopefully, most of mine have been good ones! MA from Miami University (Ohio, not Florida), BA from Cal State.