Figures suggest that in the US alone, domestic flights – when adjusted for inflation – fell from over $600 in the early 1980s to a little over $300 by 2005. For the better part of a decade, prices remained at this low point, buoyed by increased competition in the market.

This year, however, rising prices are the story of the industry, with airlines facing soaring costs due to climate-compliance laws, regulations, and an emphasis on decarbonisation. So, are cheap flights still a thing?


Funnelling the Cheapest of What’s on Offer

With so many platforms, airlines, and airport websites offering tickets, it can be very tricky to comport an organised and comprehensive search to find truly cheap tickets – and to get them before they go.

It’s simply too much for a single person to do. This is where the high-tech of smart search engines can come in very handy. Ticket prices will change daily and be set to specific dates, but through these platforms, cheap flights can be found for a whole host of destinations.

At the time of writing, the software had funnelled a $41 flight from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia, a $59 ticket from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a $19 flight from Atlanta to Baltimore, and even a Denver to Miami ticket for just $44. Of course, these flight prices have only been able to be found thanks to cutting-edge technology.

The core software gathers data from over 660 airlines around the clock. So, whenever one of those hundreds of companies decides to cut prices to entice customers to fill their seats, the platform can relay it to a larger audience.


Dig into the Numbers to Find the Best Day

Away from high-tech software that reads the prices of thousands of flights per hour, you can put in some work to figure out the more likely times that you’ll be able to lock in a cheaper flight.

If you're planning your trip a year in advance - which is always a sound move - watch how the prices move over a couple of months. You could see that, across a whole month, Tuesdays or Wednesdays present the lowest average ticket prices. You can work from there and aim to go after the usually cheaper last-minute flights on those days for additional savings.

If you’re on a gap year and the exact days of departure aren’t set in stone, this would be a sound tactic to take.


Destination Flexibility can Save a Lot of Cash

If you’re flying out to a smaller country or are planning on exploring a whole region, it can be advantageous to be flexible with your destination and plan where you’re staying after you’ve found the cheapest flight. After all, if you’re flying to Madrid to explore the city, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay in the heart of Madrid.

Most cities – especially capital cities – are very well connected to the surrounding areas and smaller cities and towns nearby. Better still, staying outside of a top tourist destination can make the whole trip cheaper and less clustered.

Of course, if you’re going on a big tour abroad, you can even get away with just flying to the cheapest nearby airport, hopping on cheap public transport to get to the start of the tour, and then enjoying the rest of the trip.

Search for alternate destinations and airports in the area, and then check if they have cheaper prices. This is especially efficient if you’re also more flexible with your dates. Still, even with firm dates in mind, it’s worth seeing your airport options within a two-hour radius of your ideal destination.


Weigh Up all of the Costs

Budget airlines are a big reason behind sinking flight ticket prices and are often the ones to turn to for the cheapest tickets. However, most budget airlines don’t give you anywhere near as much allowance for bag weights and similar additional needs for your flight as the more expensive ones.

Having to pay a sum to get an additional cargo bag there and back again can cost as much as you’d save on a pricier ticket that already includes a larger baggage allowance. So, always be sure to check the total cost of travel rather than just the ticket.

While it’s slightly more difficult than it used to be, you can still find cheap flight tickets if you harness the power of modern technology and plan strategically and with flexibility.