Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 31, 2016

This week was certainly a remarkable week in the world of Hump Day Fare Hacks. While eight of the 10 routes profiled last week remained, seven of those decreased in price (by an average of $8)! Furthermore, the one fare that didn’t go down remained at the incredibly low price of $269. I wouldn’t be rushing to hedge my bets that the prices will go down yet again, but — based on what we’ve already seen — it’s entirely possible. Either way, these are incredible, in my mind, and I’d highly recommend booking ASAP if you have ambitions of traveling to any of these destinations.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $304

Thoughts: A $32 decrease in price from last week. Makes this good deal even better.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • November 29, 30
  • December 1-13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $508

Thoughts: My prediction last week was that this deal won’t last. I was right: it actually got cheaper.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • October 11, 13, 17-20, 24
  • January (2017)  9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-30

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $583

Thoughts: A great deal, especially considering the number of available dates in the wintertime.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $327

Thoughts: If I’m correct, this is the cheapest that BOS-LGW has ever been. Yes, it’s the same sentence I used last week, but it’s still accurate — the price went down by $1.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 30 (return October 8)
  • October 17, 21 (return October 25, 20)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: Not only is this an insane price, but it’s crazy that the number of available dates has expanded from one to three.

 

NEW YORK

 

Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • November 30
  • December 2-5, 7, 9-12, 14

Carrier: Delta Air Lines
Price: $388

Thoughts: I’ve often spoken about the generally high prices on flights between the United States and Amsterdam. When I first saw this fare, I thought that there had to be a layover. Surprisingly, there isn’t!

 

Newark – Beijing

Leave on:

  • September 14, 15, 27-30
  • October 1-3, 18-21, 24-28, 30, 31
  • November 1-15, 17, 18, 21, 23-30
  • December 1-8

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $791

Thoughts: Certainly not as cheap as the EWR-HKG flights from about a month back, but still an incredible deal, especially considering the available window of dates.

 

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • December 2
  • January (2017) 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7, 16, 17, 21, 23
  • March (2017) 2, 7

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $259

Thoughts: No elaboration necessary.

 

New York JFK – Paris

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 19, 31

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $327

Thoughts: $1 off last week.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 22, 24, 27
  • March (2017) 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $268

Thoughts: The $2 price decrease on an already-low price would be even more impressive if the BOS-OSL flight wasn’t running for $259. Still, incredible.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 24, 2016

 

To give you a bit more insight into how I choose the deals for Hump Day Fare Hacks, I’ll start off by saying that these aren’t always the five cheapest intercontinental flights from Boston and New York. Instead, I look at current prices, and make a subjective judgement regarding which flights are the best “value.” This judgement is made given a number of factors, including the displayed price vs. normal price for that route, the distance of the route, the number of available dates, and the airline. So even though a Norwegian price, for example, might not be steeply discounted from the normal prices that Norwegian offers, the fact that its prices are significantly lower than many legacy carriers — whether the ticket is priced at a “normal” fare or “special” fare —  means that a number of Norwegian flights make their way into Hump Day Fare Hacks. And while I’m careful to not let this become a “list of Norwegian fares this week” sort of list, I do think it’s important to include them, as I’ve discovered that many people have no idea that you can fly to Europe for less than $300 round trip.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $336

Thoughts: A bit of a hike from last week, as well as a reduction of dates. Still a fantastic price.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • November 22, 24, 26-30
  • December 1-13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $525

Thoughts: A Lufthansa round trip for $525. Tickets on this route generally go well north of $800, so don’t expect this one to last.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • September 12, 13, 19, 22, 27
  • October 4, 5, 10-24
  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $585

Thoughts: I’d come to expect sub-$700 flights from TAP, but sub-$600 is well below market value, I think.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: If I’m correct, this is the cheapest that BOS-LGW has ever been.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 26 (return October 4)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $286

Thoughts: Thinking that sub-$300 Norwegian flights might need to be excluded because they’re so commonplace. That said, many people still aren’t aware of how cheap transatlantic flights can be, so out the window goes that thinking.

 

NEW YORK

 

Newark – Brussels

Leave on:

  • November 22, 23, 25-30
  • December 1-14

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $460

Thoughts: Is sub-$500 the “new normal” for flights to Brussels? Time will tell, but I’m not super optimistic. Either way, this is a very good deal.

 

New York JFK – Johannesburg

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11-31
  • February (2017) 1-10, 12-17, 19-23, 27, 28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6-8, 13-16, 21-23, 27-30

Carrier: South African Airways
Price: $906

Thoughts: A pretty solid spread of dates (although winter flights from JNB to JFK usually feature a stop in Senegal).

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • December 2
  • January (2017) 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7, 16, 17, 21, 23
  • March (2017) 2, 7, 9, 14

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $261

Thoughts: $261. $261. Move aside, Stockholm, there’s a new king of the week.

 

New York JFK – Paris

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 17, 26, 29, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 28

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: $328 for Paris is well below market price — even adjusted for “Norwegian deflation.”

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • November 25, 30
  • December 2
  • January (2017) 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $270

Thoughts: $12 less than last week. That statement in and of itself would be good; considering that it was $282 last week, this is even better.

The Boeing 757: A “sports car” in the sky

While technology has led to extensive change within the automotive industry, one thing has remained constant: sports cars are timeless classics. So the fact that the Boeing 757 was last produced 12 years ago means that its reputation as a “sports car” will likely remain intact for years to come.

The Race Car of the Sky

For those of you not familiar, the 757 is a very unique airplane. It’s not quite big enough to be a wide body, but larger than virtually any other narrow body. It has a long fuselage, powerful engines, and incredible wake turbulence.  It even makes air traffic controllers give special warnings to aircraft following behind.

It’s also capable of flying an incredible variety of routes. From Miami to Orlando (192 miles) to Newark to Berlin (3,973 miles), the 757 is a jack of all trades. Perhaps the largest factor that makes it unique, however, is the engines that power it. Equipped with either the Rolls-Royce RB211-535s or the Pratt & Whitney PW2000s, which are capable of producing in the range of high 30,000 lbs. force to low 40,000 lbs. force each, the 757 has been described as being “overpowered.” It boasts a significantly higher thrust-to-weight ratio than a variety of other aircraft. Regardless, when one puts a pair of powerful engines on an otherwise “light” aircraft, the result is the predictable.

An Experience Like No Other

I myself got to experience the power of the 757’s engines a month ago. Though I’d wanted to sit in front of the fans on a British Airways 747 in order to hear the unique buzzsaw of the RB211-524s, I realized that a much more cost-effective way of hearing an RB211 on takeoff power – rather than spending an extra few hundred dollars to sit in World Traveller Plus – would be to ride at the front of a 757-200 and hear the RB211-535s. Needless to say, it was an incredibly cool experience.

To be sure, I’m still a 747 fan first and foremost, as the four engines, two decks, and unparalleled impact on aviation are all unique to the first jumbo jet ever produced. However, I have a new, unique appreciation for the 757.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 17, 2016

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Norwegian Air Shuttle is the most-represented carrier in this week’s edition of Hump Day Fare Hacks. Even so, the average of Norwegian’s five fares is $294.80. That is simply stunning.

There weren’t any crazy developments this week in the form of new, out-of-this-world fares. However, as I had (unfortunately) suspected, prices on EWR-HKG and JFK-HKG did not stay insanely low forever — they are now in the mid-$700 range at best from those airports. That said, the fact that they’re that low is still pretty incredible if you think about it.

For those looking to stay closer to home, you’re in luck: jetBlue is currently having a flash sale for Labor Day weekend. Buy tonight before 11:59 p.m. EDT and you’ll have the opportunity to purchase fares as low as $58 round trip (yes, round trip) to a number of different destinations (I counted 16 from Boston). Absolutely crazy.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • September 27 (return October 6)
  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $306

Thoughts: Hasn’t gone below $300 yet, but I think it well could — especially if Norwegian is having trouble selling seats. (Not saying that such is the case, but I don’t have access to the load factors for any of Boston’s Norwegian routes yet, so it could well be possible).

 

Boston – Munich

Leave on:

  • December 11, 12, 13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $628

Thoughts: Any flight you can get on Lufthansa for — I’d say — less than $800 is certainly a good deal. Less than $700, even better.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 15, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $336

Thoughts: Consistently having to remind myself that this is, in fact, real.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 30 (return October 8)
  • October 17, 21 (return October 25, 29)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: I’d have to go back and check, but this may well be the lowest fare that I’ve seen on BOS-OSL while producing Hump Day Fare Hacks. That it dropped $16 from last week and is available on two more dates than it was then is truly remarkable.

 

Boston – Tel Aviv

Leave on:

  • November 24, 26 (return December 1, 3)

Carrier: El Al
Price: $650

Thoughts: A fantastic deal for people who want to spend Thanksgiving in Israel.

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK – Brussels

Leave on:

  • December 15

Carrier: Brussels Airlines
Price: $460

Thoughts: This price certainly stands out, as it’s much lower than one would expect to pay on this particular route — perhaps obvious given that it’s available on only one departure date. Brussels retrofitted its Airbus A330s in 2012, and its long-haul economy product seems to be an extremely good one.

 

New York JFK – Johannesburg

Leave on:

  • August 29 September 4-14, 18-22, 25-29 October 3-5, 10-12, 14, 17-20, 24-28, 30, 31 November 1-4, 7-17, 22
  • January (2017) 11-13, 15-20, 22-27, 29-31
  • February (2017) 1-10, 12-17, 19-23, 27, 28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6-8, 13-16, 21-23, 27-30

Carrier: South African Airways
Price: $907

Thoughts: While this might not be a steal in terms of “face value” ticket price, it is certainly excellent value for your money — with a large selection of available dates, to boot.

 

Newark – Munich

Leave on:

  • November 16, 18, 21
  • December 10, 11, 14

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $527

Thoughts: It might not be Lufthansa, but a sub-$600 round trip to Germany is certainly one worth considering.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January 13, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February 3, 5, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $281

Thoughts: $1 more and a slight number of dates less than last week, but still an unbelievable deal.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 25, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $282

Thoughts: See everything (directly) above? Same applies here.

On Hold: The A380 won’t be coming to Boston in February as previously planned

Just over three weeks ago, I wrote about how British Airways had planned to introduce the Airbus A380 on its BOS-LHR route in February of 2017. However, this morning I was surprised to learn that the A380 is no longer scheduled to arrive in Boston on February 3, 2017.

Though there’s no conclusive information (press release or public-facing memo) from either BA or Massport, thus far, I’ll outline what I do know:

  • Prior to the schedule change, the LHR-LAX and LAX-LHR routes — which normally see two A380s per day each way — were scheduled to have one A380 swapped out for a Boeing 747 Thursday – Sunday between February 2 and March 12.
  • As such, one of the two 747s operating LHR-BOS and BOS-LHR would instead fly LHR-LAX and LAX-LHR between those dates.
  • A Google Flights search revealed that LHR-LAX and LAX-LHR are indeed back to two A380s between February 2 and March 12.

After inquiring further, it appears that the A380-capable gates that are under construction in Terminal E will not be built in time for the scheduled start. While there has been veritable progress made toward building these gates, it appears that the project will take longer to complete than projected. And though I’m tempted to avoid making any premature judgments, I can’t help but think that this bears a lot of similarities to the infamous “Big Dig” construction project, which took twice as long as anticipated and cost twice as much as budgeted.

It’s too early to tell for sure what the real story is. Furthermore, it’s possible that, logistically permitting, BA may still send the A380 at some point next year. And with airline schedules and timetables subject to change quite often, we might even see a few more twists in the plot.

Regardless of who is ultimately responsible, one thing is for sure: this delay is not good press for any of the parties on this side of the pond that are involved.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 10, 2016

While many of the usual suspects stuck around this week, there are a couple of new fares to look at that — I think — represent very good value. For one, TAP Portugal is now offering flights direct from Boston to Lisbon for less than $700 round trip. TAP’s co-owner, David Neeleman, is the former CEO of jetBlue, and his track record speaks for itself. Additionally, New York to Brussels for less than $500 is a very good price, and is something worth looking at if you’re looking to travel around Belgium and the surrounding countries. Yet those two deals aren’t the only ones worth looking at — even under the umbrella of “already existing” deals, there are still many that represent excellent value: perhaps

Though I can’t say that there were any new deals that truly jumped out at me in the way that the EWR-HKG on United for $488 a few weeks back did, this week still has three sub-$300 fares. And the fact that those fares aren’t complete anomalies anymore has me continually rethinking the possibility of whether Norwegian’s low fares are becoming the “new normal.” Can’t say I’d be against it.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 4, 11, 18 (return October 13, 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $305

Thoughts: I’d be very curious to see if this route dips below $300 round trip. While the narrowing of available dates and the fact that it’s a seasonal service makes it unlikely, it could well happen next year.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • September 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 19-22, 27-29
  • October 1, 3-6, 10-24
  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 22-24, 26
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 8-10, 12, 15-17, 19, 22-24, 26, 28, 29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $629

Thoughts: TAP Portugal, which happens to be Portugal’s flag carrier, is one of the newest carriers at Logan, and is supposed to be good from what I’m observed. In addition to the range of dates advertised, there are a number of dates in November and December available for just a dollar more round trip (so, $630). Lisbon is said to be a great destination for fall, winter, and spring travel, so this seems worth a punt.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 15, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $336

Thoughts: A slight narrowing of available dates, but a $4 price drop versus a high intrinsic value on the Boston to London market still makes this an excellent deal.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 30 (return October 8)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $285

Thoughts: This $16 price increase from last week shouldn’t scare you off (there’s also the option of October 4-12 for $1 more). What it does do, however, is — along with the narrowing of available dates for the lowest fare — reinforce that these sub-$300 prices won’t be around forever. Still, absolutely incredible value for your money!

 

Boston – Tel Aviv

Leave on:

  • November 24, 26 (return December 1, 3)

Carrier: El Al
Price: $650

Thoughts: The two days among a number of more expensive dates makes this price a true “fare hack.”

 

NEW YORK

 

Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • November 9-18, 20-30
  • December 1-15

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $461

Thoughts: $1 less than last week’s price on a normally-expensive route. Worth the investment for those looking to check out the Netherlands.

 

New York JFK and Newark – Brussels

Leave on:

  • November 9-13, 16, 17, 19-30
  • December 1-15

Carrier: Brussels Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines
Price: $485

Thoughts: A very solid deal on a market that typically runs expensive, although not as expensive as Amsterdam.

 

New York JFK – Hong Kong

Leave on:

  • October 25-27, 31
  • November 1, 2, 8, 9, 15-17, 21-24, 28-30
  • December 1, 5-7

Carrier: Cathay Pacific
Price: $554

Thoughts: A number of dates for a fare that represents incredible value. Can’t believe that it’s lasted this long.

 

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • December 2
  • January (2017) 13, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 3, 5, 16, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $280

Thoughts: Norway has overtaken Sweden (at least in terms of who has the cheapest Hump Day Fare Hacks destination) this week. A decent selection of dates.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 16, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 25, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $281

Thoughts: Same dates. Same price. Same great deal.

Finding Cheap Flights is Easier Than You Think

This weekend, I traveled to Washington D.C. to visit a good friend from college, flying both BOS-DCA and DCA-BOS on American Airlines’ Airbus A319s. Both legs were rather uneventful as far as aviation milestones go, although I did get a pretty great view of the Friday evening sunset on the way down.

For my trip to Logan, I opened a ride sharing app and requested a ride. It must have been the quickest pickup I’ve ever had waiting for a ride: I saw the app confirm the driver, only to look up and see his van parked around 20 yards away. Apparently, he was driving down the street, received the request, saw me looking at my phone, and pulled over. It was a serendipitous and convenient encounter.

During the ride, my interest in finding cheap flights came up. I told him that I’ve flown four times for less than $100 round trip. Somewhere in there, he spoke of his desire to travel to his native Morocco with his family, but said that the flights were extremely expensive — a round trip from New York to Casablanca was well north of $1,300 for one adult.

“Well,” I said, “I was looking last week, and saw that flights to Casablanca from JFK are going for less than $1,000.”

“Really?” he asked.

“You bet,” I replied. “Let me check on my phone.” I had downloaded a third-party app that gave me access to the Google Flights interface, so I entered “JFK” and “CMN” and picked a pair of dates that I thought would be cheap: a pair of Wednesdays in December, well before Christmas. The result: a $790 direct flight on Royal Air Maroc.

When I told him of this price, he was pretty surprised. However, I knew in the back of my mind that an affordable flight from Boston — even if it wasn’t direct — would be even better than the option that I’d told him of.

“Let me see what I can get you from Boston,” I said. I plugged in BOS and CMN in, expecting to find something around the same price.

Lo and behold, it was even cheaper: a $681 round trip on TAP Portugal was available for a variety of dates in Fall 2016.

“That’s crazy!” he exclaimed when I told him of the price. After cautioning him that it would involve multi-hour layovers in Lisbon on both legs of the journey, to which he said was completely fine, I said that I’d be happy to pass along the itinerary to him if he’d provide his email, to which he eagerly obliged. In a matter of minutes, a pipe dream had become much closer to reality.

Knowledge is Power

Though this story might seem self-promotional or a “humble brag” of sorts, that’s not my intention at all. Rather, it’s to convey that flying can be much more affordable than many might think.

Despite naming my weekly blog series Hump Day Fare Hacks, I’m here to emphasize that what I do is not rocket science. Similarly, it is not anything that you cannot do. When I told a co-worker that I use Google Flights, which has an incredibly user-friendly interface and lists the schedules of pretty much every airline*, he jokingly asked me how I could be called an “expert at finding cheap flights” by fellow employees. (I’d like to stress that I did not give myself that title.) I replied that it’s not about using a tool that no one else has access to, but rather having unique knowledge such as:

  • Knowing what’s a good deal, rip-off, and normal price for a particular route.
  • Being aware of which airlines tend to run cheaper vs. more expensive in certain markets.
  • Keeping cognizant of price increases, fare classes, and other pertinent information.
What to Change

Many will go to an airline’s website, plug in the dates they want to travel on, and pick the first flight that they see. And while it might result in peace of mind because you’ve booked and paid for your trip earlier, reality is that you could save hundreds of dollars by scouring your options more comprehensively, checking a variety of dates, and looking at low-fare calendars. When I have a trip that I want to book, I usually experiment with a variety of dates, carriers, and trip lengths to see what will yield the best deal. And while I will usually pay extra for things like a window seat, I’ll usually take the 6 a.m. flight if it means that I’ll be saving $100 one way.

Certainly, flying has become much more affordable in the past decade. From increased competition and the emergence of low-cost carriers like jetBlue, to low fuel prices and increasingly efficient aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, there are a number of factors that have contributed to the falling prices of flights.

Regardless, it seems that many are still unaware of what a “normal price” for a flight on a certain route, not to mention a “good deal,” is — myself included. Before I started flying on a regular basis in 2014, I would have assumed that a BOS-PHL flight would go for $300+ round trip. In reality, there are a number of flights on that route for less than $200. If I myself have suffered from these misconceptions, I’m certain that there are many more out there just like me.

Bottom Line: Be an Educated Consumer

Much like buying a car, the best way to get a deal on a flight is to be an educated consumer. That means looking at a variety of travel websites, airlines, and repositories to see where the best deals are. Additionally — unless you’re on a strict schedule — it helps to experiment with a number of dates, flights, and seats. Considering that paying for a flight is, often times, a large financial investment, it’s surprising to see how many people who will simply book the first two dates that come to mind without realizing the savings they’re missing out on. There are a number of affordable, even cheap, flights out there if you know where to find them. Good news: it’s much easier than you think.

Note: * There are some carriers that don’t publish their fares on Google Flights, Southwest Airlines being one of them. That said, I’ve found some great deals on Southwest’s website, although such prices are usually exclusive to certain routes — email me if you want to know more about a particular city pairing.