Airfare myths that could cost you

It’s not hard to find advice on getting a cheap flight, whether it’s about the best time of day to search for a flight or how far in advance you should purchase your ticket. But there are also myths about airfares that are outdated or simply wrong.

If you blindly follow the myths, you could be missing out on good deals. That’s why Consumer Reports identified three common airfare myths and tells you what you can do instead to score a better deal.

Myth One: Tuesdays are best to book airfare. This myth started when airlines used to load fares at the beginning of the week. But now airlines are much more sophisticated, changing their fares 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which means you can find a deal any day.

Airlines now use “flash sales” to stimulate business. CR says to follow their social media accounts and set up alerts so that you’ll be notified immediately when sales become available. Keep in mind that flash sales sell out quickly, so you have to jump on them fast.  

Myth Two: It’s always better to book as far in advance as possible. Airlines don’t start actively managing inventory for a specific flight until about five to three months before departure. So if you buy earlier, you’ll probably pay more than what you’d pay if you waited.

Myth Three: Round-trip airfare is a better deal than two one-way fares. But that’s not necessarily true because of booking websites that can easily find money-saving one-way flight combinations.

Kayak offers so-called “hacker fares,” where a flight search will look for two one-way tickets that make a round-trip flight. You might have to use different airlines for departing and arriving, but you also may get the cheapest flight combination.

CR says another good way to save money is to have flexible travel plans. Sites like Kayak and Google Flights have great last-minute deals, and Hopper has easy-to-use “flex dates,” which offer a variety of cheaper alternative dates to your destination.

Consumer Reports says another way to find good flight deals is to look for air and hotel packages. You can find plenty that include a business-class seat and a five-night hotel stay by going to the websites of your favorite airlines.