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How To Find The Cheapest Last-Minute Flight Deals

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Need to book a flight that leaves in a few days, but worried you won't find a good price? We've got you. From the best sites to find last-minute flight deals to tricks on how to book the best flight routes in a pinch, keep scrolling to learn more about how to find the cheapest flight prices that fit your last-minute travel style.

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How To Find The Cheapest Last-Minute Flight Deals

Last-Minute Flights: All You Need To Know

A last-minute flight is basically air travel booked within two weeks of departure. Whether you jet off on economy class or business, travelers have so many ways to find deals at the last minute to get them to their next destination.

And as frequent flyers ourselves, we’ve gained a lot of insight and ideas on how to grab the best last-minute flight deals over the years. 

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How To Find The Cheapest Last-Minute Flight Deals

Are Flights Usually Cheaper At The Last Minute?

They can be!

Who else can say they’ve made the mistake of booking a flight way in advance in order to save money? But, if you do a simple flight search on your favorite travel website using your phone or computer, you’ll see that the flight price for the following day will sometimes be as cheap as flights for the exact same route a month or two later. 

The price of a last-minute flight will really depend on whether the plane is almost full or not. If a plane still has tons of seats left, the price can be rock bottom, especially with upgrading to a premium economy or business seat. However, if the plane is almost sold out, that's when getting a good deal becomes tricky.

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How To Find The Cheapest Last-Minute Flight Deals

How To Find The Cheapest Last-Minute Flight Deals

So not only does booking travel early not necessarily guarantee a cheaper flight price, it also can come with a few drawbacks. For starters, one issue of booking too ahead of time is that you’ll have to spend more money if any last-minute cancellations come up.

Plans and schedules can change a lot nowadays, especially with the pandemic, so booking at the last minute will give you an extra level of freedom. 

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How To Find The Cheapest Last-Minute Flight Deals

What Is The Best Way To Get Deals On Last-Minute Flights?

Applying just a few (or all!) of these 6 travel tips is the best way to get deals on last-minute flights:

  • Stay flexible: Because a great flight deal can come up at any moment, it's always best to be prepared if you want to travel at the last minute. If you're open (and able) to travel at any time of day, this will definitely leave you with more options for finding flight deals.
  • Find your favorite flight search engine: Check flight search engines out there (Skyscanner, Google Flights, Kayak, Momondo, for instance), try them, and pick your favorite. Once you familiarize yourself with all the tools at your disposal, then finding the best flight deals at the last minute will be like a breeze. Make sure to check for deals using mobile and desktop.
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  • Consider alternative airports: If you want to travel to LA, do you have to necessarily land at LAX? Many flight search engines will give you the option to scan for all available flight deals to airports near your chosen destination. Try and be open to flying into a different airport (which might give you more options to expand your trip!) if you want to find a great last-minute flight deal.
  • Look for last-minute deals on the airline webpage: While the best flight deals can usually be found through third-party flight search companies, don't rule out checking an airline page for last-minute flight deals. You'll be surprised at how many major airlines will post vacation deals leaving within a few weeks, so it's worth checking your favorite airlines for any pop-up deals.
  • Pack light: A good mantra in travel and in life. When it comes to cheap last-minute flight prices, sometimes the biggest expense will be the extra baggage. Have your favorite carry-on suitcase ready to go and booking last-minute deals will prove to be much easier.
  • Try mixing it up: Search one-way, round-trip, and multi-city flights to see if a bargain can be found simply by changing when you come and go. We've seen the price for a round-trip flight be only $5 more than a one-way flight, making booking the full trip a no-brainer. Same with multi-city. Sometimes adding a 24-72 hour layover in a city on the way to your final destination can actually be cheaper than flying there directly, and gives you an extra city to explore if you're time-flexible.

The Best Sites For Last-Minute Flights

When searching for the best flight deals, I like to browse a few places to see what the standard flight prices are for the destination I plan on traveling to that month. Once I’m more familiar with the flight price, I know when I’m getting a great last-minute deal.

For instance, the Skyscanner app has a tool that calculates the approximate cheapest flight prices every day. You can do a “Whole Month” search for your chosen flight route and pick the best flight deal. This tool is really handy because you'll also be able to see which days are typically more expensive to fly out during that time frame.

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