How to book cheap flights

1. Use Search Engines for Flights

Use search engines such as JetRadar, Skyscanner or Momondo to compare prices from different travel agencies.

The price of a flight ticket fluctuates a lot and depends on your travel period, departure airport and arrival airport. The best way to look for the most competitive price is by using Google Flights Search Engine. To work more quickly with this search engine, I recommend you to get to know some Airport codes. Those three-letter codes are unique to each airport in the world and are very useful to quickly enter in Google Flights.

  • Look for alternative airports to start your journey. Aiports of interest for Belgians: AMS, CDG, DUS, BRU  and the airports with mainly low cost carriers CRL, EIN, MST, OST, CGN … .
  • Look for alternative arrival airports. If you want to go to Thailand for example, you can look up airports such as BKK, HKT, KBV, CNX.
  • Always check if booking two single trips ends up being cheaper than a return ticket.  “Multi-City tool” on Google Search is another way to find cheaper fares if you are open to fly from different airports. This is a great way when you plan a road trip and want to depart from another location back to home. This way of ticketing is called open-jaw. I will guide you through an example. Let’s say you want to go on a West Coast road trip from Belgium and want to look for the cheapest possible ticket. I am open to travel from one of the following international airports near Belgium: CDG (Paris), DUS (Dusseldorf), AMS (Amsterdam), BRU (Brussels). Some of the destination airports of interest are LAX (Los Angeles), SFO (San Francisco), LAS (Las Vegas) or SAN (San Diego). As this is a long haul destination, you will probably have to transit through another airport. You can limit the stopover time by adding a stopover time limit in Google Search.

Results for our example… Cheapest ticket to West Coast:

You have to take into account that there may be additional costs to get to or from an alternative airport when booking an open-jaw ticket.



2. Check out promotion websites and forums for good deals

There are some websites that list several promotions.

My personal favourite is Premium Deals on Flyertalk. Here you’ll find business class flight deals from over the whole world. However, you’ll need to check this forum on a regular basis as deals tend to expire quickly and the chance to find a deal that departs from your nearest airport are very low.

I once found a LOT Polish Airlines ticket from Copenhagen to Warsaw to Singapore (return flight) for around €500 which I ended up posting on Flyertalk after booking it myself. This would be a reasonable price in economy class but is an absolute deal in business class. By taking this flight I even re-qualified for my Star alliance gold status and earned a lot of miles, which I used to book other flights in business class.

Flyertalk has a subforum for great economy flight deals.


3. Earn air miles and redeem them for business class flights

Air miles through flying

You can earn air miles through various of ways. The most obvious way is through flying. By staying loyal to a certain alliance or airline, you’ll be able to earn miles. I have an extensive post about frequent flyer programs with a few relevant examples for Belgians. Once you’ve accumulated enough, you’ll be able to redeem the miles for a free flight. Take into account that you’ll still have to pay airport taxes and fees. Those taxes and fees depend on which airline and which airport you’ll be flying to/from. As taxes can be quiet high, especially on Miles & More member flights, you’ll get the best value out of your miles through flying business class. Booking economy tickets can be interesting too with airlines such as ANA, Ethiopian Airlines, LOT Polish airlines or Turkish airlines as they don’t charge that much taxes.

Just to give you an example, this is how much miles and taxes you’ll pay for a flight with Lufthansa vs ANA for a one-way ticket with the Aegean Airlines frequent flyer program:

Air miles through credit cards

I have created a detailed post about all the ways you can earn miles through credit cards in Belgium. American Express even has a promotion which gives you 5.000 bonus award miles just for signing up. Using the American Express credit card for all your daily expenses will get the best out of your credit card. It will just need some financial planning, as you will get billed all your expenses after a month, just like any credit card. The Miles & More miles that are earned through your credit card will get the most value by booking business class tickets during the Miles & More promo awards named Meilenschnäppchen.

Here’s an example of a ticket you can get through Meilenschnappchen from Belgium (excl. fees and taxes):