It wasn’t all that long ago that the listed price for an airline ticket was the price you paid. Enter last minute ticket websites and those prices reduced drastically but were still the price you paid. Enter the ticket bidding website. A digital version of bargaining where you make an offer for a ticket with the company or broker and haggle until you both get the price you want.
It’s the new, cheaper way to buy flights. But how and where can you bid on such flights?
There are three main criteria you need to meet before you can get the best out of bidding on flights:
- You need to be traveling soon.
- You need to be flexible about when and where you fly.
- You need to know the current market price of the ticket you’re bidding on.
If you are traveling within the next two weeks, don’t mind what time of day, what day you fly, or where exactly you fly from (within reason), there is a lot of money to be saved by bidding on flights instead of buying them.
Where to bid on flights
There are a number of websites within which you can bid on airline tickets. The two largest seem to be Skyauctions.com and Priceline.com. There are others of course, but these two seem to be the top of the crop. Both allow you to search for tickets, packages, rentals and more. Both allow you to search by destination, date or both.
How to bid on flights
Let’s use Priceline.com as an example of how to bid on flights as I have used them. First, do your research and find out how much the market price is for your flight.
- Visit the Name Your Own Price page on Priceline.com and enter the flight details. Click ‘bid for flights’.
- Start low with a bid of around 50% of market price, enter your details and click ‘buy my tickets now’.
- com will process your bid and likely reject the first offer. They will offer a slightly higher fare if one is available. If it is still too high, make a counter offer. If it is a reasonable price, accept the offer and confirm the purchase.
If you make a counter offer, you need to make a change to your flight details such as date, time of day, departure airport or other minor detail. Then submit your revised itinerary with a slightly higher offer.
The entire premise of the process is to find a combination of departure time, airport and price that you are happy with. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to but you will need to make a change each time you refuse an offer. Once you’re happy with an offer, you confirm and the flight tickets are yours.
Savings vary considerably from around 40% down to around 10%. Much depends on where you are flying from and to and how flexible you can be. Regardless of how much saving you can achieve, it is still a saving and well worth doing!