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The 3 Best Ways to Find Cheap Airline Tickets

Flights are more expensive now. Here are some ways to get a better deal.

a two-engine passenger jet seen from below against a blue sky
You can save money on your next flight.
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Booking flights in 2022 has been more expensive than in previous years, and prices aren't expected to come down any time soon as the holiday season approaches. That's bad news if you're planning to travel during fall break, Thanksgiving weekend or winter break. But don't lose hope.

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It's still possible to find good deals on flights. And while booking early can certainly help, it's not the only option.

We'll explain a few simple ways to find cheap airline tickets. For more, here's the cheapest day to fly. (Hint, it's not Sunday.) Also, to earn money toward your airfare, check out CNET's pick for the best travel credit card with no annual fee: the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. Or take a look at our longer list of best travel credit cards.

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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