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Flight myths, booking tips and how to spend your points

How to become a savvier consumer, as told by a very frequent flyer. Derek Blair/AFP/Getty Images

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According to legend, Tuesday mornings are the best time to buy plane tickets. In reality, it’s not so simple to game the system. But there are ways to become a savvier consumer.

Mark Orlowski travels a lot for his real job running the nonprofit Sustainable Endowments Institute. So much so that he’s acquired a set of tools and tricks for flying comfortably and cheaply. 

1. Airlines are constantly comparing prices against their competitors and making adjustments; there is no set best time of day or week to buy.

2. Book tickets in advance.

3. Monitor prices.

4. Be aware of cancellation policies, so you can take advantage of a cheaper fare that might come along.

5. Pay attention to changes in frequent flier programs. Many airlines are decreasing the value of airline points, so it’s generally better to use points sooner rather than later.

6. Try using a site like Award Wallet to track your frequent flier points and store your account information in one place.

7. The service Skiplagged tacks on an extra leg to your flight for an overall cheaper fare price. It takes advantage of so-called hidden city pricing, guiding users to cheaper tickets if they exit an airport in their desired city during a layover, rather than taking a direct flight to that city. Skiplagged has seen its share of controversy in recent years. One tip: Use this only if you don’t plan on checking bags.

8. Look up the best seats for legroom and luggage space on a site like Seat Guru, which provides information on different Boeing and Airbus model planes.

9. Other sites Orlowski recommends checking out: Hotel HustleYAPTA and Expertflyer.

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