How to find cheap flights in 2018

Times are a changing! There are many ways in 2018 for finding cheap long haul flights and we are going to list some super tips for saving money on your next plane ride!

Remember that flights is often the most expensive part of your trip…

For all of the changes in the transatlantic flight market, many pricing factors remain the same—as do the strategies for getting the cheapest airfare possible.

Be flexible. Summertime is still peak season, yet flights generally cost less if you avoid the season’s true peak and opt instead for departures in early June or late August. For example, in one of our searches Aer Lingus was charging $1,146 for a round trip from Los Angeles to Dublin in mid-July, compared to around $800 for departures at the tail ends of the season. For that matter, flexibility in general boosts the odds of snagging cheap flights. Switching departures from the weekend to the middle of the week can save you hundreds.

Look for budget hubs. You can save hundreds of dollars by tweaking your plans to fly to airports served by the low-cost carriers. Instead of flying Aer Lingus nonstop from Los Angeles to Dublin, for instance, go with WOW Air from LAX to Cork (via Reykjavik) for as little as $680 on our searches for peak July travel dates. Or, instead of flying out of Boston, consider Providence, which is served by Norwegian Air. During searches in late March, we found nonstops from Providence into Bergen, Norway, in mid-July for only $302 round trip. With prices this cheap, you can handle the extra costs and hassles of using B-list airports, and still have money left over to hopscotch around Europe by booking a few low-fare flights within the continent. (Just remember that they too charge hefty fees for baggage—so pack light.)

Be indirect. Connecting flights have always tended to be cheaper than nonstop to Europe, and that’s largely still the case for 2017. We couldn’t find direct flights from Washington, D.C., to Rome for anything less than $1,700 throughout the summer, for instance. But routes with one stopover could readily be had for under $1,000.

Book strategically. CheapAir.com crunched months of search data to conclude that the optimal time for booking flights to Europe for the least amount possible is roughly four months before departure. (That’s too late for you if you fancy a June getaway, but perfect if you’re targeting an August escape.) Travelers probably have more leeway when flying during non-peak periods; we’ve seen plenty of deals to Europe available for under $400 round trip at the last minute this winter and spring. And if you’re hoping to get ultra-cheap airfare, pay attention to when carriers like Norwegian Air announce new routes—and insane introductory prices as low as $65 to go along with them.

It’s a good idea to check multiple flight search engines before you book a ticket. You never know which site may show you the best price and cheapest flights.

Our Favorite Flight Search Sites:

Skyscanner
Momondo
Google Flights
Kayak

Generally, my first stop is Skyscanner when searching for cheap flights. When I find a good deal, before I book it, I’ll also double check Momondo, Google Flights, Kayak, and finally the airline’s official website.

Be Flexible With Dates/Times

The best time to book a flight has been found to be 4-10 weeks in advance of your trip. The best days to depart seem to be Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday because they’re off-peak with less passengers and lower fares.

Early morning flights or red-eyes (overnight) will usually be cheaper too.

Flights with long layovers are less expensive. Another way to save money on tickets is by flying during the off-season, or shoulder seasons, when there will be less demand.

For example? Iceland in the Fall/Winter, or Mexico in the Summer.

Check Alternative Airports

If you happen to live near a few airports, remember to check the fares for each of them, as well as alternative airports or large hubs near your intended destination.

Sometimes traveling by bus to or from a different airport can save you a lot of money on flights.

In the past I’ve saved a few hundred dollars choosing a $10 bus ride to New York rather than flying directly out of Boston. It takes longer, so you’ll have to weigh the opportunity cost.

Identify the cheapest day to fly out

While many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, the reality is there is no consistent truth to exactly which days are cheapest to fly. Most of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for your specific route. Here’s how:

Step 1. Hop on the Skyscanner website or download the app

Step 2. Enter your departure & arrival cities

Step 3. Select “one-way” (even if flying round trip – you’re just determining the cheapest days to fly out first)

Mix it up

Long gone are the days when it was always cheaper to book a return flight on the same airline. Our research indicates you can frequently save by being disloyal. When we checked flights from London to Gran Canaria in August, we found savings of £76 for a family of four by going out with one airline and back with another.

But doing a comparison of all the flight options on the airlines’ own websites would take hours. But on Skyscanner.net, every search scours all the airlines and brings you the best deal, whether it’s flying out and back with the same airline or mixing it up – or even flying into and out of different airports.

Finally don’t forget holiday cover particularly if you are over the age of 80 as insurance has never been more important!

Cheap transatlantic long haul flights for 2018

Lots of New Players in 2018 so there’s way more competition.

There’s a secondary effect of declining fuel costs: The lower prices have allowed established airlines to boost transatlantic routes and encouraged low-cost upstarts to get into the game. Both Norwegian Air and Iceland-based WOW Air have jumped into the transatlantic market in recent years and expanded rapidly, with new routes from the U.S. and special introductory fares under $100 seemingly announced every few weeks. Norwegian, in particular, uses the exceptionally fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner on transatlantic routes, and passes along the cost savings to passengers in the form of cheaper airfare.

Larger carriers like Aer Lingus and Icelandair are likewise bumping up U.S. routes and advertising flight deals left and right. Even British Airways is expanding service, with new flights this year connecting London to New Orleans, Oakland, Calif., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. And Level, a low-fare corporate sibling to British Airways, launches this summer, offering flights from California to Spain for as little as $149 too.

While the biggest airfare declines are generally for destinations frequented by the low-cost competitors, prices are cheaper almost anywhere you want to go in Europe. Data from Kayak.com shows that median airfare from the U.S. to 20 major European airports is down at least 20% this spring and summer compared with 2016 fares, with much bigger declines in flight search results for cities like Barcelona (down 31%), Paris (35%), Amsterdam (36%), and Zurich (43%). The flight search app Hopper reports similar data, with average European airfare prices down 18% for the summer of 2017, following a decrease of about 14% between summer 2015 and 2016.

In addition to airlines like Norwegian, AirAsiaX and WOW Air, there are also new players entering the long-haul, low-cost market this year.

The airline LEVEL (from IAG, the company that owns British Airways and Iberia) announced new routes starting in March 2018, including Barcelona to Boston and Paris to Montreal, New York City, Guadeloup and Martinique. One-way airfare starts at $118.

Fuel costs have tumbled.

“Cheap fuel is by far the most important factor” in the sharp decline of airfare to Europe, says Seth Kaplan, managing partner of the industry newsletter Airline Weekly. Beyond the general cost of owning or leasing aircraft, the largest expense for the low-fare airlines is fuel. So the huge drop in prices over the past few years is what’s made the current golden era for low-cost Europe flights possible. “In inflation-adjusted terms, it’s about as cheap as it’s ever been,” Kaplan says.

That’s been a game-changer. During the mid-’00s, fuel prices spiked and airlines added fuel surcharges onto flight prices to pass the costs on to passengers. Until fairly recently, these surcharges averaged $450 round trip on transatlantic flights, and taxes and fees tacked on another $165 or so, according to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney. “So you’re in the low $600s even before charging for airfare,” Seaney says.

It’s official. We’re living in a time where airlines you’ve never heard of are giving the airlines we’re all loyal to a run for their money.  Travel can be expensive, for instance the cost of travel insurance for the over 85s can seriously eat into a budget!

Well, if you ask the US3, their Middle Eastern non-competitors are the problem and not the increasing number of low-cost carriers populating Atlantic airspace. Even Jet2 has leased an A330 to fly from London to New York, who’d have thought?! Frankly, I wouldn’t even be surprised anymore if we saw an announcement from FlyBe that they’ll be launching London City to Los Angeles flights on their Dash-8s soon…

Well, I guess we shouldn’t see this as much of a surprise, but Scandinavian leisure airline Primera Air will add flights from London, Birmingham, and Paris, to Newark and Boston, as of spring 2018. They will operate these flights with a fleet of brand-new Airbus A321neos, while working on more routes for the near future. They have a total of eight A321neos on order, plus two A321LRs (they’re even the launch customer for this plane type).

Per @airlineroute, their new routes include the following:

London Stansted to Newark 1x daily starting April 19, 2018
London Stansted to Boston 4x weekly starting May 18, 2018
Birmingham to Newark 1x daily starting May 18, 2018
Birmingham to Boston 4x weekly starting June 22, 2018
Paris Charles de Gaulle to Newark 1x daily starting May 18, 2018
Paris Charles de Gaulle to Boston 3x weekly starting June 21, 2018