10 Secrets for Finding the Cheapest Domestic Flights

Woman with push-trolley luggage reading her mobile phone inside an airport

 

South Africa has it all: mountains, bushveld, oceans, forests, deserts, cityscapes, waterfalls, rivers, stargazing, and winelands. You can find nearly every kind of holiday imaginable right here.

 

For local holidaymakers, flying is the most efficient way to get around, but it can be costly. If you’re keen to see more of SA without paying sky-high prices, here are ten secrets for finding the cheapest domestic flights around.

 

1. Season Savings

 

The most popular travel times are during school holidays – around the Easter weekend, the midyear break, and the festive season. Therefore, the cheapest times to fly are outside of these peak seasons, with February and August typically offering the best savings. This doesn’t mean you should avoid vacationing at these times, though, because there certainly are ways to get around it.

 

2. Book Well in Advance

 

Airlines sell their cheapest tickets first. However, they also use dynamic pricing, a program that adjusts prices based on current and predicted sales. Prices may drop if they’re not selling fast enough or increase if they’re selling faster than expected. Because you can’t predict which might happen, book as far in advance as possible, with three to six months beforehand offering the highest savings of around 14%.

 

3. Pick Your Days of Departure

 

To avoid taking more leave than necessary, many people fly on weekends, but airlines know this and exploit it. The cheapest three days to fly locally are Wednesday, Monday, and Tuesday.

 

4. The Time is Right

 

Mid-morning and late evening are generally the cheapest times to fly because they’re inconvenient for business travellers. However, they are great for holidaymakers because, while it saves you money you also avoid rush hour traffic driving to and from the airport.

 

5. Avoid Major Events

 

South Africa is a busy country! We flock to certain annual events in droves. In the meantime, costs of airfares soar just prior to popular events such as the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Unless you mean to attend the event itself, make a note of the dates they occur and fly another day.

 

6. Care to Compare

 

Due to dynamic pricing and competitive airline industry, the price difference between carriers may vary from day to day and even hour to hour. Your best shot at getting the best price is to compare flights online multiple times per day.

 

7. Fight Fuel Hikes

 

Fuel accounts for a big portion of an airline’s costs, so if the fuel price goes up, their prices might too. If a massive increase or decrease in fuel is coming up, plan your bookings accordingly.

 

8. Flexible Equals Frugal

 

Airlines often have flight specials, but they tend to be prescriptive about the dates you can fly. If you’re flexible about when you can travel, just wait for the next special and book.

 

9. Incognito Mode

 

Airline and booking websites use browser ‘cookies’ to view your online activities on their, or similar sites for marketing and analysing purposes. These track your website usage and pick up that you’re interested in certain flights then adjust prices according to demand. If they increase their prices you’ll be left with little choice and end up paying more. Try and avoid this and rather browse in incognito mode.

 

10. Never Hesitate

 

If you find a price you’re comfortable paying, book it. If it’s right for you, don’t wait for specials and hope the price goes down; there’s always a risk that it will go up instead.

 

Even without discounts and deals, travelling within South Africa is affordable compared to international travel. So what are you waiting for? Find an affordable flight to your next South African destination with hippo.co.za today!

 

Sources: Travelstart; Business Tech; Kulula

 

Prices quoted are correct at the time of publishing this article. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.


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