It’s official, we are entering an era of higher ticket prices for flights. You have probably started to notice this already and the increases are not insignificant either. There are a few reasons for higher ticket prices for air travel and this trend is most likely to continue throughout 2022, and for the next number of years. The good news is that you can still get cheap flights, and pretty easily if you knowhow. If you are racking your brain wondering how to find the cheapest possible flights in 2022 for your next trip, we will guide you through the exact methods we use on a weekly basis for cheaper air travel. These are the identical methods we recommend to our community of adventure travelers, digital nomads and remote workers.
Why are flights expensive at the moment?
That pent-up demand for travel, spoken about as coming down the tracks over the past 18 months is starting to become a bit more real. There will be an enormous appetite for overseas air travel in 2022. Some countries like Croatia for example, have already seen tourism return to 2019 levels have just had a phenomenal season this year. Spain is also forecasting 2022 to represent a return to pre-pandemic visitor numbers.
This increased demand is coming at a time where there is far less seat capacity in the market. Heavyweight airlines like Thomas Cook, Alitalia and FlyBe have left the market completely, with others such as Norwegian airlines dramatically decreasing its number of aircraft, routes and seats.
With demand and less capacity, you can now add higher fuel costs and a chaotic energy market that has led airlines to no longer bank on hedged fuel supplies. The price of jet fuel has doubled in the last 12 months and this volatility looks set to continue. All of these factors are contributing to higher prices for air travel in 2022.
Flight search engines – a word of warning
There are many flight search engines out there and we all know the go-to options, Skyscanner for example would be a market leader in addition to the likes Kayak, Expedia and Momondo. The difference between these on price, the airlines and thus connections displayed, can be negligible and lacking in creativity, in terms of how to connect you, the customer, with the cheapest possible flight.
You must also wonder how practical it is to have multiple browser windows open in front of you displaying the same thing, until you get so perplexed that you just book a fare out of frustration. Feeling the need to browse search engines and direct flight websites incognito in case of a ‘sudden’ price hike, only adds to the complication. Little things like this can actually take you farther away from a cheap flight ticket, rather than closer to one.
Without naming any go-to provider in particular, we have too often noticed that fares being displayed, which will then take you to some other previously unmentioned third-party website, are at best misleading. A price is often displayed for your desired flight and when you arrive at the booking screen, that fare is no longer available and has magically jumped by €10-€20 at least. Practices of this type have become more commonplace and amount to a scam.
How to get a cheap flight in 2022
Any team of people that display ‘We hack the system, you fly for less’ on their homepage would generally peak our interest. In the case of a Czech company Kiwi.com though, we have already been using this incredibly powerful application to book cheap flights for several years now. Kiwi are not a start-up either, they have been in existence since 2012 and now sell anywhere up to 40,000 seats each day.
Partly the reason we do not bundle flights with our tours is to allow our community greater control over their own travel costs. If targeting the cheapest possible flights in 2022 is your aim, Kiwi is most definitely the go-to travel weapon to have in your armoury. Hotel rooms and car rentals are also facilitated on the application but for the purposes of this guide we will focus on cheap flights tickets only.
First thing to mention is that to find cheap flight tickets that other people cannot find, you need to have as much flexibility as possible in your travel schedule to get the cheapest possible flight ticket for your route. One thing is certain, remote working is here to stay. So many of you reading this may now or soon be in a position where you can work from whatever city you choose for several months per year.
Our guide to cheap flights in 2022 using Kiwi.com is created with remote workers and digital nomads in mind, however, anyone can use these same methods to get cheap flight tickets all year round. If you must travel on a specific day and at a specific time, you may still hit the jackpot and get an amazing rate. We will cover that a bit more in filtering further down the page.
Filtering for the cheapest possible flights in 2022
Let’s get into Kiwi.com then. The homepage as displayed above is the desktop version, the application on your phone will be similar. It is simple, easy to use and familiar. Filtering your search (and your results) is key to making sure your cheap flight jumps out of your screen.
In this example, we will search for a medium-haul flight from Dublin to Istanbul. For example, you may feel like spending 1 month in Istanbul sometime in January and working from there. Search for a one-way ticket, as you may travel to somewhere else after Istanbul. This search will be for the cheapest possible flight ticket we can find in economy, but feel free to select your own preference regarding the cabin. In a later article we will cover how to get cheap business class flights.
There are two little icons on the right. You are solo on this trip and as you will be living in Istanbul for the next month, you will probably need to take a checked bag with you. If it is Paris for the weekend then a cabin bag will likely suffice, but that’s your call. In any case, it is vital to select the number of checked bags for accurate results. For now, we recommend keeping the cabin bag at zero. More on that later.
When setting a departure and arrival point in the Kiwi app, notice that you have the option to simply select ‘Dublin’ and ‘Istanbul’ i.e. the cities as opposed to the airports or ‘250 km from’ and a wide list of bus and train stations. If you choose to, you can include buses and trains in your filtering search on the next screen. We will explain this a little later after our initial search, for now we are just searching for the cheapest possible flights.
Departure and Arrival Points
Shannon Airport in Ireland is 30 minutes from me. I know there are far less connections from Shannon, than there are from Dublin Airport, but I will add this to my list of possible departure points anyway. Why? Kiwi will find me the cheapest possible ticket by doing a deep dive into seemingly endless combinations of routes and airlines. For example, it may just be that on one particular day, Shannon can connect me with a cheaper seat to the UK or other European airport with an onward second leg to Istanbul than Dublin can. Dublin is also 2.5 hours away from me by road.
To really make Kiwi work for you in terms of finding the cheapest possible flight tickets, give it as many extra options to combine that make sense for your own circumstance, so as to give yourself the best shot at getting the cheapest possible flight tickets displayed on the search calendar.
In addition to giving yourself options on your point of departure, there are two international airports in Istanbul that you can fly into and either one of them is worth checking, in order to find the cheapest possible flight tickets in 2022. Personally, it would not matter to me where I would arrive in this particular search, as I would be headed to the city center anyway. Albeit knowing that Istanbul is an enormous city split between a European side and Asian side.
Let us say that I know Istanbul International Airport (IST) is the primary airport in Istanbul and I know there is a direct route between there and Dublin, but also, I have heard about Sabiha Gökçen Uluslararası Havalimanı (SAW). As we are not familiar with SAW, let’s check what cities in Europe it has direct connections with.
One of the quickest ways to check direct city connections for all airports worldwide is to use an excellent tool called flightconnections.com. We can recommend using this as a reference check alongside Kiwi to help you find the cheapest possible flight ticket. It often helps to combine different apps and platforms to give yourself greater visibility.
On flightconnections.com, just input the relevant airport as a departure point, in this case SAW. No need to select an arrival airport as we want to see all the routes that are available to fill in the knowledge gap. You will see that you immediately have visibility on all direct routes. Click on any one of these and you can see the airlines servicing each route as well as the days of the week these flights depart. There is a paid version of flightconnections.com and you will see the different search options that are behind the paid firewall but here we just need the free version.
So, from the map you will see there are direct flights from SAW to the UK and many other nations. None to Ireland, but that’s okay. Let’s include SAW in our Kiwi search to give yourself the best chance of finding the cheapest possible flight ticket.
Head back to Kiwi.com and click search on your initial departure points and dates. You will already be able to click the Departure box to bring up the daily price calendar which is excellent, you can make most use of this though, after you move to the next screen with some results for cheap flights.
In the screenshot you can just see the top two, however, in any search, you will be presented with a huge number of cheap flight combinations. Kiwi immediately does the legwork for you with the flights already sorted as the ‘Best’ ‘Cheapest’ ‘Fastest’ along with ‘Other Options’ on the immediate right.
At the top you will see the ‘Best’ i.e. the flight that combines both speed and price, and thus providing the best value. Interestingly, we can see that the first option suggested by Kiwi is arriving at SAW airport. Click ‘Show details’, we can see that the suggestion is with Ryanair from Dublin to Frankfurt including a 4 hour layover and an onward connection with Pegasus to Istanbul.
The next ‘best’ flight presented is the same Dublin to Frankfurt leg, but with an onward connection flying with Turkish Airlines to IST. This would get you to Istanbul 40 minutes later. It may be that your hotel or apartment is on the European side of Istanbul rather than the Asian side serviced by SAW, in which case it may make the most sense for you to fly to IST.
The ‘cheapest’ flight ticket on this search, takes 19 hrs 5 mins so it most likely will defeat any purpose of getting a cheap flight ticket at all. It probably involves an overnight stop over or possibly even departing from another airport on your first leg, more on that a little further down. In any case you can click ‘Show details’ to give you visibility on how the combination will work.
For most cheap flight hunters, the likely choice will be the ‘Best’ or the ‘Fastest’. Taking a direct flight from Dublin to Istanbul with Turkish airlines will have you there in 4 hrs 20 mins. The ‘Best’ option will have you arriving around the same time in the evening, but 4 hours later and will save you € 66.00. The key point here is that there is a trade off between speed and saving.
Some cheap flight hunters will want to be at their destinations as soon as possible but others might see 4 extra hours in the airport as an opportunity to get some focused work done over a coffee. Just don’t order too much food or coffee or you will start to eat into that cheap flight ticket pretty quickly. In a later article, we will offer some guidance on how to make it through an airport in a comfortable and efficient way, without spending a daft amount of money.
Okay, let’s see if we can find an even cheaper flight here. Go ahead and click on the box with the departure date of January 1st.
This is the one of the best parts, you can now see exactly where the cheapest possible flight ticket is, depending on the day of the month you decide to depart. Remember, you are searching for the cheapest possible flight ticket, so you are flexible! You may not want to travel on New Year’s Day though and figure you can take in a few more meetings over the next week at home. January 6th looks like a good target date.
Great. We have just found a new rate which is displaying the cheapest possible ticket within a week of the first departure date we checked. This one is saving you an additional € 48.00. This rate is fantastic, taking you and a 20kg check in bag from the edge of Europe to the crossroads with Asia on two legs for €131.00. Interestingly it is still arriving at SAW airport so it is just as well we expanded our options for arrival points. Nothing in the first few results out of Shannon Airport on this occasion, but hopefully you are getting a picture of how and why to give Kiwi a bit more leeway. As cheap flight tickets go, you might be quite happy with this one!
Let’s drill down into the additional filters on the left-hand side to see how they can help you to find the cheapest possible flights. These are self-explanatory for the most part and they will become extremely useful to you the more that you use Kiwi for finding cheap flights over time, especially if you are flying a lot each year.
We would suggest keeping cabin bags at zero at least initially until you know later what the cabin bag policy for your chosen airline is. In other words, you do not want your search results pulling in examples that are charging you for a cabin bag when the airline allows you one-piece, included with your ticket.
Consider un-checking the overnight stopover box. A lot of results will include overnight stopovers. The flight might look like a fantastic deal, but if it involves sleeping on an airport floor for 8 hours (and before you are allowed to check in your bag) or if it means needing to stay at a nearby hotel, both of these may quickly nullify your cheap flight ticket.
As mentioned earlier, if you want to include departure and arrival points that include bus and train stations in your search that’s fine. You may find that you could for example get a direct flight from Dublin to Sofia and then take a bus (approx 9 hours) onto Istanbul from there. Again it comes back to speed vs savings on your cheap flights search. Some of you may like the sense of adventure of taking one leg by road, and you could spend a night or two in Sofia. Bus tickets can be dirt cheap without extra luggage costs.
Maybe you have a particular dislike of one individual carrier. Whether this is due to being not so keen on flying with budget airlines generally or perhaps you had a bad experience with a flag carrier and swore never again, well now is your chance to cut them out of the mix. Keep in mind though, our search for the cheapest possible flights in this example would not have given us such solid results without the inclusion of budget airlines especially.
From our experience, when traveling from Ireland to Europe, the UK is a frequent stopover point for cheap flight searches. However, it may be that some results involve a ‘departure from a different airport’, as mentioned in that 19.5-hour flight earlier. Watch out for this! It will be in the ‘Show Details’ section of the result. We did not get too many of these in our Dublin – Istanbul search. Often though, you will see results that may go from Dublin to Luton and then you must make your own way from Luton to say, Stansted, before getting your second flight. This, like an overnight stopover, may not be what you are looking for. Another reason to exclude certain countries may be that you want your first leg to get you as close as possible to your final destination.
Price, Duration, Times and Days
These are personal preferences for you to decide. It goes without saying though, the tighter your filtering is, the less results you will have for the cheapest possible flight. Having said that, tighter filtering will not necessarily prevent you from finding the cheapest possible flight out there and definitely not prevent you from finding the best possible flight for your own needs. As we said earlier, to find the cheapest possible flight, you are as flexible as you can be!
Once you are confident you have found the cheapest possible flight to suit your journey, click the green ‘Select’ button. The Kiwi booking screen is clean and simple and you will notice that it is far less busy than some of the flight search engines out there. Additionally, there are not the same surprises or confusing options that you will find on the websites of airlines themselves. Watch out for preferred seating charges, these are quite high. The usual extras are available for purchase through Kiwi, including insurance and further baggage allowances if you need them, as well as excellent value Flexi tickets if you need some room for cancellations or changes.
To wrap things up, we do not subscribe to the idea that you ‘should only book flights on a Wednesday’ or ‘make sure you book your flight 2-3 months in advance’. Those ideas have become a bit primitive and are definitely not the best or only method in getting the cheapest flight possible in 2022. Use Kiwi with our tips above and you can easily save yourself a couple of hundred euro per year if you are flying regularly.