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How to save money on last-minute flights

[ 12 ] September 10, 2010 | Alison Adey

Cheap flights are often too good to be true – with taxes and charges often bumping up the price at the last minute.

Sadly, airlines are getting sneakier at adding these on – so you have to extra diligent when booking your flight. Follow our top 5 tips on getting the cheapest possible deal, and you could save £50!*

1) Book directly though the airline

Find out which airlines fly to your chosen destination. It may seem like an obvious starting point but you’d be surprised how many people book through third-party companies.

If you’re after a good deal, it’s worth checking out flight comparison websites. They compare hundreds of deals and send you straight to the airline page.

How to book cheap flights - the 8 week rule - Fabulous travel guide

How to book cheap flights - the 8 week rule - Fabulous travel guide

2) Select your flights carefully

Consider flying at an unsociable hour – as these flights are the cheapest. It’s also worth looking at single fares, rather than ‘returns’ as you can pick and choose times and be more flexible on dates.

3) Check that no insurance has been added on

Monarch automatically adds on a £10 insurance fee to the booking, without even asking you. You physically have to choose ‘no insurance’ to remove it.

4) De-select the in-flight meals

Hot meals cost from £6.50 each way. This is an unnecessary luxury on short-haul flights and will save you £13 in total if you choose to opt out. Airlines usually add this on automatically – so make sure you double check.

5) Be savvy about baggage

Monarch charges £9.99 per bag, each way. That’s £20 added onto your flight in the blink of an eye! Instead, consider hand luggage. It’s surprising how much you can fit in (56cm x 45cm x25cm) – and you’re allowed 10kg.

6) Don’t pre-book your seats (unless you want extra leg room or have other special requirements)

This costs £7.50 each way and is an unnecessary cost! As long as you all check in early enough you will be seated together where possible.

Monarch cleverly makes it look like you have to book a seat, but ignore this and continue to the check out.

Total amount saved: £58*
£20 on luggage
£15 on pre-booked seats
10 on travel insurance
£13 on in-flight meals

Now check out ways to get the best deal on your foreign currency and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/fabtravel.

*Based on a Monarch Airways flight, London-Ibiza, leaving on 17.09.10 and returning on 24.09.10.

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Category: Advice, Flights, Money-saving tips

About Alison Adey: I was previously Channel Editor for IPC's Homes network (Housetohome.co.uk; Idealhomemagazine.co.uk; Livingetc.com and Homesandgardens.com) but I bid them a fond farewell in December 2010 to embark on this trip. I also worked for Nowmagazine.co.uk as a features writer for two years. View author profile.

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