10 Tips to Find Cheap US Domestic Flight Tickets

Looking for ways to find cheap flight tickets to fly within USA? Here are some tips to find cheap flight tickets that I learned from my experience over the years.

I have spent several hours, searching to book cheap flight tickets, best travel route and airlines.  I remember spending at least 10 hours searching for flight to New York for Thanks Giving Weekend and ended up finding a deal that was $50 less than previous 10 hours of search.

sample boarding pass

American Airlines Sample Boarding Pass

10 Tips to find cheap flight tickets

Here are a few tips that can help you find cheap flights tickets that I use when booking flight tickets within USA

  1. Flexible Travel Dates
  2. Low-Cost Carriers
  3. Try Alternative Routes
  4. Know Your Flight Budget
  5. Clear Browser Cookies
  6. When to Book Flight tickets
  7. Book  at 3 PM Tuesdays
  8. Cheapest Travel Dates
  9. Buy for one Passenger First and Save
  10. Baggage Fees

Travel Dates

Be flexible with your travel dates.

If you are planning to getaway just for a weekend, then try to book red-eye flights (over night flights).

You could try Saturday early morning flights instead of Friday evening flights.

Low-Cost Carriers

Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz are not  the only travel booking websites.

For instance, South West tickets can be searched only in their websites. You cannot see South West Airlines fares in any other flight ticket comparison websites.

Flying to smaller airports located near your final destination can  get you cheap flight tickets.

Find the airlines that server a specific airport by visiting the airport websites.  Look for list of airlines that server both from and destination airports. Then visit individual airline websites to check the fares.

Try Alternative Routes

If you are within driving distance, then look at flight tickets to nearby major and minor airports.

Try to adjust your travel plans based on flight ticket prices. If you are planning to by 2 One-way tickets, then check cost of flight ticket  for both cities.

You might have planned to go to City X then Fly back from City Y.  If tickets are cheap to City Y on your planned date of travel, then see if your travel plan can be changed.

Know Your Flight Budget

I have seen several trips got postponed or cancelled after deciding due to affordable air tickets. Know how much you can afford to pay for your flight. Check for flights, before planning for the trip.

I started doing Travel Hacking to get free flights, hotels and cruise by collecting travel points via credit card.

Clear Browser Cookies

I was trying to book a cheap flight ticket to New York (JFK). I was looking for over a week to get the cheapest air fare after deciding on the flight and days of travel.

Finally, air fare price was $50 less than previous days fares.

I was using Firefox when I started searching for the flight tickets to New York.  I happened to search using Chrome browser, which wasn’t used previously to search the flight tickets.

While browsing using the Chrome, I saw the lowest air fare to New York on same flight.

To verify the ticket price, I went to back to Firefox (where  frequent flyer data was saved). Guess what? Ticket price was $50 higher for same flight.

Same ticket, same flight in was $50 higher in Firefox (I had logged in to my account).

That’s when I realized, airlines were using cookies to track the earlier fares and searches.

I cleared the Firefox cookies and cache, searched for the same travel dates. I got the same low fare, I was seeing in Chrome.

Always clear your cache and cookies when searching for flight tickets and use different browsers.

Now, you can use incognito window instead of clearing your cache and cookies.

When to Book Flight tickets

Don’t buy airline tickets earlier than 3 ½ months before departure.

Looks like airlines will manage the fare actively from 8 weeks of travel date. So, your best deal will be offered 8 weeks before the travel date.

Airfare prices can rise every day within 14 days of departure. They tend to be higher in the weekends.

Book at 3 PM on Tuesday’s

Airlines offer sale prices around 3 PM on Tuesday.

When one airline published the lowest fare for a route, then other airlines will start matching the lowest fare.

Shop for domestic airfare Tuesdays at 3 PM eastern time.

Search around the expert travel sites. Pretty much all the experts agree that airlines publish the best rates at 3 PM on Tuesdays.

Same flight ticket will cost $199 on Tuesday 3 PM and could go up much higher on the Sunday of the same week.

Cheapest Travel Dates

The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Also, flying on major holidays can be cheap. But, if you miss the flight, you might be stuck for few days.

If you are planning to fly around Christmas, check for flights on Christmas Day (Travel dates might not work for all, but it’s worth a try).

Buy for one Passenger First

I figured this trick when we went to St.Louis last Summer. I was looking for 2 round trip tickets to St.Louis.

My wife was searching with her Mac Book and I was using my PC.

I selected two Adults for my search criteria. She was searching for one Adult ticket to find the lowest ticket.

This is what we found

  • 1 Passenger – Round Trip Fare $250 (with taxes and fees)
  • 2 Passengers – Round Trip Fare $600 (with taxes and fees)

It should be $500 for 2 passengers for the round trip, but we weren’t sure why $100 was added when searching with 2 passengers.

Apparently, just one ticket was available for $250 fare.

Using the same math, price for 2 tickets should be $550 ($250 + $300). But, we saw the fare for $600. So, they website was quoting the higher fare for both the passengers.

If, someone else was booking a single ticket, that person would have got $250 fare.

Guess what we did?

We booked two separate tickets and saved $50.

Baggage Fees

Check baggage fees. These can significantly increase ticket prices

Round trip baggage fees can add $120 to your fare, if you check in the bags.

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