Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This 'flight hacker' flew to Bali and back for £112 - here's how you can too

cheapflight.jpg

Everyone loves a bargain. Even the most ardent anti-capitalist campaigner, who abhors money and would, in an ideal world, live out their days on a commune with their fellow believers, is not going to turn down a buy one get one free offer on toothpaste. We’re only human. I still remember the electric feeling when I saw my local Sainsburys running a buy one get TWO free offer on Pringles, as they had to clear their stock before the new World Cup-related Pringoooals ones came in. What a Pringle-filled day that was.

And if you thought getting a Pringle-related bargain was good, then wait until you get a bargain on a flight – and there’s one man who knows more about that than most.

London-based American Jack Sheldon is the founder of Jack’s Flight Club, a newsletter which goes out to 72,000 subscribers, who receive one weekly deal if they sign up to the free service, or up to five (plus other perks) with a £35 annual membership. His eagle eye has found fares such as a £248 return trip from London to Tokyo, Edinburgh to Shanghai and back for £212, London to Reykjavik for £45 return and the daddy of them all – an £18 fare from London to Belize.

So how does he manage to find this stuff? Well, with a few tricks and a lot of work. Step this way for his best advice:

Set alerts for destinations and be flexible 

Set up a Google alert for a particular route and be open to a range of dates that you could travel. “Put in particular dates and then you should see a button/switch that says ‘track prices’. Enter and track a few different dates for best results. Set an email alert for price changes on those dates. If you are flexible, I would enter 10 different dates and set an alert for each one. Try a vague search by continent on Google flights. Change the month of travel and see if anything strikes you as interesting.”

Look for mistakes

Sometimes, companies can make mistakes and put out accidentally cheap prices. “The best I've seen has been an £18 mistake fare to Belize. The best I've taken has been a £112 single-stop round trip fare to Bali. It's a special feeling walking onto a flight knowing most everyone else paid five to eight times more than my fare.”

However, airlines don’t always honour these mistakes – so Jack recommends waiting a week before booking your accommodation.

Belize

Belize for £18. Looks alright doesn't it?

Do your research

“Once you find a cheap fare on Google there are a number of other places to look to make sure its genuinely the best deal. Momondo picks up fares from the cheapest agents. Another option for those that are very flexible with the amount of stop-overs is lesser-known kiwi.com. They search a lot more options for each route than even Google and Skyscanner does.  The deals I send out tend to be a max of one stop unless it's a vastly discounted fare on a two-stop long-haul.”

Use local sites

“If you're booking with a foreign airline, always log into their local sites to see if you can get a cheaper price that way. They often will offer lower prices for locals, but it is perfectly legal to book using that method.” 

You can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) such as TunnelBear, to do this.

tokyo

Tokyo for £200 return, anyone?

Book direct

“Depending on how often your travel plans change, it may make more sense to always book directly with an airline.”

Find the booking sweet spot

“Last-minute deals aren't going to be very common as airlines try their best to take advantage of business travellers and hike up their last-minute rates. Six to 12 weeks in advance is the sweet spot, but it varies greatly.  For peak and holiday seasons, I recommend looking just as the flights start showing up (typically 11-12 months in advance).”

However, if you can’t be bothered to do this yourself – get Jack to do it instead.

Oh, and keep an eye on Sainsbury’s next May – you can thank me later.

(Images: iStock/Rex)

Related

plane2.jpg

'Jim Wilson' is the flight codeword that you really need to know about

iStock-649730174.jpg

Here's how to get paid to go on holiday, and anyone can do it

Business-Class.jpg

A professional 'flight hacker' tells you how to get cheap holidays

More

All the times Donald Trump has failed to condemn far-right extremists

This has gone on for some time

by Tom Victor
16 Aug 2017

Flight attendants share the 25 worst things passengers do

How many of them are you guilty of?

by Gary Ogden
16 Aug 2017

Obama's response to Charlottesville is now the most-liked tweet ever

Puts Trump's response to shame

by Emily Reynolds
16 Aug 2017

English accents have been ranked by sexiness - where is yours?

You lot up north will be happy

by Gary Ogden
16 Aug 2017

Unmissable TV shows Reddit says you have to watch before you die

From gritty dramas to kids' classics

by Emily Reynolds
15 Aug 2017

The surprising side-effect of spending just 5 minutes on Facebook

It only takes five minutes of Facebooking

by Emily Reynolds
15 Aug 2017

Uber is going to start charging you for making your driver wait

Your cab home's about to get a bit more pricey

by Carl Anka
15 Aug 2017

John Oliver takes down Trump over his comments on Charlottesville

Doing what he does best

by Gary Ogden
14 Aug 2017

This amputee has the best Tinder profile ever

You've gotta hand it to her

11 Aug 2017

Ginger emojis are finally coming!

Justice is finally being done

by Emily Reynolds
11 Aug 2017