What is Flight Hacking and How Can it Save Me Money on Flights?

Flight hacking is a completely legal and permitted way to save money getting from your origination to your destination. In general, you accept some inconvenience for savings, though some flights are actually faster.

How Does it Work?

Instead of booking through a single airline or airline group, Champion Traveler’s flight hacks look at every flight route that can get you where you’re going. For example, let’s look at south Houston to Dallas for one commonly used flight hack. Instead of booking HOU to DAL, you could fly first from HOU to ATL in Atlanta. You could either visit Atlanta for a bit, or grab your bag and head back the way you came on ATL to DAL. This hack is wildly inconvenient but saves an average of about $468. We have international options, too. For example, you can save about $750 when you book from Miami to Argentina, but book a flight separately through Bolivia.

It’s strongly recommended that flight hackers keep themselves limited to carry-on items. Otherwise, you will have to claim your bag and go through security again. This is still possible and money-saving, but obviously you’ll need to give yourself that much more time to claim a bag, check it, and then go through security and make it to your plane.

Other Flight Hacking Benefits

Some flight hackers like to actually take advantage of cheap ticket prices to see multiple cities. For example, rather than booking a {{Place}} trip from {{Place}}, you could book a trip from {{Place}} to {{Place}}, stay a few days (for a super-extended layover), then head from {{Place}} to {{Place}}. For people who can’t pack light with just a carry-on, this minimizes the stress of going through security twice. For people with flexible schedules who want to see the world it’s a no-brainer: see two cities while saving on the price it would have cost you to see just one.

What’s the Catch?

You will need time, and your schedule can become disastrous if your flight is delayed and you miss your flight. You’ll still get there, sometimes with a travel voucher, but flight hacking isn’t recommended for travelers who need to be there at a hard time. Again, the time investment is not so high with just a carry-on.

Why Don’t Airlines Tell Me About This?

Usually airlines aren’t eager to push you to competitors for half the flight. Most of the time flight hacking involves switching airlines. Since no airline flies every place in the world, they will give you only the options that they (and sometimes their partners) service.

Sometimes, however, you end up flying on the same airline. It may seem odd, but this is a matter of logistics for airlines that typically operate on a hub-and-spoke model. Basically, they want to keep you flying between major hubs because it makes their modeling and airport capacity management easier to manage. They would prefer you fly from the nearest hub to its nearby spokes, and transfer to other hubs in-between. They will try to force you into their model to save themselves money, even if there is an airport they fly in and out of that is less out of the way.

Okay, Why Don’t Any Other Travel Sites Tell Me About Flight Hacking?

They’re definitely not as awesome as Champion Traveler. They probably don’t know how to analyze the data, or maybe they’re trying to cash in on extra sales since they are paid a percentage of your booking. Our model isn’t based on the cost of the trip you book, so it’s in our interest to give you the best data possible to keep you coming back and booking through our links.

Am I Going to Get in Trouble?

No. Your dollars are your own, and you’re not doing anything wrong.

Do keep in mind that security at some airports may flag passengers who have booked one-way tickets or multiple tickets in the same day, so you should give yourself extra time in case you are questioned. Flight hackers report that having the second boarding pass handy along with a quick explanation of why you booked two flights usually results in being moved through without too many more questions. Furthermore, booking a hotel in advance usually looks less suspicious, so having your hotel confirmation handy is a good idea. Being prepared is smart but not necessary: it’s more for your convenience than something you have to do.

Also make sure to be safe and check the in-between stops to make sure your government and their government are on good terms. Generally, however, booking sites will not allow you to book a flight that violates any sanctions or puts you at risk.

Can I Hack Every Flight?

No, but we have analyzed thousands of flights where it does work. Sometimes it is more expensive to go out of your way. In other cases, you’re flying between major hubs, and it’s needlessly time consuming and more expensive to book a second ticket. If there are any worthwhile savers, we’ll list them on that flight’s page, which you can access through our cheap flights search.

How Do You Know All This?

Champion Traveler analyzed tens of millions of flights and their prices. We then looked at additional ways to save you money. Our flight hacking analysis is technically referred to as a multi-segment analysis rather than a simple market analysis. You don’t need to know about all that, though: you just need to know we save you money.

That’s not all we do of course. We also show you the cheapest times to fly, which can save you even more if you book for the best dates. We also give you travel suggestions from your airport where the weather is nice and the flight price is low. Check it out: you’ll be impressed.

Let’s Save on Flight Costs

Awesome. Any Other Money-Saving Tips?

Definitely book your flight more than 30 days in advance. Our data shows prices increase dramatically in the days leading up to your flight. Check flight hacking options, alternate airports, and cheapest times to travel by clicking above.