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Three clever tips to improve your chances of boarding an empty flight & getting some quiet time before your holiday

by Staff

CATCHING an empty flight is an unexpected perk of travelling.

Instead of being cramped and sitting next to someone who smells, you can stretch out, have the toilet to yourself, and become best buddies with the cabin crew.

Flying alone on a plane allows a traveller to spend the time relaxed and stretched out, rather than cramped upCredit: Getty
Airlines usually try to seat as many people on a flight, but there are some things that flyers can do to increase their chances of finding an empty planeCredit: Getty

Travellers Dina Louann, Anaru Ratapu, and Hannah Maden-Adams all have had the lucky experience.

With a commercial carrier, you can’t ensure you pick which flights will be empty, but there are some booking hacks you can do to increase your chances of travelling the skies solo.

Here are three clever tips to increase your chances of booking an empty flight.

Gilbert Orr, creator of the travel blog, told The Telegraph flyers should book a departure time with lower demand, like early in the morning or late at night.

He said: “Between New York and London, for example, the last flight of the day (in both directions) will typically be the most quiet, as business travellers prefer earlier flights.”

Further, booking on days with lower travel demand, like on major holidays such as Christmas, can also increase the chances.

Another tip is to fly on routes between smaller cities with less popular airlines.

Henry Harteveldt, a US-based aviation analyst, told The Telegraph that people could look for flights from smaller cities or less publicised flights.

Civil Aviation Authority data shows travelling on routes between London and Barbados are almost always full.

But, flights between London and less popular places like Bulgaria or Azerbaijan are less than 50 per cent full.

Finally, ‘tag’ routes, if you know them, could give you something to look out for when searching for flights.

A tag route is where a commercial airline flies between two destinations, but then adds on another stop for whatever reason.

Harteveldt said: “I also believe KLM flies between Buenos Aires and Santiago, a continuation of the airline’s Amsterdam-Buenos Aires route. Likewise, it operates an Amsterdam-Singapore flight that continues to Bali.” 

One lucky flyer was able to get flights at a cheaper price between New York and Abu Dhabi after the airline released the flights at the wrong price.

Paul Jebara snagged the flights for £150 return – a price he claims is a tenth of what it should be.

Meanwhile, flyers looking to get a flight at a certain price can set up price alerts and get the flights emailed to them.

Read more on the Irish Sun

And in a video on TikTok, Nicky Kelvin, from The Points Guy UK explained how he still finds cheap flights.

Kelvin gives his six tips on what flyers can do to find the best price.

Three tips for getting an empty flight

  1. Flying at off-peak times like early in the morning or late at night will likely see fewer people on a flight as people don’t want to travel at that time.
  2. Flying on routes that have less demand, like those between smaller cities or on less popular routes, will also increase the chance of an empty plane.
  3. Looking out for ‘tag’ routes where airlines add on an additional stop between the main routes can also see reduced demand.
Flyers should travel at off-peak times, travel between smaller cities, and look for airlines travelling along ‘tag’ routesCredit: Getty

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