How to get the cheapest flights to Istanbul

How to get the cheapest flights to Istanbul In this post I will explain my method of getting the cheapest flights to Istanbul as if you have read some of my posts you will know that I have been travelling to Istanbul almost 20 times in the last 4 years. This has meant that I […]

How to get the cheapest flights to Istanbul

In this post I will explain my method of getting the cheapest flights to Istanbul as if you have read some of my posts you will know that I have been travelling to Istanbul almost 20 times in the last 4 years. This has meant that I have had plenty of time to experiment and try and find the best and cheapest method. In fact, I have even looked at taking buses, but decided not too due to it taking 6 days!

Use a flight comparison website

There are now many flight comparison websites out there such as Kayak and Skyscanner I have used both of these sites in the past but my personal favourite is Skyscanner. This is because it enables you to look at dates for the entire month and find the cheapest combination of outward and return flight!

Flight comparison websites earn money by getting a commission from the airline for facilitating the sale. You might think this would make the price more expensive, but it doesn’t. You will actually find that for the same flight, it is much cheaper to pay through a comparison website. I can only speculate as to why this is but I personally believe this is because airlines lower the price to be more competitive on a comparison site.

How to use Skyscanner to get the cheapest flights to Istanbul

When you first load Skyscanner you will get a screen such as this:

Simply put in the airport you wish to fly from and the one you wish to land in. For this demonstration I have used Stansted Airport departure and Istanbul Ataturk airport for arrival.

Once you have searched for this you will get the following screen which lists the flights in order of price. In this example It is a 4 hour flight from Atlas Global for £245.

Once you are on this screen click “Show whole month” and you will be able to click on the chart and see the approximate prices for the entire month! This will look like the screenshot below:

Above on the left you can see the original selected dates of 2nd to 18th of September 2017 and on the right you can see the potential cheaper dates which I have selected. This is really useful if you do not need to take specific dates, if you are looking for a holiday and are flexible then you can save a lot of money using this method!

Once you have selected the lowest cost days that are appropriate for your trip, you can then search and see what the new cost is as shown in the screenshot below.

And there we go! New cost of £195 which is a £50 saving! Hope this helps you.

Delete those cookies!

You may know about website cookies already but incase you do not I will explain briefly.

Cookies is the name given to a small text file which browsers store from websites (so not the tasty kind!). These “cookies” are stored so that websites can tailor information for individuals. It is how Google can suggest unique search queries to you and how Facebook knows that you are logged into a computer it trusts. In fact, I myself use cookies on this website so that when you move from page to page does not forget that you are logged in and accidentally log you out! So cookies are generally a good thing but they can be used for evil! (Okay Evil is a bit dramatic, but I will explain that in the next paragraph).

Flight comparison and airline own websites use cookies to learn more about consumers to tailor results but also inflate or decrease prices. If you visit a website and search for flights to and from a specific location too often then it will increase the price as it thinks “Ah, this flight is very popular, I can increase the price” and it will. To avoid this, do not search too often and delete cookies so it forgets that you previously visited. Or you could search on a mobile and then pay for it later using a computer so not cookies are set.

Book in Advance & not weekends

Generally speaking, booking 2 months in advance is supposed to be the optimum time for getting the cheapest tickets. Another tip is that you usually can find cheaper flights if you book during a weekday (Tuesday – Thursday). This is because a lot of business travellers will fly on the days Monday-Sunday so it is best to avoid these as airlines ramp up the price.

Advice for group bookings

If you are booking for more than two people it is generally best to book them 1 or 2 at a time. This because if an airline has say 2 promotional tickets but you search for 3 tickets it will only display 3 standard tickets (not 2 promotional and 1 standard). So in this case it would be cheaper to buy 2 promotional and 1 standard. There will be no tangible difference between these ticket types except the price.

Conclusion for cheapest flights to Istanbul

  • Use Skyscanner or Kayak to compare ticket provider prices and see if another date will you give you cheaper tickets.
  • Delete cookies if you have looked at the same dates several times to prevent airlines artificially ramping up the prices.
  • Try to book two months in advanced for the cheapest flights to Istanbul
  • If you are group of more than two, check if booking tickets separately uncovers promotional tickets!

Hope this helps you. Please do comment if you have any changes you would like to make. Thank you.

You may also want to read this post on Airline Regulations and baggage allocations.