8 Clever Ways to Combat Rising Airline Ticket Prices

NEWS & TRENDING - TRAVEL NEWS
Your next plane trip doesn’t have to break the bank.
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
Airline tickets and documents on wooden background

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Hopping online to purchase airline tickets can cause quite a shock due to their high prices. 

Thanks to the cost of gas, staffing issues, and pilot shortages, it’s not cheap to travel by plane. That’s why we’re here to help you get the best deals on airline tickets so you can start traveling more

Here are the best tips to help you find the most affordable airplane tickets for the times you just need to get away.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Use a travel or airline credit card

nenetus/Adobe woman shopping online with credit card and laptop

One easy way to save on airline tickets is to purchase them with the best travel credit cards, which give you points for each dollar you spend. 

The best airline credit cards offer similar rewards programs, allowing you to acquire miles that you can save up and redeem for discounted or even free flights.

Some credit cards will also offer free companion tickets. Just be sure that you don’t carry a balance on either type of credit card, as interest rates and annual fees can negate any benefits you rack up if you let debt build up without paying it off in a timely manner.

Plan your trip far in advance

kwanchaichaiudom/Adobe Young couple planning vacation trip with map

You may have heard that there are magical times when you can book a flight to snag the best possible price on airline tickets.

However, that might not always be the case, especially considering the fluctuating price of oil and general market uncertainty.

To that end, it’s best to book your flight as soon as you know you will be taking one. Travel experts suggest booking your summer trip in winter, and vice versa. Think of it like buying a bathing suit when it’s chilly or a parka when it’s beach weather.

Book on certain days and fly at unpopular times

sirirak/Adobe Empty departure gate at the airport in Thailand

You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who delights at getting up at 3 a.m. for an early flight or boarding at 11 p.m. for a red-eye flight. However, the discomfort and exhaustion of traveling at the crack of dawn or the dead of night might translate into some serious savings for you.

Also, purchasing your airline tickets on certain days of the week, like Thursdays, and planning to depart on a Wednesday can chip away at the cost as well.

Although the savings may not be huge, any savings helps. So yes, the days and times you both book and fly can spare your wallet.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Add a connecting flight

mario beauregard/Adobe Travel

Let’s face it, booking a direct flight is certainly the easiest and most hassle-free way to go about air travel. Your bag travels with you in one plane, you don’t have to run through the airport to catch a connection and delays will stress you out far less this way.

However, you’re likely to pay more for a direct route. If you want to save some cash, then book a connecting flight.

You do run the risk of arriving at your connecting flight a sweaty mess and will have to add extra time to your overall travel schedule, but you’re going to the same place in the end.

Book with a budget airline

scofieldza/Adobe Travel cost calculation concept

We’ve all heard the horror stories of flying on a budget airline, but take those with a grain of salt. The reason? These airlines have grown significantly in recent years, and have quadrupled in size since the last time oil prices were soaring into oblivion.

Additionally, more people are turning to budget airlines to book their flights, from a mere 4% of travelers in 2008 to 15%, and growing today.

You do have to be mindful of hidden fees on budget airlines, including for carry-ons and such, but in the end, you can wind up with serious savings.

Sign up for sites like Travelzoo

Jag_cz/Adobe Travel concept with airplane shadow and beach

If you have flexibility about when and where you want to travel, you can find some of the best airline tickets and travel packages around on sites like Travelzoo.

This company has an entire staff of experts who spend their time scouring the web to find the best deals on a wide variety of trips, from quick beach getaways in Mexico to bucket list trips like African safaris, eco getaways to the Galapagos Islands, and more.

All you need to do to access these deals is sign up with your email address, and each week you will get a list of their top 20 picks, with cheap airfare included in many of them.

Book with a site like Expedia

Gary L Hider/Adobe Expedia Holidays app open on screen

Another way you can save money on plane tickets is by booking your flight on sites like Expedia. For one, you can often (but not always) find cheaper flights on Expedia as opposed to booking them directly with a carrier.

Additionally, if you’re willing to bundle your flight, hotel, and car rental, you’ll often find that doing so comes out cheaper than the sum of its parts.

Expedia also offers last-minute deals similar to Travelzoo if you’re up for a spontaneous adventure. Just be sure to compare shops and read the cancellation policies very carefully. Finally, Expedia also offers reward programs, but airline and credit card reward programs tend to be more lucrative.

Use a travel agency

sebra/Adobe Travel planning concept on table

This last bit of advice might sound like a relic from a time gone by, but booking with a travel agency can still save you money, even in the era of oodles of travel websites.

For one reason, they have expertise that can be exceptionally valuable, especially if you are planning a complicated trip to a place you’ve never been, like South Asia or the Middle East.

Additionally, you often don’t have to pay extra to utilize an agent, as their compensation comes from the hotels and services they work with. Just inquire about fees up front, and prepare to save.

Bottom line

Nieuwland/Adobe Passenger plane is landing during a wonderful sunrise

While flying in general is more expensive lately, especially if you have to book at the last minute, it’s not impossible to score some savings. This is especially true if you do a little recognizance beforehand.

If possible, consider saving money on travel by taking the train if you can reach your destination, as those fares can be far cheaper. You can see more of the country, too. 

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
4.1
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

$0

+

Why we like it

Author Details

Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt