How to Get an Airline Seat For Less Money
1. Buy Early! As soon as you know what your travel dates will be you should go to MilitaryTravel.com's Military Discount Booking Tool to see what the best fares are. Airline fares are sold for different prices depending on the number of seats remaining on a plane. The earlier you purchase your seat the more likely there are many seats the airline needs to sell.
2. Rule of Seven: Usually seat prices increase at 21 days, 14 days, and 7 days prior to the day of departure. Your goal is to buy before the computers re-price these seats for the week ahead. Don't wait until the last minute on any of these days because there might not be enough seats available. However, there is no need to buy two months in advance since your plans can change and some fares are non-refundable. You should use the Rule of Seven to your best advantage.
3. After Midnight: Some Frequent Flyers say that the best time to buy a seat online is just after midnight because that is when the cancelled seats are put back into the system by the airlines. We have our doubts, but if you are up that late you might try it (but don't violate the Rule of Seven).
4. Don't Limit Your Options: Online booking services like MilitaryTravel.com allow you to see a wide variety of airlines as well as times of departure. Limiting your fare search to only a certain airline because of its Frequent Flyer program or because you did or didn't like the last flight you took with them can cost you Big Bucks!
5. Don't Take the Last Flight Out! The last flight of the day is where the most competition for seats is going to be which can drive the price up. Air travel is not perfect and flights can be postponed, delayed due to weather, or canceled-- all of which can cause you to miss a connecting flight. It is not fun having to leave your family or vacation a few hours early, but you have to be back on time whereas the business travelers do not. Being late can cost you "Half a Months Pay for Two Months."