Flying cheap ain’t easy…

Courtney Kerrigan

Spring break is sneaking up, and while most students are counting down the days, they’ll also find themselves counting dollars when booking last-minute flights.

Airlines tend to boost fares around this time, but knowing how to ticket hunt could score students the golden ticket to a week of relaxation.

“Online is the best place to find the lowest fare,” said Southwest Airlines spokesman Paul Flaningan. “You can be creative with flights, so if you see that one is full, there are other options that you can look into.”

Airfare search engines versus travel agency sites

Web sites like, and are just a small portion of the sites dedicated to finding cheap airfares, said George Hobica, creator of

“One site is really no better than another,” Hobica said. “The major difference is if you use a search engine like, they don’t have a good flexible date search while the online travel agencies, like, do.” allows people to name their price on flights, and is perfect for procrastinators.

Flaningan said Southwest flights are not offered on any of the search sites because the airline does not charge some of the extra booking fees other sites charge.

Southwest also doesn’t charge baggage fees, and Flaningan said people could save up to $140 flying with the airline.

“It’s pretty cool for college students who are trying to save money for their fare,” he said. “You don’t want to be spending a lot of money at the airport and have to pay all these fees.”

The best days to fly

Hobica said Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest to fly for two reasons — business travelers fly out Sunday nights or Monday mornings and return on Fridays, while leisure travelers like to leave on Thursdays or Fridays and return on Sundays or Mondays.

Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to fly.

The sooner the better

The further in advance students book, the more likely they are to find cheaper prices, especially during spring break, Flaningan said.

“We see a lot of travel during spring break — all the flights are full and it’s just a really busy time, so the key is to go online and book as soon as you know you’re going to travel,” he said.

Hobica, however, said it is possible for students to find good deals on last minute tickets on sites such as and for spring break.

“When I was looking for a flight to Florida, most of them cost more than $300 for a round trip, so it just depends on the time of year,” she said. “Costs always go up around spring break season, so expensive flights are pretty much inevitable.”


Students should be flexible with their destinations because some places are cheaper than others. Hobica said sorts flights by prices and shows people where it’s cheapest to go.

“It also helps your budget if you don’t mind having a layover, and it makes the flight go faster depending on where you’re headed,” Caraotta said.

The airports people fly out of also play a role in price.

“Akron sometimes has cheaper fares than Cleveland, so students should be willing to drive to the airport,” Hobica said.

Contact student finance reporter Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected].