Cheap flights: This expert’s trick can halve the cost of your long-haul trips

0
Have your say

We all dream of jetting off around the world to exotic locations like Australia, Mauritius or South Africa.

But the main thing stopping most of us? Money. Not least the cost of the long-haul flights we need to get there.

BA flights to Cape Town came out cheaper using the trick. Picture: Ian Rutherford

BA flights to Cape Town came out cheaper using the trick. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Which is why this very easy – but extremely useful – tip from travel expert Jack Sheldon of Jack’s Flight Club is well worth having in your armoury.

By searching for what he calls ‘hidden city’ deals, you can chop up to 50 per cent off the cost of your long-haul flights.

Fly from Germany, the Netherlands, or another nearby country

What this means is looking for flights to your desired destination from other European cities which are just a cheap short-haul flight away. Amsterdam, Stockholm and Frankfurt are among the best options, but it is worth searching around to find the cheapest possible route.

Jack recommends doing this through Google Flights.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Airport announce flights to new destinations

For example, he has been able to find return flights to Cape Town from Amsterdam for £438 with British Airways.

The same flight from Heathrow would usually cost anywhere from £840 to more than £1,000.

Similarly, he found return flights from Amsterdam to Tokyo for £510. From the UK this would normally cost around £300 more.

Sometimes these flights to Amsterdam even stop off in London before making their final leg to the Netherlands, so you can just get off the plane and miss out last part of the trip, while saving yourself money.

Airlines hate these hacks, but they can’t stop you taking advantage

Jack told the i: “Airlines don’t really like when passengers take advantage of hacks like these, but it’s well within the rules and there’s not much that can be done to punish you for it.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Airport plans flights to China

“Similarly, if you missed that last leg of the journey because you got caught up looking inside an airport shop, there’s not repercussions for that – the only difference in this case is that you meant to miss the last leg.

“It’s probably not a great idea to tell the airline you’re planning to do this, as they may try and talk you out of it.”

All these deals change frequently, so Jack recommends keeping an eye out and searching often for places you’re keen to go.

How to get great last-minute deals

If you’re less set on a particular destination, and instead are just desperate to book a last-minute holiday as far away as Britain as possible, Jack also has a great tip for you.

Travel agents like TUI and Thomas Cook sometimes end up selling very cheap flights to far-away destinations just one to two weeks in advance, as they are trying to get rid of them.

Agencies like these make their money on package holidays rather than flights. This means that if they have leftover seats on their planes, they try to flog them cheaply to last-minute travellers.

Jack told the i: “On any particular day, a search on thomson.co.uk/flights can land you incredible deals such as direct return flights to Jamaica, Aruba, Florida, Costa Rica, or Goa at £269 return.

“I’ve even seen flights over busy bank holidays, such as Easter and Christmas, to Sri Lanka, Mexico or Phuket, Thailand at under £300 round-trip.”

This story first appeared on our sister site The i