Plans come up in an instant. Friends call with last minute invitations. Business deals come together quicker than you would have believed possible. Whatever the reason, you may find yourself need to book last minute flights. By following a few easy steps, the stress of last minute travel can be reduced to taking your black blazer or your brown. As you begin to pack your bags, you can be taking action at the same time to ensure your flights are cheap and easy.
First, keep your eyes and ideas wide open. Calling one airline to price a ticket is definitely not the way to go in this age of the internet. Instead, start your search by going to a discount or travel comparison site, to see what options exist. It is far easier and it saves a tremendous amount of time to see all of your options at once rather than calling or browsing around to individual airlines. Just because you use a discount or comparison site to do your research does not mean you need to book there, however. Often, the lowest price available is then padded with booking costs or hidden fees - that is how discount and comparison sites generate revenue. Your best bet can be to use the research you have completed to pinpoint which airline you will need to work with to book your flights.
Next, always stay flexible when booking. Accept the possibility of taking flights at odd times or with odd connections. While flights may book up to popular destinations quickly, not everyone is willing to get up at the crack of dawn; If you are, you can sometimes find great last minute flights at terrific fares. Perhaps a red-eye flight is an option you can consider. Plan to sleep on the plane, and you will save even more money without needing a hotel room for that night! Connections may not always be pleasant or time-efficient, but they can sometimes be significantly cheaper than direct flights. Always keep this option in mind when planning.
Finally, consider that you may be well served by taking risks to make your last minute flights cheap and easy. Many airlines still offer the option of stand-by tickets - purchased with the possibility that you may get on a flight, after full-fare return passengers are boarded. If you absolutely need to get somewhere by noon, this may not be your best bet. But if you are confident that flight loads will leave plenty of empty seats, or if your travel plans are completely flexible, this can be a terrific option.
Another option that carries a degree of risk is purchasing a ticket through a travel bidding website. Enter your destination and the price you are willing to pay and you will soon hear whether an airline accepts your offered revenue so that they do not have to let a seat fly empty. The risk is that you will take away any flight time options most likely and get whatever the airline wants to fill.
Do your research, plan carefully, consider a risk, but do not forget to start packing! After you book your last minute flights, it will be time to head to the airport!