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Avoid Expensive Airfare: 3 Simple Tricks for Cheaper Plane Tickets

If you're planning a spring or summer vacation, try these air travel hacks to find cheaper fares.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Katie Teague
3 min read
a passenger airliner landing at an airport

Air travel demand could keep ticket prices high for a long time.

James Martin/CNET

Demand for air travel is back in a big way, and airlines are struggling to keep up, leading to soaring airfare prices. Some experts are predicting that the lack of airline capacity will keep prices high for years.

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Some airlines recently committed to "fee-free family seating," but that will only save money for parents on seating fees, and it doesn't help out fliers without kids.

Don't stress -- it's still possible to find good deals on flights. And while booking early is ideal, it's not always necessary.

Whether it's spring break, summer vacation or beyond, here's what you should know about getting cheap plane tickets. From the cheapest day to fly to our pick for the best travel credit cards, we'll give you the tools you need for finding affordable flights.

Read more: After 500 Flights, This Travel Expert Shares His Best Saving Secrets

Book your flights for the middle of the week

If you've been scheduling your flights to take off and land on the weekend, you're doing it all wrong. According to a recent Google study, flying during the middle of the week will get you the best deal. On those days, tickets are roughly 12% to 20% cheaper than flying on a weekend day.

For economy tickets, prices on Tuesday and Wednesday are generally 24% lower than peak prices, saving you roughly $85 per ticket, CNET's Sophia Fox-Sowell reports.

The most expensive day to fly? Sunday. Avoid scheduling flights for this day if you want to save money.

Book one-way flights instead of round trips

Booking one-way flights may not be as convenient as round-trip tickets, but it gives you more options to choose from. You can book through different airlines for the best prices on the days you plan on flying. For instance, Delta may be cheaper flying to your destination, but American may be cheaper coming back.

"There have been many cases where booking two one-way flights with two different airlines is less expensive than booking a round trip with a single airline," according to The Points Guy, a sister site of CNET.

Also, you can use frequent flyer miles and travel rewards points from credit cards to save even more money.

Choose a budget airline

If you're looking to save a little bit more money when flying, consider booking through a budget airline. They're generally cheaper than larger airlines like United and Delta and can save you several hundred dollars.

However, you'll likely have to pay additional fees for carry-on bags and other amenities that are generally free through other airlines. You'll also be assigned a random seat unless you pay to choose your seat, which can be inconvenient if you're flying with a group and you want to sit together.

Here's a list of the budget airlines in the US:

For more travel tips, learn whether travel insurance is worth the cost and discover essential items to bring on any trip.

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