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I just received this question from a reader and I think others would like to know the answer since it’s all about saving money on airfare. And who doesn’t want to save money on airfare? RELATED: According to Google, These Are the Best Times to Book Flights

Tony F. from Southern California writes:

Hi Johnny,
Long time fan from THE TECH GUY show.  I have a question I’m hoping you can answer.  I’m a pretty savvy traveler.  I’ve been on probably at least 100 planes throughout my life.  I’ve noticed in the last few years that some form of AI is running the reservation systems for most airlines.  The idea of getting last-minute deals on half-empty airlines is over!  I’ve tried and tried.  It’s almost like the airline tries and trick you.  I was looking for business class tickets from LAX to NCL and I saw them listed for around $4,000.  Two days later the price doubled and has not come down since.  If anything, the price keeps getting higher and higher no matter what dates you choose.  When I check the flights to see how full they are, it shows them half-empty.  What gives?  Is there a secret to getting good deals?  Is there a way to use some other method besides going to the various websites?  I’ve noticed all the websites have the same price.  Everyone knows the prices and there is no getting around it anymore.  Do you remember the days when you could get tickets from a wholesaler who was 30 to 50% cheaper because they bought the tickets in bulk months and even years earlier?  Does that exist anymore?


Thanks for the great question, Tony! First of all, I had to look up the airport code NCL because all I could think of was the cruise line. It turns out, NCL is Newcastle International Airport in the United Kingdom – one of the few major airports that I haven’t had the pleasure of travelling to, from or through.

Now, here are my tips for finding cheap flights to Europe:

1. Set Fare Alerts

$4,000 is a good deal but not great. I’m not sure of the dates Tony is looking at or which airport he’s originating from but from LAX, I’m seeing fares averaging around $5,000 (see screenshot above). The best thing to do is find your preferred flight and set a fare alert (here’s how) and when the price drops, jump on it.

2. Try Alternate Airports

I would also check alternate airports from both your departure and arrival cities. Edinburgh (EDI) is 96 miles away and Manchester (MAN) is 115 miles away. From LAX to EDI in May, there are fares for as low as $3,680. See screenshot above.

3. Buy Two Separate Tickets

If you’re not interested in renting a car or taking a train to and from the alternate airport, then do what I do often. Since fares to Europe from L.A. can be pricey, I always check the cost from other U.S. airports, preferably ones that would break up the trip since I have two little kids, ages four and seven.

Last summer, I was in the same predicament so I ended up buying a ticket from LAX to Toronto (via Philadelphia) and then Toronto to Barcelona. My wife’s from Toronto so we spent a few nights with her mom but even if we didn’t know anyone to stay with in the city, it would still have been financially worth it because of the savings, even if we’d booked an airport hotel for the night. Fares from New York City are even cheaper since there’s more competition and less taxes.

There are lots more ways to save money on airfare, all of which I write about in this piece 17 Ways to Find Cheap Flights. And by the way, I do remember the days of consolidators. My first international trip was booked through one when I was 23 years old. It was my first time traveling outside of the United States and my first time flying business class. Let me tell you, a transoceanic flight is the best time to have your first out of coach experience. I flew LAX to HKG and loved it.

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