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Last minute flights : The ultimate guide to finding a late deal

In the era of budget airlines, are last minute flights dead? Not if you know how, when, and where to look… Here’s some tried and tested tips on how to bag a last minute flight bargain


Forget the old methods of finding last minute flights

Back in the day, the best way to get last minute flights was to arrive at the airport and ask for a standby ticket. Now so many people are traveling by air, the majority of flights sell out. And the only way you’re going to get on that elusive standby list is:

If you miss your own flight

If you hold a full price ticket and want to get on an earlier flight

If you have friends working at the airline. Even then you should be prepared to wait


Keep your eyes and ears open

You’re not the only one out there looking for cheap last minute flights. You can get the jump on other spontaneous travelers just by paying attention

If an airline has a newsletter, sign up for it. This works particularly well for chartered flights, as they often have spare seats to fill, and the newsletter will keep you informed about last minute flight sales

As well as using Skyscanner to find last minute flights, use websites specifically designed for last minute travel. Holiday Pirates is a great example. Not only do they source last minute flights, they also give an in-depth description of the offer

Signing up for price alerts (Skyscanner Price Alerts) is another good way to find last minute flights, depending on where you’re flying from. The basic concept is that you mark a flight that you are interested in and Skyscanner will email you to let you know if the price goes up or down so you don’t miss out on a great fare

Follow your favorite airlines on social media. Your time on Facebook and Twitter will be well spent if you manage to pick up a deeply discounted flight

Look for cancellation holidays. Some package holiday companies sell off last minute trips for a huge discount when their customers can no longer travel


Download Skyscanner’s 3 in 1 app

Skyscanner’s 3-in-1 app, available on both iOS and Android, gives you access to the easiest and quickest way to plan your next trip with the best prices for flights, hotels and car hire all in one smart app. The application’s ‘explore’ feature displays dreamy destinations for all travelers including options for ‘quick getaways’, ‘last minute’ trips and ‘best deals for weekend breaks’. If you’re flexible on when you fly, use Skyscanner’s ‘whole month’ search tool to find the cheapest day to travel to your chosen destination. Recent searches on the site can also be accessed through the app and notifications can be set to inform you of any price changes as soon as they happen so you won’t miss out on a cheap deal



Be flexible

Everybody knows that you need to be flexible when you’re looking for cheap flights. But when it comes to last minute flights, there’s more to being flexible than choosing anti-social flight times. It also means being flexible about your destination, and the airport you’re flying from. You could find yourself in a gorgeous city that you’ve never heard about before. The best way to do this is to use Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ destination option. This way you can see which places are cheapest to visit on a short timescale


Sometimes it’s better to book early

You can save money by booking ahead, too. Some airlines, will reward you for doing your homework and will offer you an airline credit making up the difference if you call them. Otherwise, try to buy refundable tickets and if the price drops you can cancel and repurchase at the cheaper price. Skyscanner’s best time to book tool is based on analysis from thousands of historical flight bookings from the UAE to the most popular cities. As well as showing the best time to book a flight on average, the tool lets you quickly see the cheapest month to travel to that favorite destination, as well as how much you can save if you book at the right time.

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