tips-and-inspiration tips Last minute flights: the guide to finding the cheapest deal

All articles

Last minute flights: the guide to finding the cheapest deal

Ever since the low-cost airlines' revolution, we’ve been reprogrammed to think that we must book flights months in advance to get the best prices. But if you know when, how, where and when to look - you can pack up your luggage and head to the airport at the last minute for a bargain price. Search for last minute flights now

Here are some tips to help you find last minute flights like and expert:

1. Forget the old methods of finding last minute flights

Until recently, it was very common to go to the airport, arrive at the counters and ask for a standby ticket. However, today with the Open Sky policy so many people are traveling by air; most flights are sold out before their scheduled departure. While some people are still using this method at Ben Gurion Airport, most chances you will go back home with nothing unless you missed your own flight and you need to rebook it; you have a flexible ticket which allows you to board an earlier flight, or you have connections to an airline’s employee. Even then your seat is not guaranteed.

2. Open your eyes and ears

There are many other travelers who are looking for bargain last minute flights. You can get an advantage simply by paying attention and keep your eyes and ears open.

Sign up for airlines’ newsletters. Sometimes there are amazing last minute flights sales for bargain prices, especially for charter flights which are hard to find otherwise. The reason for that is that on these flights the airlines often have extra seats available.

Start your search for last minute flights on Skyscanner, but also check websites specialized in finding last minute deals.

Many of us spend so much time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use that time to follow airlines on social media. When airlines have available seats they must sale – they will post or tweet it, and you can find deeply discounted last minute flights.

Holidays are usually very expensive time to travel, even when you book in advance, but sometimes people must cancel their plans. In these cases, companies which sell holiday packages are selling last minute vacations for a massive discount.

3. Sign up for Skyscanner’s Price Alerts

It happens to most of us: you plan a trip to a European destination such as Paris or Rome, find the best flight, everything looks good, but for some reason, you cannot commit to purchase the ticket just yet. This is where Price Alerts take place: instead of searching, again and again, every single day, just sign up, and we will send you an email telling you whether the price has risen, dropped, or if there is no change.

Signing up is very simple. All you have to do is search for a flight on Skyscanner, click the “Get Price Alerts” button and then enter your email address. You will receive an email from us stating If the price of your flight goes up or down, and what is the difference. The service is completely free, and you can change the alerts or unsubscribe whenever you want. To use Price Alerts you need to choose specific dates and airports, but you can register for several alerts for maximum opportunities to find the cheapest last minute flights.

price alert from Israel to Prague May 2017

4. Be flexible

It’s a known fact that if you want the cheapest ticket, you must be flexible and ready for early morning or late night flights. But when you are searching for last minute flights, you need to be as flexible as an Olympian athlete.

When you search for the cheapest last minute flights for your desired destination, click on “Depart” and then on “Whole month”. Choose the current month and then “search flights”. You will then see a calendar with the lowest prices available for each day of the month. You can switch to Chart display if you like. This way you can play with the dates and find the best offers. Sometimes flying one day later than you planned can be significantly cheaper, even after calculating the extra night at the hotel.

For maximum flexibility and find even cheaper flights, don’t specify a destination. On the “To” field choose “Everywhere”. You will then get a list of all the destinations from your airport, starting with the cheapest destination. It can open your mind to places you’ve never been before, or cities you always thought are too expensive to fly to.

Flight search of Israel to everywhere in September 2017

Calendar view of flight prices from Tel Aviv to Paphos

5. Post it!

A week before Rosh Hashana or Passover, or during July-August you decided that you must fly to London, or New York, or any other place you could think of. You checked the prices, and they are as high as the planes in the sky. Don’t give up, post about it. Post it on your personal profile, post it on pages for travelers, Israelis abroad, etc. Sometimes someone who bought cheap tickets months before can’t use the tickets, which in many cases cannot be canceled, but the name can be changed. Since no one wants to lose 100% of their money, some people are reselling their ticket for the original price, many of them are even willing to pay the name changing fee, and you will get last minute flights for the price of as if you booked it in advance.

6. Watch the fees

If you go for a short vacation, try to pack up all your stuff in your carry-on luggage. Check the airline’s carry-on policy, as some allow only 7 kg, and others, like easyJet, have only size limit but no weight restrictions. Note that with some low-cost airlines, such as Wizz Air and Ryanair, sometimes it’s cheaper to book an entirely new flight rather than changing the date even if it’s only one day, or the name even if it’s only one letter.

7. Get amazing last minute flights deals with our app 👇

Skyscanner Mobile App

You don’t need to sit in front of your computer when you are searching for last minute flights. You can find the best price for your spontaneous trip on Skyscanner’s app. Find the best time to travel with the color coded calendar, so your trip would be the cheapest possible. The hotel and car rental searches are paired with flights, so you don’t have to enter the same information twice.

8. Sign up to our deals newsletter

Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter. Once a week you will receive deals and offers for bargain prices. Know before anyone else when you can find the cheapest flight deals and get exclusive offers from our friends at travel agents and airlines.

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotelsand car hire.