So you want to be a DIY Kiwi and find the cheapest flights possible? Here are our top 10 tips that will help you score the deal and save you money.
Sure we like to make plans spur of the moment, but if you can plan ahead and have a couple of months up your sleeve then you are in. Airlines ramp the prices up the closer you get to a flight. Many deals such as Air New Zealand Grab A Seat and Pacific Blue Happy Hour are for one month to six months out.
Your everyday fare on airline websites will be the best price a month or two from departure.
Choose your take-off date wisely.
You are more likely to find cheaper fares if you can go on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday. This is true for domestic flights as well as internationals as the midweek flights are often better priced, especially if heading to Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Be flexible with time.
For domestic travel avoid the mornings and early evening as this is commuter time and often busy. Red eyes and midday flights are more likely to have the best price.
Get email alerts to deals.
All the airlines have email alerts for their sales. But Grab A Seat and Pacific Blue Happy Hour have daily cheap flight deals and don't have alerts (that's why you have come to us good buggers to do that for you.) Jetstar have Friday Frenzy and some other good deals occasionally.
We know signing up to all the airlines is a pain so soon we will bring you www.seeya.co.nz Steals and Deals email alerts that will include most of these just for you. Yes we know....we are friggin awesome!
Remember the sales for international flights.
These are in December, January and February for many international flights, including Around the World flights, and a competitive time for price. All the airlines want good future bookings for the year so they open the flood gates. This is when you get the cheap weekend to Oz and the month long holiday in Europe. Save your pennies for this time of year if Santa hasn't pinched them all!
Fly the Foreign Airlines.
There are a number of airlines that stop off or pick up from NZ en route - they mainly stop in Auckland and a few in Christchurch. Many have cheap Australia flights as they go via Australia to other destinations, so check them out as well as the familiar Air NZ, Pacific Blue and Jetstar.
Be flexible on departure airport.
The truth is Auckland followed by Christchurch have the most international flights with the rest coming from Wellington and other regional airports. Look at other departure airports as an option; you may save hundreds on a flight from Auckland to Sydney if you live in Wellington just by picking up a cheap domestic flight.
Flights for $2 are a promotion gimmick and rare, so don't sit there wasting time waiting for them. The price of airfares is the lowest they have ever been. If a reasonable deal comes up and around the time you want to go...BOOK IT! We're always hearing how people paid 3 times the deal price they could have booked because they couldn't make their minds up. If the flight is 2 months away it's not hard to organise the time around it.
Last minute holidays and international flights.
The last minute market is reasonably tame in NZ but the best place for that awesome trip is on www.sella.co.nz Every Thursday they auction off some amazing flights and package holidays on behalf of Air NZ. They have a $1 reserve and on average end up 44% cheaper than retail price. ($200 return to China has been the cheapest)
A bunch of hints you probably already know.
Booking with the airline online is generally cheaper than travel agents.
Frequent Flyers are well worth signing up for especially if you are going far. A trip to Europe generally means a free flight to Australia or a couple of domestics.
Get a credit card with frequent flyer miles attached – or be really sensible and cut up your credit card and save enough in the year for a decent holiday ;)