Flash Sales: What are they and how to use them to bag ultra cheap flights

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Booking a flight from London to New York might cost you £600 today, but tomorrow the very same ticket on the same flight with the same carrier could be literally half the price. Welcome to the world of Airline Flash Sales.

Airlines know, or think they know when tickets will be sold. For example, tickets for a December flight are released the previous February. The airline expects that 35% of the tickets will have sold by May. Their ‘cashflow’ depends on getting these predictions right, because they have wages to pay, jet fuel to be bought and they need enough money in the bank to cover their liabilities.

But sometimes the tickets haven’t sold as well as expected, so to get extra cash into the bank rapidly, the airline will announce a flash sale and sell those tickets at silly prices for a few days till they are back on target. Sure they might make a little less profit as a result, but the peace of mind of the accountants department is well worth it.

They don’t tell the public in advance about flash sales, so you have to keep your eyes open. Thankfully tools such as Skyscanner and Google Flights allow us to automatically track fares to our chosen destinations and get alerted when a deal appears. 30%, 40% 50%, 60% off. All these flight discounts can be enjoyed if you can wait for them.

Then you just have to snap up a bargain before the airline fills its quota and the price jumps back up again.

Happy hunting.