Consumer Reports busts myths to snag cheap flights, reveals ways to get deals

Some tricks outdated while others are simply wrong

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects, Lauren Verno - Consumer investigative reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - From the best time of day to search for a flight to how far in advance you should purchase your ticket, it’s not hard to find advice on getting a cheap flight. Unfortunately, many of these tricks are either outdated or simply wrong. Consumer Reports says if you blindly follow them, you could be missing out on better deals elsewhere.  

There isn't a single answer to finding the best price for your flight, and sometimes there can even be misleading information that could end up costing you money. That's why Consumer Reports identified three common airfare myths and what you can do instead to score a better deal. 

First myth: Tuesdays are the best days to book airfare.

 "This myth started when airlines used to load fares at the beginning of the week. But NOW airlines are much more sophisticated in the way that they price tickets, changing the price 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -and for consumers that means they can find a deal any day of the week," said Octavio Blanco with Consumer Reports.

Blanco says follow airlines' social media accounts and set up alerts so that you'll be notified immediately when sales become available.

Second myth: It's always better to book as far in advance as possible.

 "Airlines don't start actively managing inventory until five to three months before departure, so if you buy your ticket too earlier, you'll probably pay more than what you would if you'd waited to buy in that period," Blanco explained.

Third myth: A round-trip airline ticket is a better deal than two one-way fares. 

"Online booking sites have gotten really good at finding travelers money saving one-way flight combinations," said Blanco.

Kayak offers so-called "hacker fares," where a flight search will look for two one-way tickets that collectively make a round-trip flight. You might have to use different airlines for departing and arriving flights, but you also may also get the cheapest possible flight.

CONSUMER REPORTS: How to avoid airline fees

Consumer Reports says another way to find good flight deals is to look for air and hotel packages. You can find plenty that include a business class seat and a five-night hotel stay by visiting the websites of your favorite airlines.

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