Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

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Nowadays, airlines know who buys flights right before departure, and they make these business travelers and non-missing flights pay dearly for it. Along with the rising airfares of late, buying airplane tickets just a few days (or even weeks) before departure can mean paying hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars. Therefore, we always encourage travelers to book flights at least 30 to 45 days in advance.

Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

But it is not always possible. Whether it’s an unexpected route change, a death in the family or something else, sometimes booking a flight at the last minute is unavoidable. Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank.

Cheap Last Minute Flights Deals, Last Minute Airfare Tickets

But when you find you need to jump on a plane at short notice, don’t wait. Booking your flight as soon as you can find your plans can save you paying even more days. Within three or four weeks of departure, airfares will likely only increase as the flight approaches. Waiting for prices to fall again is a losing game.

When time is short, it never pays to wait to book a flight. Chances are, the high price you see for a last-minute flight won’t drop. Order it ASAP.

Just like with your regular travel planning, you should always start your searches in exactly the same place: Google Flights.

Google Flights will show you a variety of options for the best airlines, itineraries and prices without price checking multiple airline ticket sources. Thanks to some new features, Google will even show you if you can cut costs by adjusting your schedule for just a day or two.

Low Cost Flights Concept Landing Page Stock Vector

Just looking for a last minute vacation? Use Google Flights Explore to find the best deals when you don’t care where you’re going: you just need to fly somewhere soon.

And you’ll see why it’s easily the best search tool out there, whether you’re looking for a last-minute flight or planning months in advance.

But be warned: you won’t find every airline on Google Flights. Select airlines, including Southwest, do not list their fares on Google Flights — or any search platform, for that matter. So it may be worth checking directly with the airlines to see if you can get a better deal on your ticket at the last minute.

Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

If you are traveling for a funeral or an imminent death in the family, the airlines can help you. They are called grief prices.

Are Flights Cheap Last Minute?

While the number of airlines that still offer letter fares has decreased, a handful of airlines will still sell them: Delta, Air Canada, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian and several others.

How much of a discount you can get is largely a mystery, but it’s worth calling an airline. Be prepared to provide a copy of a death certificate or a doctor’s note. Although this is a big hurdle in a difficult time, it can result in some significant savings when you need to get somewhere.

It’s getting harder and harder to get great value from frequent flyer miles on flights in the US. That’s because airlines like Delta, American and United have moved to dynamic pricing, which means they often take a lot more points when cash prices rise closer to departure.

Or maybe you have a big buffer of credit card points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card? Find the best deal with Google Flights, and book it with your points through the Chase travel portal. You might not get great value, but it sure is worth paying a small fortune for your last-minute fare.

Same Day Flights

Booking two one-way fares instead of a traditional round trip can give you a lot of flexibility. Perhaps you can choose different airlines, combine the redemption of points with a cash price, or mix up which airport you fly to and depart from. All to save a few dozen (or a few hundred) dollars!

On a trip from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Philadelphia a few years ago, I could pay cash to fly there for only $44 on American. Miraculously, the award was available only six days before departure. Then I booked a separate one-way trip back on Delta using SkyMiles. This strategy saved me close to $500 round trip on what was otherwise a very expensive travel time!

Going to New York City? Be sure to check out Newark (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA) and JFK as well. Weekend in Miami (MIA)? It is worth considering flying to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). When traveling to or from our nation’s capital, you have three options: Washington, DC-Reagan (DCA), Washington, DC-Dulles (IAD) and Baltimore (BWI). In Chicago, you can choose between Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Chicago-Midway (MDW).

Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

Using Google Flights, you can often simply enter the city’s name and it will give you the option to select all the airports in the area.

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Google Flights lets you search for up to seven departure and destination airports at once, pulling up the lowest possible price from your options.

Here’s a good example: Searching for a last-minute round-trip fare from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to New York City (JFK) in a few weeks, you’ll have to pay a whopping $553…or even more. But expanding your search to include Newark (EWR)—probably a better-positioned airport if you’re headed to Manhattan—can bring the price down to $360.

Sometimes even mixing and matching local airports on the same itinerary can help reduce your costs. And if you’re really having trouble finding an affordable option, it’s worth considering flying to an airport a few hours from your destination and renting a car. Whatever it takes!

Last minute travel can be inconvenient, but sometimes necessary. Being creative and finding alternatives to your typical flight booking routine can be the key to savings when finding a good deal feels difficult.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The answers below are not given or commissioned by the bank advertiser. These responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise approved by the Bank Advertiser. It is not the responsibility of the bank advertiser to ensure that all messages and/or questions are answered. The best way to fly cheap is to buy in advance. Especially in an era of non-refundable tickets and optimized passenger loads, airlines charge a premium for last-minute flights.

Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

Specifically, if you have the opportunity, it’s generally best to buy your tickets three or four months in advance. Earlier than that and the airlines charge a premium for advance planning. (If you buy eight months in advance, the airlines know you absolutely need the ticket, and they charge accordingly.) Any later, and they charge last-minute fares.

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But you don’t always have that option. Maybe you’re taking some unexpected time off, maybe you have to respond to a family emergency. Whatever the reason, finding a flight at the last minute can be expensive. Here are some tips to make it a little easier.

Don’t wait a minute longer. If you know you’re going to fly, the time to buy a ticket is now.

As I wrote a few years ago, one of the most enduring myths in travel is the idea that an airline will move tickets to fire sale prices right before a flight. Consumers expect seats on an airplane to function like any other product that expires. When the plane takes off, the value of each unsold seat drops to $0.00, so it makes sense for an airline to try to recoup some value.

While this may once have been true, most planes today take off at capacity. The few remaining seats are not a liability… they are valuable commodities for travelers who have absolutely no other choice. The moral of the story? Don’t wait. Order your ticket now.

Best Tips You Need To Score Cheap Last Minute Flights

We assume that you cannot significantly change your travel date. If you could, you wouldn’t need a last minute ticket.

Increasingly, sites like Kayak and Google Flights offer you the ability to search by destination. You can enter your departure city and travel dates and the website will populate a list of major destinations around the world along with how much it will cost you to fly there.

If you travel for pleasure, this can be an excellent tool for planning a quick vacation. It might cost an arm and a leg to take a long weekend to Paris, but what if flights to San Juan happen to be cheap right now? You can save a bundle by slightly changing your plans.

Where To Find Cheap Last Minute Flights

That said, if you need to get a cheap ticket at the last minute, you will almost certainly need some flexibility in terms of what day of the week you travel. Especially, try to travel on one

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