Many people were asking me - how much did you pay for your flight to Chile, where did you buy it, how to get a good deal? Well, I am far from being expert in the field (actually, I was a bit frustrated by complexity of it), but in the past few months I stumbled upon many interesting deals, that I would instantly buy if not for our South America journey.
Generally speaking, the more flexible are you (time of travel/connection flights/open jaw tickets), the bigger are your chances to find yourself a bargain. Firstly, you are more likely to get a good deal, if you're looking for a flight that is not during the main season. I would say that the most of the cheap flights I found can be divided into two categories - regular airlines offering a limited promotion or sale, or the second one - error fare flights.
For example, with a bit of a search you can easily find a round ticket from Europe to Chile for about 800-1000 eur. If you wait and check the prices and websites every so often, you can reduce it to about 500-600. But if you're lucky (and really flexible), I found error fare round tickets for 350.
Flights for sale
These are usually regular promotions by the airlines themselves or other booking agents, that are offering a deal. They might not be such a steal as the error fares, but it's a very good alternative how to fly for a bit less.
In our case, I started looking for a flight for October sometime around the beginning of this year, but soon found that it was a bit too early. Most of the good deals are just few months prior to your departure (2-4). I would still recommend watching for good deals from time to time, or creating a price alert for your flight, so you'd get an email each time the price drops/increases. You could do this at skyscanner.com, or airfarewatchdog.com (US departures). This would save you some time and could potentially find you a good deal.
A quick tip, that might not be that apparent - if you are searching for a one-way ticket (same as us), for some reasons it’s often more expensive to buy than a round ticket. There are several reasons for that (most of them I still don’t get), but the important part is - search for round tickets as well. Just be sure to read the cancellation policies for your flight, so you won’t get a fine if you cancel your flight back (or make up a very good excuse - doctor, family, emergency etc...).
If you’re flexible enough, you could go for a open-jaw ticket. Open-jaw means you fly from A to B, but return to a different city then A. These deals might be a lot cheaper, or simply offer a chance to discover another city. They are also good, when you use the round ticket only for a way there, as you do not really care about the way back. For hard core travellers, there is a last option - double open jaw (A->B C->D). It’s worth experimenting a bit with this, it can allow you to see more places while paying less. For example, we’ve found a flight ticket Madrid-Bariloche-Ushuaia-Madrid for almost the same price as round ticket to Bariloche - but with the open jaw one, you can discover the entire Patagonia and simply fly back, without having to go back to the beginning, thus saving a lot of time/resources.
One very important thing to consider - if you want to flight from A to B, do not ever buy a round ticket B->A and plan to skip the first part - 99% percent of the airlines will automatically cancel the rest of the trip, if you skip a flight before.
As for the websites with flight deals, I'll list them at the end of this article.
Error fare flights
Error fare - as the name indicates, is when the airline or reseller simply makes a mistake. It sounds almost unbelievable in this computerized age (to some), but these mistakes do happen. It can be anything from missing fuel surcharge or other fees, that usually a human being behind these computers forgots to add, or any other form of mistake (or a hidden promotion). This can result to indredible deals, such as round ticket to Rio de Janeiro for 235 eur, or New York for 120 eur. These deals are random, so you cannot really count on them - but if you are a travel-o-holic and you just want to go somewhere exotic, this might be perfect for you :) But time is essential here - some deals last for a few days, some only for minutes / hours. Also, you have to pay immediately - if you only make a reservation, it will be most likely cancelled. For more info, I really recommend reading a bit more here http://www.flynous.com/error-fare-flight-how-to-find/
WWW - Websites worth watching
Flight search engines (that I found to be useful):
kiwi.com - Czech startup offering unique and super easy way to search for flights - right on the map. Often connects low-fare airlines, so check on baggage & other fees. I recommend searching through them and then buying the flights directly with airlines, you will save some money, as they charge extra.
www.skyscanner.com - Very popular, found the best prices here. Cannot search for open jaw tickets, as opposed to the other two. Also has a good mobile app
Google Matrix ITA - If you want to customize your search to the extreme level, this google software is for you
That’s all for now - if you know a good resource or anything worth mentioning, let us know in the comments, so we can share it with others. :)