Last Minute Flight Booking Advice

Last Minute Flight Booking Advice

If you like to leave it late to book a flight then you’re probably already an expert in getting the best deals. If you are new to the process though, here’s a quick guide to help.

Is there even such a thing as a last minute ‘deal’?

Is this even a thing? Or is it a myth? There’s no hard evidence to suggest that leaving it late saves you any money at all with scheduled airlines. There’s basic economics at work here – as supply shortens, demand cannot be met, meaning that at the very least, a carrier won’t need to drop the prices to fill up the plane. This is because the flight slot is a regular booking for the carrier, and they rarely secure these slots without being fairly confident they can fill the plane.

On the other hand, chartered flights have purchased slots on the very basis of 100% occupancy and so towards the departure date they tend to get a bit nervous and so do sometimes drop prices to get the plane filled. They also tend to make more money during the flight on food & drinks and so even if passengers have paid less to get on the plane are still revenue generators once they are in the air.

In terms of when to book, try and avoid departures during the school holidays, and at weekends (including Friday) as these are the most popular times for people to fly. Take a look at Tuesday thru Thursday for the best deals. Typically January through to Easter are the cheapest times (avoiding Christmas) but it also depends on where you are flying – typically this only applies to other northern hemisphere destinations but the opposite can be true for the southern hemisphere.

Best Destinations

A bit more detail then on where to actually fly to, to go to get the best deals.

Last minute deals are normally to the main holiday destinations on charter airlines and secondary airports that you’ve probably heard a lot about in relation to airlines such as Ryanair. It’s worth looking into where the secondary airport is in relation to your final destination as the saving made on the flight can be wiped out through paying for a transfer. Equally though the secondary airport can be well placed and the saving can be maintained even after the transfer has been paid for.

Most of the holiday destinations in Europe such as the Greek & Spanish Islands, Turkey, the Algarve, Malta & Cyprus have good deals outside of the holidays, as well as further flung destinations such as Florida & the Caribbean.

But there’s more destinations where bargains can be found with a little bit of searching such as France, Italy, Germany and other parts of Europe and major cities such as Paris, Frankfurt & Milan.

Most long-haul destinations tend not to benefit from late booking – New York, Bangkok, Sydney & Dubai are often sold out well before the departure date. The best advice here is actually to plan well ahead as the earlier tickets, not the later tickets, are on offer.

Overall then, if it’s short-haul and relatively close, you can book late. Otherwise get in early. Also remember that there are plenty of full package holidays available that come with great offers, so consider these rather than flight only.



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Last Minute Flight Checks

When booking with little time to spare, it’s obvious that there’s more chance of something going wrong at the last minute.

Before confirming always check that all passports are valid or hold the minimum validity for the destination as this does vary.

Also check all visa entry requirements as well as health checks such as injections – it’s nearly impossible to arrange for an injection with a matter of days remaining before you travel, as well as arranging anti-malaria drugs when relevant.

You should also be aware of the baggage requirements and additional baggage costs before you get to check in as this can cause delays (and embarrassment!) This can also be cheaper when booking than at the airport so ensure that you take advantage of this option if its available to you.

Last but not least…

Once everything is booked there are still a few things that you need to ensure you’ve done before jetting away.

Travel insurance is a must and there are plenty of places to compare the cost. Overall though travel insurance is pretty cheap for city or beach breaks, often between £10-£20 for full cover.

As you’ve booked a flight only remember that you’ll need accommodation. There are many fantastic hotel booking sites with lots of deals in most destinations.

If you are driving to the airport and need somewhere to park it’s nearly always cheaper to book in advance rather than drive up.

Once you have landed you might need to arrange onward travel to your final destination. Again booking this in advance can sometimes save you money but even if the price is the same, it will save you hassle & stress that you won’t need when you land.

Finally take a look at money saving offers on credit cards with favourable rates for use abroad, as well as currency conversion offers to make the most of your holiday funds.


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