r/IAmA 13d ago

I'm Scott from Scott's Cheap Flights. Here to celebrate those recent $202 roundtrip Japan flights & answer all your flight questions for the next 12 hours! AMA Tourism

I’ve got the world’s best job (and it’s all thanks to Reddit): I’m a professional cheap flight finder.

Five years ago, Reddit helped take Scott’s Cheap Flights from a hobby to a side-hustle to a job to now a start-up with 40 people and growing.

(If you're curious you can check out Scott's Cheap Flights here, but zero pressure. Honestly!)

To say thanks, once a year or so I like to pop in and spend the day talking cheap flights and answering all your questions, travel or otherwise. And also to celebrate Redditor’s success stories getting cheap flights, including:

(If you’ve been able to book a cheap flight recently give a shout in the comment section—I wanna celebrate with you!)

And now, after years of being asked “what’s your secret to finding cheap flights?” I finally got my shit together and compiled everything I know into a book out next week, Take More Vacations: How to Search Better, Book Cheaper, and Travel the World.

One of my goals in this book was to cut through the BS misconceptions that get parroted elsewhere as cheap flight advice, like “clear your cookies” or “book on Tuesdays at 1pm.”

Instead, the way I’ve been able to travel to places like Milan for $130 roundtrip and Japan for $169 roundtrip (and help millions of SCF members get cheap flights as well) is not through useless “hacks” but by changing the entire strategy of planning travel.

More than anything, my goal with the book is to help readers avoid the regret that so commonly plagues older folks: “I wish I’d traveled more when I had the chance.”

Among the myriad topics I get into in the book (and happy to discuss here!):

  • How the way you’ve been searching for flights leads you to overpay (and how to do better)
  • All the steps you can take even when you don’t have flexibility
  • Why expensive fares are optional now that we’re in the Golden Age of Cheap Flights
  • Why big cities get the most deals but small cities (think Dayton, Ohio or Cody, Wyoming) get the best deals
  • How to take the perfect vacation, according to science
  • The basics (when to book, where to book, etc.) and advanced tips (mistake fares, 24-hour rule, building your own layovers, etc.)
  • Commonly believed myths, from searching in incognito to dressing nicely for an upgrade to flying being better back in the day
  • Why cheap flights don’t just save you money, but lead to more and happier trips

Other current topics I’m glad to speak to if you’ve got questions:

  • Europe travel for Americans this summer
  • Vaccine passports fact & fiction
  • Will fares go up as the pandemic wanes? (Spoiler: No! Don’t let them trick you into overpaying!)
  • Mistake fares (like $63 roundtrip to Chile or $309 roundtrip to Morocco, both in the past year) or why airlines occasionally sell $202 roundtrip flights to Japan
  • Whatever questions you’re curious about!

Proof I’m Scott: Hi!

Proof I’m a cheap flight expert: Recent media coverage from Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, Business Insider, and the Washington Post.

Love you all,

Scott

P.S. We’re hiring! Seriously like half my coworkers came via Reddit.

UPDATE #1: Chugging through answering as many questions as I can in loosely chronological order.

For folks wondering about Business Class flights, I've got some good news: it's coming. Sign up here to get notified when it launches ----> https://scottscheapflights.com/elite-signup

UPDATE #2: Sorry for breaking Reddit :( Looks like we're back online and I'm on my 3rd pot of coffee powering through more questions. Here all day!

UPDATE #3: If you're ordering a copy of Take More Vacations—(thank you!!)—bonus points and good juju if you buy from a local independent bookseller. My local Portland favorite is Powell's; you can find local booksellers (including online sales) through IndieBound.

UPDATE #4: Alright y'all I better go take a break and go be a good husband/father/dogfather. I'm obsessed with y'all so I'll answer more questions tonight and into tomorrow. Keep leaving them below and I'll get to as many as I possibly can! <3

UPDATE #5 (May 5th!): Because you all are so awesome and so many great messages, I'm back here this morning answering whatever travel (or other!) questions you've got. Leave your questions and I'll continue responding throughout the day!

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u/Tmurray2791 13d ago edited 13d ago

Any plans to make an app? I've been using the service for about 3 years now and I love it but I feel like my inbox is overflowing as a result.

Edit: Scott, blink twice if Brian is holding you hostage and keeping you from answering this question.

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u/dancoe 13d ago edited 13d ago

They are hiring iOS engineers on their careers page so…. Do with that info what you will.

Edit: from the job description: As Scott's Cheap Flights' first Senior Mobile Engineer you will be key in leading the development of our first mobile app, using Swift to build it from the ground up to create a world class experience that our members will love.

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u/Paddy_Tanninger 13d ago

Ok I'll become an iOS engineer.

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u/Truji11o 13d ago

Don’t forget to come back to Reddit for AMAs to thank us all.

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u/what_it_dude 13d ago

Sorry, they're only looking for people with 20+ years of ios experience

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u/cannibalpig 13d ago

don't forget also being AT LEAST 60 years old, as it's a senior iOS engineer position

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u/what_it_dude 13d ago

No no, they have to be hispanic as it's a señor iOS engineer position

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u/sweetalkersweetalker 13d ago

You'll need 6 years experience on this 3-year-old system.

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u/sad-but-true 13d ago

Hey u/scottkeyes if you haven’t already invested too much in building a Swift app, I’d strongly encourage you to check out Flutter. It’s an open source framework by Google that allows you to build apps for Android, iOS, and desktop from a single code base.

So, instead of having separate Dev teams and code bases to maintain for Android and iOS (potentially with feature disparity between them) you can have one team, maintaining one code base, targeting both platforms.

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u/relevant__comment 13d ago

This part. My inbox has definitely seen better days. I get the whole “need to stay informed” aspect of finding cheap flights and email lists are way more valuable than banner ads. However, a dashboard that I can thumb through on the toilet or while I’m supposed to be working would be muuuuuuch better.

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u/nitroslayer7 13d ago

Please this. I subscribed 5 years ago when I initially saw the post but it can become a bit spammy.

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u/YamiMarzin 13d ago

Yeah would love to have an android app with push notifications on it.

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u/Fiyel 13d ago

I got a cheap japan flight but was under the impression travel there isn't allowed, also flight was cancelled. Am I missing something?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago edited 13d ago

Not allowed to travel there today, but that deal had availability all the way through March 2022 (early cherry blossom season, hello!) when travel will almost certainly be permitted.

Update: Here are my on-the-record falsifiable predictions from 1 month ago about when various places would begin opening up. My prediction a month ago that Europe would open up in June was ridiculed at the time, and has since proven exactly right.

That's not to say my prediction that countries in Asia will begin allowing in vaccinated Americans in October will assuredly be correct as well, but (a) if you disagree I'd love to hear your specific prediction, and (b) if you wait to book future flights until the reopening date is announced, you may be paying for that certainty. The cheap flights could be gone by then as everyone rushes to book.

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u/Pennwisedom 13d ago

I see you haven't met the Japanese government.

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u/torajix 13d ago

It will require something to be faxed no doubt

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u/planesurf 13d ago

“almost certainly”

Bold

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u/testthetemp 13d ago

As someone who's girlfriend is currently working in Japan, very BOLD. They haven't even really begun their vaccine rollout, and Tokyo just went into a state of emergency again.

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u/4everaBau5 13d ago

He has to be optimistic, it's his livelihood. Completely unrealistic imo.

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u/B1GTOBACC0 13d ago

I think next March is a pretty conceivable time to have travel opened up. They may require a vaccine passport, but I expect them to open by then.

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u/DarkDuo 13d ago

As someone who lives in Japan now, I highly doubt it, but once it opens up I’ll miss having three seats to myself when traveling back and forth

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u/hiyori 13d ago

You don’t think Japan will be open in Mar 2022? Even to vaccinated passengers?

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u/pynzrz 13d ago

How long is it going to take for countries to agree on a vaccine passport standard? They aren’t just going to accept a piece of paper when people are buying fake tests and certificates.

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u/lleima 13d ago

There are 17 countries in the EU almost ready with the digital passport. And while I understand that there are countries that like to make people wait for hours in line or even weeks to get simple paperwork done (which shouldn't take more than minutes online), I still hope that with this new situation we are in, this could be achieved with even countries still doing stuff the old way. https://news.err.ee/1608192085/estonian-vaccine-passport-to-be-completed-by-end-of-week

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u/-hellkitty- 13d ago

The EU and Canada are expected to have vaccine certification requirements for travelers worked out by early June.

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u/hiyori 13d ago

Here in the US I’m fairly sure I had to sign a paper that let my health department or cdc or someone know I got the vaccine. If we wanted to we could easily move off of crappy, easy to forge, vaccine cards and link that info with the official passport app that already exists.

Once the EU/Canada lead I’m sure the rest will follow. The Biden administration probably can’t go first on this because of all of the mark of the beast vaccine passport talk. 🙄

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u/[deleted] 13d ago edited 12d ago

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u/Pamander 13d ago

when people are buying fake tests and certificates.

That's really fucking sad. I don't have much more input than that but yeah, if that's happening which I do not doubt given some people I have ran into, that's just wild.

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u/christmaskrazy 13d ago

Yeah.... I live in Japan now. Don’t count on it opening up to tourists for quite a long time.

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u/Sleepy_Sheepie 13d ago

When would you predict it will be open to tourists?

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u/whatever84826 13d ago

They can't even open up to people with jobs. Probably 6 months-1 year after students and workers are finally allowed to enter.

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u/gimmemoarmonster 13d ago

This might be true, but round trip international airfare can quite easily be well over $1500 from most places in the US. It might be a gamble buying a flight to Japan for next year, but if you enjoy travel it isn’t a bad gamble to take.

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u/NewTech20 13d ago

I booked for next year. As a 31 year old, I didn't expect to be able to afford that trip for my friends and I until I was 40. I am so excited. Thank you.

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u/joshlamm 13d ago

Compression socks are my best tip for 10+ hour flights. What's your best long distance travel tip?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Ohh I like that one.

Pack a pen in your carry-on to fill out any immigration forms on board and breeze past everyone who forgot and is furiously filling theirs out right before the arrival customs line.

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u/hotniX_ 13d ago

I straight up have a stack of those forms in my house from my time in aviation and if they're still the same version I already have it filled out minus dates, locations and flight number

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u/BeefyIrishman 13d ago

I travel to HK/ China a lot for work, and always have a stack of immigration forms for China in my bag. I used to carry US and HK ones too, but hit Global Entry for US and Frequent Visitor for HK, so now I don't need to fill anything out for both of those (at least, when incoming through most US airports, one or two have still made me full them out).

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u/hotniX_ 13d ago

Then me and you lived in the same world. This is exactly how I started, I lived in Thailand and would sometimes work in Hong-Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta. It's a pain in the ass to travel and after a while you just start taking every shortcut you can. I bet just like me you travel light, never have a check in bag, always online check in, always have forms Pre filled, always have USD on hand, always have a second smart phone, always have small wallet size pictures of yourself for random visa bullshit... Etc

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u/BeefyIrishman 13d ago

travel light

Yes

never have a check in bag

Unfortunately, I usually am carrying a large pelican case with equipment for work that I have to check, so I usually just check my bag too so I don't have to bother with it. It's annoying, but if I'm already waiting at baggage claim might as well have one less thing to carry through the airport. Also, this allows me to carry larger bottle of shampoo and such because I'm frequently gone for weeks at a time.

always online check in

Again, I have to check the work bag, so I usually just check in while checking the bag. I fly Business class and typically have high enough frequent flyer status to not have to wait in a line to check in anyways.

always have forms Pre filled

Yes.

always have USD on hand

Yes, I am always carrying USD, HKD, and RMB on those trips.

always have a second smart phone

Typically I have my personal phone on airplane mode and use on wifi(but can use in a pinch for only ~$10/day, regardless of how much data I use), then have my work phone that I use on an international data plan.

always have small wallet size pictures of yourself for random visa bullshit

I actually don't have this. Security at my work will make photos for this for us, and our travel department takes care of visas and such for us when doing work travel, so it isn't a hassle for me. I also have a 10 year unlimited entry China visa, so it's not like I have to renew often, and HK issues 30 day Visa's to US citizens on arrival.

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u/hotniX_ 13d ago

Yeah I am a US Citizen as well I did not have the PRC 10 year Visa, I had other 1 through 3 year visas for different countries and OFAC clearance (necessary for US citizens to get cleared in order to have any contact with state entities that have some sanction placed on them) to go to places like Vietnam, Iran, Cambodia, Kuwait etc because I worked as a contractor for an airline but sometimes like you stated I would have to get a visa on arriva in places where Visa protocol is not only different but at times outright corrupt so it's best to come prepared for anything, that's why I have recent photos always ready so I don't get scammed. I also keep no valueble items other than my work laptop, cell phones and shitty watch. Most of the lessons I learned the hard way unfortunately.

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u/C4Aries 13d ago

God I loved Hong Kong

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u/LilFineapple 13d ago

It there somewhere I could go to print these out? Are they the same for every country?

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u/hurryingslowly 13d ago

A lot of countries are moving to apps now. You just have basic info filed in the app and you just answer the standard questions every time you fly in and they scan a QR code which populates info into their computer. Look into it next time you travel internationally.

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u/joe7L 13d ago

Answering as someone who used to travel from US to Japan once a month...noise cancelling headphones AND their adaptors / extra batteries were the most important items I packed every trip and was one of the best uses of money in my life.

Crying newborn? Antsy toddler? Loud couple? Singles flirting with each other? Chatty neighbor? Overcommunicative pilot? Loud plane? Not a problem.

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u/Paddy_Tanninger 13d ago

Singles flirting with each other?

Go on...

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u/joe7L 13d ago

It's cute for the first 10 minutes...but when your flight is 14 hours

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u/LifeIsARollerCoaster 12d ago

On flights I am either watching movies or sleeping so it’s weird that I had this experience. Hot chick flirts for most of the flight and then when we are about to land she starts talking about her bf. I felt so used but still an interesting experience :)

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u/ProjectShamrock 13d ago

Ugh, that reminds me of a flight from Germany to Houston where a single mom who sounded like "The Nanny" with a Russian accent was flirting with a naive Indian consultant in a way that sounded like a scam of some sort. She was very loud in talking for that flight so everyone in the area could hear her.

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u/ChristopherSquawken 13d ago edited 13d ago

I gotta get a better pair, mine have a weird pressure I feel in them (earbuds) and it made me motion sick on my last domestic flight.

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u/HeavyLogix 13d ago

I use isolating ear buds without issue, but noise cancelling headphones including over the ear types bother me due to the fatigue caused by the addition of cancelling noise. It feels like pressure even if the headphones aren’t playing music but the noise canceling is on

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u/The_Brutally_Honest 13d ago

It's called ear suck. Only some people experience it

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u/vrusty23 13d ago

Yeah even I have this issue. Does this mean that noise cancelling over the ear headphones aren't for me until the technology changes? :(

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u/HeavyLogix 13d ago

Good question I’ve only used one brand for an extended time which was Audio Technica. AirPods Pro don’t seem to bother me at all but I’ve not used them for hours

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u/HeavyLogix 13d ago

I’ve just read an article that stated the Sony WH-H900N is a good option for us

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u/candybrie 13d ago

That was fascinating. I've always wondered why I have a problem with noise cancelling but when I've tried explaining to people they have no idea what I'm talking about.

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u/sam_hammich 13d ago

If they're noise cancelling, the pressure you feel is Active Noise Cancelling. The headphones are taking in the sounds around you via external microphones, and then pumping the opposite waveform of that noise into your ears. They interfere destructively in the air in your ear canal and the result is no (or less) perceivable sound. However since sound is moving air, you still feel it, thus the pressure.

If not, maybe they just make a seal that's too good. Look at over-ears instead.

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u/HI_Handbasket 13d ago

Noise cancelling headphones make me paranoid, like some major bad shit is going down and I'm too absorbed and deaf to the world to even notice. Someone once told me "Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you." Thanks, Dale.

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u/Rihsatra 13d ago

I was supposed to go to Japan here in about 6 weeks but that trip just got cancelled. I got noise cancelling headphones for just that reason but I'm still very happy with having them to use all the time now.

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u/DoNotBelongHere 13d ago

Must-have for traveling with kids under 5ish: buy them a new toy or two that they have never seen before. Keep it stashed in your bag, and pull it out when they start to get restless. It’ll hopefully buy you some time before they lose their minds, especially on long flights.

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u/staunch_character 13d ago

My mom used to do this on long road trips. Every couple of hours when I started getting restless & whiney she’d pull out something new. Those Yes/No invisible ink books were my favorite.

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u/Incorrect-Opinion 13d ago

What do compression socks do? Sounds like it would make me lose blood in my feet

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u/joshlamm 13d ago

They actually help blood flow. Sitting on a plane for such a long time at extreme altitudes always make my feet swell and feel really uncomfortable. Wearing compression socks, I never have that problem.

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u/Incorrect-Opinion 13d ago

Interesting.. and they don’t feel uncomfortable or too tight when you’re wearing them initially?

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u/chudapati09 13d ago

It is a pretty snug fit, but that feeling goes away after a bit

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u/ZPhotog 13d ago

Also helps prevent blood clots from being sedentary for a long period of time.

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u/plugin_play 13d ago

I woke up to that email regarding the $200 flights to Japan. Within an hour I round up 7 of my friends to pull the trigger and purchase tickets. I have been a SCF subscriber for going on 4 years now and this was one of the best I have seen.

Things go south. 5 of us realize that our flights were purchased, but the tickets were never issued. Our confirmation number ticket status goes from "pending" to "not ticketed". No good.

Get on the phone with support 3 separate times, wait on hold for 4+ hours, climb the ladder of support employees all while receiving the same answer. Fair difference, thus we need to each pay $800 more. Randomly we see one confirmation number (2 tickets) gets ticketed. Weird? Okay, we are in business.

Reach out to airline on twitter, because screw waiting on hold again. Talk through 3 support employees. Talk to some saint of a person at 10pm. They understand the confusion, especially since a confirmation number with identical original itinerary has been ticketed. He tells me to he will get back to me shortly. 2 hours later all 3 remaining tickets get ticketed. Win.

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u/ILikeBubblyWater 13d ago

Where do I find friends for a spontaneos trip to shit like Japan. I have a hard time even getting them to the next park.

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u/phaeton83 13d ago

I know right. I can't get my friends to agree to meet for lunch, much less international travel.

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u/narrowexpanded 13d ago edited 13d ago

I wish I could say i had a similar ending. Booked 4 tix to Japan as a family trip middle of March. Returning flight on ANA was the only one not ticketed. Received an email from United almost a week later to call them. After 3 hours on the phone with reservations and attempts by the airline to upsale was told they couldnt accommodate the purchase because Nippon Air wouldn't ticket it at that price United sold it at. Asked for supervisor and spent another hour (after they "got disconnected once and didn't call back so i had to go through their phone tree again--30 mins later) with an unrelenting reservationist sup who told me my only options were to cancel/pay uncharge ($5000 !!) or file a complaint on their website.

I filed the complaint and am still waiting to hear back. But my 10 year old son is crushed. He was already listening to "How to speak Japanese" podcasts!

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u/plugin_play 13d ago

The issue that resulted in us not getting ticketed was an ANA return flight. Same scenario. Try tweeting at them and reporting that others have been ticketed after being struck with same inconvenience.

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u/ZPhotog 13d ago

How do you tell if it hasn’t been ticketed?

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u/narrowexpanded 13d ago

When I received the email after purchasing the tickets there was a section that stated: Your seat request with our partner airline is pending. This may take up to 24 hours.

Within the email was a link that said "MANAGE RESERVATION."

Upon selecting that link it took me to United's website with our itinerary. Everything looked good except the leg of our return from Japan said "This flight segment is cancelled or not confirmed."

That spooked me at first but I remembered the 24 hour notice for ticketing in the email. It was 7 days later that I received an email from United asking me to call them. And THAT has been an unresolved odyssey I wouldn't recommend to anyone.

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u/heartohio 13d ago

I had this same issue with that flight. I called United and they required an additional $95 for all four tickets in order to book the tickets. It was actually cheaper though because they honored the seats we had already chosen and paid to upgrade on the other legs.

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u/konanTheBarbar 13d ago

Are there any plans to support European home airports?

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u/impossiblyeasy 13d ago

Pigging off this one, is Canada on the list soon? It's cheaper to go to Vegas (reasons of which I learned and find ridiculous) than to meet my family within Canada.

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Ahh we used to but had to pull back :( we just didn't have the man/woman power to feel like we were doing a good job covering flights departing everywhere around the world. that's why we made the decision to pull back and just cover flights departing 168 US airports, but it was a hard and sad decision, and we're hoping to come back someday.

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u/datflairdoe 13d ago

To daisy chain off of this one..... Australia has like ...10 major airports or less. Could we get access any time soon?

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u/JemisonRide 13d ago

Check out I Know The Pilot! Same type of site, but australian based. They got me $300 round trip flight from Melbourne to Paris 😅 When Scott's was covering Australia (a few years back now?) I'd often get the same deal from both, but IKTP would be first.

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u/Ushi007 13d ago

Second this.

I subbed years ago and was sad to see Scott withdraw from Aus. I hope they come back at some point.

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u/gymgal19 13d ago

Canada doesnt have many airports, would love to see this as an option!

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u/IlyaPetrovich 13d ago

Yyzdeals.com

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u/goatamousprice 13d ago

Also nextdeparture.ca

I find he's usually a bit quicker than yxxdeals, though I'm unsure if he's still active at the moment (he paused due to Covid)

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u/DrHuh 13d ago

Still subscribe from a border town in Canada would love to have my home airport supported again. But still love what you do can't wait for a deal to Australia to meet my niece!

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u/hna 13d ago

I used to subscribe to it. It was very sad to see it go.

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u/fruitblender 13d ago

Jack's flight club is the same thing but for europe. I had US flights come up for 300 euros round trip today, has plenty of good deals if you're near a bigger and even medium sized airport.

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u/HI_Handbasket 13d ago

Scott and Jack aren't on speaking terms right now.

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u/Mendoza_Loki 13d ago

According to science, what is the perfect vacation?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

your *next* vacation

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u/RockLeePower 13d ago

Gary Indiana?

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u/PM-ME-YOUR-TITS 13d ago

Hoosier here, can confirm. Gary, Indiana's economy is based solely on tourism. And meth

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u/Gizmo45 13d ago

Mostly meth.

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u/Loki-Thor 13d ago

What if I already live in Gary?

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u/RockLeePower 13d ago

Go to Detroit

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u/hlessi_newt 13d ago

April 25th.

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u/jjamesyo 13d ago

Ah yes. Not too hot, not too cold.

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u/LouQuacious 13d ago

Not to Japan that's usually Golden Week.

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u/Pennwisedom 13d ago

Unless you're living in Japan, Golden Week is the absolute worst time to go on a vacation to Japan unless you enjoy having everything crowded or sold out.

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u/LouQuacious 13d ago

New Years might be worse a lot of stuff is just closed then. God forbid you arrive in Japan for Golden Week unknowingly and the airline loses your bag. Had to live in Conbini underwear for 3 days that time.

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u/Pennwisedom 13d ago

A lot of stuff is closed yea, but Japan also knows a lot of tourists come around that time. But of the three "big choices", New Year's, Obon and Golden Week, Golden Week is definitely the worst.

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u/lawerorder 13d ago

We scored a cheap flight to Japan a few years ago. Turned out to be Golden Week. Finding places to stay was a nightmare. Still a great trip but I now search local holidays before I buy a fight abroad.

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u/quenual 13d ago

Love them light sweaters

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u/lurker2918 13d ago

How do you feel about the future of points & miles post-covid? Do you expect to see a devaluation? More generally speaking, do you even mess with loyalty programs, or are you upgrade-agnostic and just look for the cheapest possible flight?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

It's funny, I started out in the points & miles game, and then transitioned into more a cheap flight lover. (Though to be clear they are highly overlapping circles.)

We'll definitely see more devaluations—that's the easy prediction—but precisely when is harder to say. Airlines survived the past 12 months thanks in large part to mortgaging their loyalty programs. But devaluations may not materialize in broad ways (there have been small ones from like Delta and Southwest) until 2022.

I definitely mess with loyalty programs, got a whole section of the Pro Tips chapter of Take More Vacations about points & miles. Love the churn game. But if I'm being completely honest, that game was far more valuable before the Golden Age of Cheap Flights (2015 onward) because now cheap flights are so damn plentiful it's become much more accessible for us average joes. But if you're hoping to fly biz class, for instance, points & miles still by far the most affordable way for non-wealthy folks to do it.

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u/Pres-Bill-Clinton 13d ago

What is the #1 mistake people make when purchasing a flight?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Saying they want cheap flights but then making it the last priority.

One of the lessons I go over in Take More Vacations is that the normal way of searching for flights has it completely backward if you're hoping to get a good deal.

Normal way:

Step 1: Pick where you want to go
Step 2: Pick when you want to go
Step 3: Check airfare

By setting airfare as the last priority, is it surprising that we end up getting some pretty expensive flights?

Instead, if you're hoping to get a cheap flight (and be able to take 3 vacations for the price you used to pay for 1) take that same 3-step process and flip it on its head:

Step 1: See where there are cheap flights available from your home airport
Step 2: Pick one of those destinations
Step 3: Pick when you want to go

Set cheap flights as your top priority, not your last priority.

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u/Kaye324 13d ago

What recommendations do you have for when 'cheap' is your second priority'? ie. Kids school/child care vacation schedules dictate the reality of the first priority. Destination can be flexible, but what's the best way to search in these scenarios?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Oh yes, I'm in the same boat with a young daughter.

The good news is cheap flights aren't just for young people with full flexibility. They're for all of us! In fact it's such a central question that I ended up devoting an entire chapter of the book to everything you can do to still get cheap flights even when you don't have flexibility.

In general there are 3 main buckets of flexibility:

  • Where you go
  • When you go
  • When you book

While you don't have flexibility on #2, you've got flexibility on the others, which if properly utilized will go a long way to ensuring you get cheap flights and don't wind up overpaying.

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u/SatNav 13d ago

Good news - but the question was "how?", not "can I?" ;)

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u/ProjectShamrock 13d ago

You can pay for Scott's Cheap Flights service for one thing. However, if you don't, one way that I do it is to monitor things through Google Flights. If you go there and click the "Explore Destinations" link above the map you can play around with the dates and times. You can select "Flexible Dates" but select something like "June" and then "One Week" below it to see where on the map you can fly to cheaply for a week in June. Play around with the options and you can get an idea of what sort of dates and prices are in play.

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u/Reesareesa 13d ago

I’m assuming it’s the same as the directions in the previous reply, but you’ve just got to sort through the “when”s a bit more.

In other words, look for cheap flights from your home airport, then start sorting through them to find one with a “when” that works for you.

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u/aintnoshameinmygame 13d ago

We love to travel but my wife is an educator so we are in a similar boat. What we do is use a flight search tool to search the days that we could potentially take a trip and set alerts for a bunch of destinations and the potential days we could leave/return for each destination. I use Google Flights as I can filter for number of stops, and price then look at a map of potential destinations that are relatively affordable. For example, we're going to Hawaii this fall for a week, we set alerts for the week we want to go leaving on Thursday/Friday/Saturday and returning the following Saturday. The Saturday - Saturday flight went on sale at some point and dropped $250 cheaper than the rest so we bought ASAP. Ideally I do this ~6 months from the trip, then at some point a deal will pop up that seems too good to pass up and we buy.

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u/DonnaCheadle 13d ago

So basically go somewhere with cheap flights rather than go to the destination you had in mind?

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u/[deleted] 13d ago edited 5d ago

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u/ch0och 13d ago

Or when you want to be there.

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u/maybe_little_pinch 13d ago

This is the thing. When you don't have flexibility of when you are going you aren't going to find the cheapest flights. I am planning a trip for November and already if I go when I want to have more time I am paying an extra $200. It is a trade off

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u/elhooper 13d ago

You’d be surprised how often places you want to go come up :) like for my wife and I, round trip tickets to Croatia $450. And then, you’d be surprised how often places come up that you haven’t really thought much of, but the deal is so good that you’d be an idiot not to go! Like my Japan RT for 2022 that I got for $333.

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u/Interesting-Hippo 13d ago

Totally agree! I wasn't planning on going to Japan early next year, but then I saw the deal come out a couple weeks ago and now 4 of us are going for $890 ROUND TRIP! My wife is obsessed with Korea and I've been keeping an eye on flights there but they're super pricey. This Japan deal let me get 2 birds stoned at one. Super cheap flight to Japan (my fav country), and it's a cheap and quick hop skip and a jump over to South Korea. WIN WIN!

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u/cremedelapoo 13d ago

Nebraska here i come!

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u/Comicspedia 13d ago

It might sound silly, but Omaha has the BEST zoo I've ever been to (including San Diego) and is a worthy visit on its own. Omaha is also a fun little "rural city" with microbrews, old school ice cream shoppes, great antique stores, minor league baseball, lots of stuff to see and do.

If I saw a $50/rt fare there that allowed for 2-4 days of travel, I'd jump on that as it'd make for a much better few days than I probably had planned at home.

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u/chazspearmint 13d ago

I'd jump on that as it'd make for a much better few days than I probably had planned at home

This is the thing I think people don't think about. If you can afford a the time off work (even easier if it's a weekend for most) and the stays are practical, that's all it boils down to. Travel just doesn't have to be expensive.

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u/iamcharlesfarley 13d ago

Runza Hut. Makes the trip worth it to me.

But I won't have my zoo defamed again /s.

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u/AllUrMemes 13d ago

I was planning on visiting a friend in Omaha for the College World Series. Never been there before, but I love a good zoo so I will 100% check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

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u/Teanut 13d ago

Strange, it's hard to get cheap flights out of Nebraska...

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

That's part of it, while also recognizing that today's expensive flight may be tomorrow's cheap flight. Be patient when flights are expensive to places you want to go, and pull the trigger quickly when they drop cheap to those same places

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u/TalkingMeowth 13d ago

Sounds like it

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u/relrickman 13d ago

I wanted to go to Europe sometime in the next year, got an email about a $400 flight to Budapest for summer (didn’t really want to go there initially), and loved it!

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u/tinywords_ 13d ago

We did this in 2018 twice! We flew round-trip to Switzerland and Hawaii for about $400 per ticket. We knew we wanted to do a summer trip to Europe, and we knew we could get around fairly easily once we got there. We saw a deal in our email for the target month and booked right away. We ended up visiting the UK, France, and Germany from there. The Hawaii trip was more a case of seeing a great deal and jumping on it because it was over a long weekend and meant missing only a couple days of work. We love SCF! We basically tell anyone with ears about it.

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u/Dolingers_travels 13d ago

Yes! For Europe, We always follow the rule of “get across the pond cheap” bc once you’re there, it’s easy and cheap to take a quick flight or train trip to a more preferred destination

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u/ch0och 13d ago

But doesn't that put you into the vacation during the "off season" in a lot of places?

Been to Vegas in August, not great.

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u/catalinashenanigans 13d ago

Maybe I'm just an idiot but how do you filter by price? Whenever I use travel engines they just provide options to search by location and date. What search engine are you using that allows you to sort by price?

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u/jakec11 13d ago

How do you recommend doing this? Let's say I have a week in November that I want to go on vacation, and I am completely flexible about where I am going to go- how do I see where has cheap rates for that week?

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u/whats_a_weasel 13d ago

Hey Scott! Been a member for quite a few years now. (I was able to take my grandmother on her first international trip to Spain and Portugal for her 83 birthday because of SCF!!)

What has been the best deal YOU'VE taken advantage of and what has been your favorite place to travel to over the years?

Cheers!

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

whoa that's dope!! *love* awesome family trips like that.

the best deal I've ever personally bought was the NYC-Milan $130 roundtrip flight I got years ago that kicked off this whole crazy Scott's Cheap Flights thing.

picking a *favorite* place is like picking between your children, but since I've only got one kid I'll gladly do it: Japan and interior Mexico (Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca)

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u/kunderthunt 13d ago

Hi Scott. Early in the pandemic i nabbed Philadelphia to Australia fights for something like $240 round trip. I was unbelievably excited, told my girlfriend, started planning. Four days later i got a credit to my bank account for the same amount I paid and an email from Air Canada saying they would not honor a ‘mistake fare.’ I was extremely upset and called and got the mega-runaround from their agent. Too late now and it’s water under the bridge but do you want have any suggestions for me or any folks who experience that again? Maybe some way to get SOMETHING out of it since the error is entirely on the airline? Thanks!

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u/csgskate 13d ago

Generally airlines do not have to honor fares that they sold by accident. They basically do the calculus of “what will lose me more money” between honoring the fare and the bad PR that cancelling the mistake fares gets them. Usually unless the mistake fare was bought by a bunch of people it’s easier to just cancel the fares and take whatever bad publicity comes along with it. Not much you can do generally, atleast within the US. Laws may be different around the world

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u/kunderthunt 13d ago

I called and asked the agent to point out where in the ToCs it said they could unilaterally cancel for this reason and his response was, and I’m not even kidding, “uhhh... Canada law”

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u/csgskate 13d ago

He’s partially not wrong. From what I understand the precedent has been set in court that airlines can do this. I don’t think there are laws on the books saying they can but it is a de facto law when courts make consistent rulings in one way.

That sucks though, I personally think airlines should have to eat the fares they sold. Don’t want cheap mistake fares? Don’t make mistakes

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Ughh I am so sorry the airline did you dirty like that. Even though only 10-15 percent of mistake fares get canceled, it's always so frustrating when it happens.

Knowing the what/how/why about mistake fares before the next one pops up is the best way to get the next one, and then it's just hoping that deal is in the 85-90% that get honored rather than the minority that get canceled. I devoted a whole section of the book to mistake fares, but then here's some more info on them here if you're curious: https://scottscheapflights.com/guides/mistake-fares

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u/doublewhiskeysoda 13d ago

Scott, thanks for all your work! I really appreciate it.

I’m American (from Georgia) and so my home airport on Scott’s Cheap Flights is ATL - but I’m only there during the summer months because I’m a teacher and I work abroad. I actually live in southern Africa for most of the year. I’d like to get deals from my local or regional hub to other places.

Will SCF begin including international deals as well - that is, flights within Africa (or Asia or Europe or wherever)?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

hey thank you for the kind words!

we had in the past covered deals departing all over the world, but we realized it was stretching us extremely thin as a company trying to support everywhere. so we ended up pulling back and just covering flights departing 168 US airports, flying anywhere around the world, but not flights originating elsewhere.

hoping to get back someday once we're built up a bit more—when that happens we'll email ya to let you know!

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u/Pipekinesis 13d ago

Hey mr. Scott, what you gonna do? What you gonna do? make our vacations come true 🎶

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

MY TOTS

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u/SAM108 13d ago

How do you see the Airline industry adapting to a post Covid-19 world? Also, what is your personal stance on vaccine passports?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

I got my 2nd shot a few weeks ago and I almost cried I was so happy. I'm *so grateful* to the scientists who were able to develop a miracle medicine so quickly and help accelerate the end of this godforsaken pandemic.

I think the general discussion of "vaccine passports" has been largely overblown because we discuss them like they're a "Do Not Enter" sign when, in reality, they're much more like an E-ZPass Lane. If you've been vaccinated, you can fly to Greece this afternoon, and if you haven't been vaccinated, you can also fly to Greece but you'll need to jump through more hurdles like bringing a negative test.

The airline industry is going to endure some tough times for the next few years, not because travel will continue to struggle, but because business travel will struggle. Airlines make the disproportionate amount of their money from biz travelers, so with them largely sidelined for months/years to come, airline profits look rough. (This is why you often see headlines about "airline industry won't recover for 3 years"—that's because their profits won't recover. It doesn't mean us vacationers won't be able to find good deals, and on the contrary, the deals are even more plentiful with biz travel sidelined.)

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u/BadWolfman 13d ago

With the proliferation of remote work during the pandemic, I wonder if it will every fully recover. The cost savings of meeting over Zoom instead of flying, booking a hotel, renting a car & paying per diems for business trips is enormous.

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u/Truelikegiroux 13d ago

It’s tough to say. I used to travel on average two weeks a month for my job but in the last 52 weeks I traveled for about 5 of those weeks.

For my specific job we anticipate our new ‘normal’ being about 15-20 weeks away down from 26. We’ve adapted our business model and learned we don’t always need to travel to accomplish our goals, but sometimes it is definitely warranted.

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u/pryjar 13d ago

What do you do, if you don't mind me asking?

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u/Truelikegiroux 13d ago

I actually very recently left (Didn’t seem relevant for what I was saying) but I used to be a PM/IT analyst so would travel for sales meetings, trainings, IT installs, etc.

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u/Andychives 13d ago

Hey Scott, I got in on the phx to Tokyo for $225 so excited. You previously scored me a $290 to Barcelona! Thanks!

My question for you is what trip/locale is your elusive golden goose? Where do you want to go that you can never seem to go?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Hell yeah!! Good on you for jumping on those deals, nicely done.

Socotra. It's an island off the coast of Yemen that has the most fascinating and other-worldly looking flora. Absolutely at the top of my someday/maybe list.

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u/TitsAndGeology 13d ago

How do you feel about the connection between air travel and the climate crisis?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Many thoughts! In fact I devoted a whole chapter of the book to flights & emissions, and how I think about personal responsibility vs. collective action on something as massive in scale as climate change.

It's a bit hard to do justice to an entire chapter in a quick Reddit comment, but in short:

  • climate change is very bad
  • air travel accounts for 2-3% of global emissions
  • unlike, say, home heating or cars, there's currently no viable renewable alternative (at least until electric planes really ramp up over the next few decades)
  • the cheaper your fare, the less culpable you are for your flight's emissions. that's because expensive fares incentivize airlines to add additional flights to a route, but when you pay $200rt to visit Japan? that's not giving the airline any extra push to fly more planes on that route if they're having to sell off seats currently for $200 roundtrip

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u/squeezymarmite 13d ago

the cheaper your fare, the less culpable you are for your flight's emissions

25% of emissions come from take off, landing and taxiing. If your cheap flight involves multiple layovers then you are indeed culpable for more emissions than someone on a non-stop, more expensive flight.

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u/OCedHrt 13d ago

No his point is the flights are cheap because that particular flight is happening for other reasons anyways.

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u/theking_of_quedle 13d ago

Hola Scott! Currently living in Barcelona and trying to get back to LA this summer to see family for the first time in almost 2 years. Do you think airlines will restart non-stop services to/from major hubs in Europe this summer or will we continue to have 20+ hour travel with layovers for the foreseeable future?

Also my parents subscribe to your site and send me ridiculous flight info all the time so thanks for everything you do!

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Yes absolutely! Especially on a route like LA-Barcelona there will definitely be more nonstop flights available soon as Europe travel opens up. Airlines (especially US based ones) had largely trimmed their schedules of long-haul international travel to places not open to most tourists, so as those border restrictions begin fading in May/June, expect more nonstop flights added to the schedule.

Tell your parents thank you/they're awesome!!

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u/aptek 13d ago

Hi Scott! Been a member for like three years after seeing one of these AMAs. My question is where do you see your start up going in the next few years? Is there room for expansion? Or is the size/skills of the team kind of stable for the goals of the company?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Ahhh you're awesome u/aptek, appreciate you!

One of the funny things for me about this whole experience is, unlike most aspiring entrepreneurs, I'd never (ever) thought about starting a company. I was just a guy who loved finding cheap flights and sharing what he found with his friends.

As such, I didn't initially approach this whole thing with a 5-year-plan. It was all very reactive for a while. But thankfully my co-founder Brian (way smarter than me) was visionary and saw how SCF could grow beyond just the simple flight alerts we've been doing.

We're building some *amazing* things behind the scenes right now that I so wish I could divulge right now but I can feel Brian's white hot glare on my neck even thinking about it right now. But short answer: we're absolutely building some really fun new stuff behind the scenes, there's tons of room for expansion, and we're still growing (hiring!).

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u/mkvgtired 13d ago

I was a paying member for several years. When I started working after law school the service was so good it ended up being a reminder of all the deals I was not taking advantage of. Now I have more time, so I will likely subscribe again and will definitely read your book.

As a consolation prize I have recommended your service to so many people. It's really one of a kind.

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u/celandro 13d ago

Congratulations on such amazing growth! Amazing you were able to do that without any venture capital. What suggestions would you give aspiring entrepreneurs regarding building a new tech company regarding funding?

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u/NantesWunderkind 13d ago

Hi, Scott! Thanks so much for doing this AMA. With fuel prices back on the rise and some travel restrictions being lifted, do you expect to see higher fares for flights this summer/fall? Would now be a preferred time to buy for that timeframe or is there a better way to capitalize on optimum fares?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Great q.

First the bad news: Cheap flights for this summer are starting to fade away, it's true. But the thing is, summer flights will get pricier because that’s what they *always* do, in large part because all the students/teachers/families who can only travel around the academic schedule. Summers are for airlines what Black Friday is for retailers.

So if you're hoping to travel this summer and want a cheap flight, time is of the essence.

But into the fall and beyond, cheap flights will stay very, very abundant. I could go on for days why, but here's 3 reasons:

(1) If a resurgence of demand = pre-covid airfares (which it generally will), we should be so lucky! We've been in the Golden Age of Cheap Flights since 2015. The pandemic didn’t cause cheap fares. The pandemic *illuminated* cheap fares. $350 roundtrip to Europe has long been common.

(2) Travel demand is rebounding, but so is supply. There are still hundreds if not thousands of planes parked in the desert, waiting for enough demand to warrant being brought back into service. Increased demand = increased supply, not expensive flights.

(3) There's one important lesson to remember anytime someone mentions "fares are going up." You can’t book average fares. You can only book *available* fares. Your neighbor may pay $1,000 to Hawaii—raising the average fare—but who cares? All that matters is how often sub-$400 flights pop up. (They'll continue!)

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u/ImreCamorri 13d ago

Hey Scott, I’ve been a customer for 2 years and have loved the service. You pulled me out of the pandemic slumber through two awesome deals - I’ll be flying to Alaska and Hawaii in the summer. What are the top spots for visitors like me that loves to spend a couple weeks in a region/city, walk the off beaten path, explore local culture and cuisine, etc. (as opposed to resort-style destinations)?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

i so so love that—thank you for the kind words!

my favorite gems for really exploring places (non-resorty): Kyoto, Oaxaca, Taiwan, and Rotterdam. just my own favs though, there are so many out there and the wonderful thing about Taking More Vacations [;-)] is that you can try out more and more places, finding those hidden gems as you go, rather than taking 1 trip a year and confining yourself to the crowded traditional favorite tourist spots

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u/saiven 13d ago

Talk to me about cheap flights with kids. Traveling with kids is its own challenge and I'm often willing to spend more to avoid a kiddo meltdown. So how can I get the best deals knowing that kids are involved?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Ahh I've got a 2yo myself, definitely a new challenge!

A few thoughts:

- Cheap flights are all the more important when you're buying additional seats

- If you're traveling long-haul and you've got a lap infant, get the bulkhead seats. They have bassinets on board available *free* but they only attach at the bulkhead.

- One other tip: checked bags for adults cost $$, but checked car seats (which you can put in an oversized bag) are free. If someone were to point out that there's space for a bag inside the larger car bag, they wouldn't be lying...

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u/KathChalmers 13d ago

Yes! The $20 car seat travel bag on Amazon will easily hold the car seat, two weeks' worth of diapers, and 3 bulky winter coats.

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

yessss parent hacks

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u/peachybutton 13d ago

Be careful with this one! I cloth-diapered my first kid, and brought a small laundry bag of fresh diapers in the car seat on a long visit with family. We made it there with no problem, but got called out at the ticket desk coming back. The agent specifically looked in the carseat bag and made us remove anything other than the carseat. Luckily we had space in our bags to play with, but it was stressful. Proceed with care!

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u/mashworth81 13d ago

We used this trick for years. Until our UAL ticket agents started confirming that there was “only a seat” in the bag on a more regular basis.

Now that my kids are taller than I, the free checked car seat doesn’t seem to work anymore. 🤔😉

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u/saiven 13d ago

We have definitely shoved a giant duffel bag in the car seat bag and it's the best pro tip.

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u/Fuller_McCallister 13d ago

Serious question: what’s the point of these cheap Tokyo flights if the government is not letting foreigners in?

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u/mr_fluffyfingers 13d ago

First found out about Scott’s cheap flights on Reddit! Love your service, and thanks for getting me a $63 round trip, direct flight from Atlanta to Santiago, Chile!! I still pull up the confirmation email from time to time just to be like, is this real? haha. You the man scott!!

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u/Metallic-Force 13d ago

I signed up and realized this isn't available in my country. When do you expect to expand to Canada, Mexico and perhaps the rest of the world?

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u/bsweddingthrowaway 13d ago

He used to do the rest of the world but he stopped a few years back and now just focuses on US. It's a shame, I got a few great deals out of Sydney back in the day.

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u/DW7000 13d ago

Thanks Scott! Love your service!

Any advice on hotel costs? My wife and I love to travel and wish we could use cheap flights to travel to random cities every other week, if only we could figure out how to keep hotel costs down. Even with a dirt-cheap flight, $150/night for lodging adds up pretty quickly. Any advice for people like us who are too old for hostels and too picky for cheap motels?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

hey thank you!

hotel points and credit cards are certainly one way that i've been able to keep travel costs down, but it's not a panacea. otherwise i'm a fan of hotwire's hidden hotel feature where you can book, say, a 3-star hotel in a specified neighborhood at a hidden discounted rate, and then find out afterward what specific hotel it is.

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u/smilingsilently 13d ago

Hi Scott,

Thanks heaps for all your hard work! Do you help with flights from Australia to Europe and elsewhere as well?

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u/Adsykong 13d ago

+1, tell me everything you know about flying from (and around) Australia!

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u/Technical-Amoeba-667 13d ago

Why is Atlanta so expensive for flights to Europe?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

it's not always expensive. one of the cheap flight lessons is that airfare isn't stable, it's extremely volatile. today's expensive flight may be tomorrow's cheap flight, and vice versa.

in fact, there was a deal not that long ago from Atlanta to Amsterdam that was:

  • Monday: $800
  • Tuesday: $300
  • Wednesday: $1,300

the exact same flight, exact same dates, etc.

Ahhhh amazing! Congrats!!

but to the extent of why Atlanta doesn't get more deals, it's largely because the Delta monopoly tamps down competition and prevents more deals from popping up.

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u/ancientflowers 13d ago edited 13d ago

Hey Scott-

I'm curious about the hiring. I've worked as a technical recruiter and an Account Manager. Are you expecting to grow that much in the next year that you need to add a full-time recruiter?

Edit: I also just wanted to add that this is what an AMA is supposed to be. You're actually responding to people and going on 7 hours now!! Thank you!

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

very kind of you to say, thank you!!

yes absolutely! in fact we're hiring for a full-time recruiter right now: https://scottscheapflights.com/careers

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u/gospdrcr000 13d ago

I think reddit is death squeezing your website right now?

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u/anarchycupcake 13d ago

My husband and I were able to get $280 roundtrip (including fees; $560 for the both of us) from San Francisco to Haneda in early 2022 with that recent deal. We've wanted to go back to Japan since the day we returned from our first trip together in 2019, so thank you for helping us get such a cheap fare!

I am a bit concerned about whether Japan will be open again by the time we travel, however. Their vaccination rate is pretty poor for a country of their GDP, they have a history of vaccine hesitancy, and their infection rates are spiking. And the Olympics haven't even begun yet. I know it's really up in the air right now as to when they'll reopen, but in your professional opinion, do you think they'll be accepting foreign travelers in February/March?

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u/DBAddison 13d ago

Hi! Thanks for this long day of answers! #1 : Celebrating my $550 first class tix to Bogota. $215 was great, but I’m so happy about 1st class! First trip booked because of you and your team!

And, #2: What’s the best way to find ‘anywhere’ to go on a specific week for low $$?

For instance a family of four wants to take a trip the first week of august. Anywhere. Foreign or domestic. Just looking for a great deal! (IAH or others)

Apologies if this has already been asked, but there’s so much stuff on this feed. Thank you!!

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u/supershimadabro 13d ago

Hi, I dont have a success story through you but I still had some questions! My wife purchased two round trip tickets to japan for $250/each last week and hours after purchasing they went up to $1800/ each!

I never traveled much before my wife and I just dont understand the pricing. How are some tickets so cheap and hours later the price sky rockets? Why do airlines function like this?

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u/orvn 13d ago

I’ve been a subscriber for a few years! However, I’m just over the border in Canada. We understood the decision, but were a little unhappy when Scott’s Cheap Flights removed Canadian airports as outbound locations (in 2019, I think).

It was also a little insult-to-injury-esque how, a couple of months later, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver were each featured as a fancy destination for American travellers.

I still subscribe with some US airports as my base, but driving/flying over there would often negate the savings I get from the deals you find, not to mention make the experience significantly more cumbersome.

What advice do you have for Canadians seeking cheap flights out of one of the three major cities I mentioned above?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

Aww thank you for the kind words, even when you have right to feel a bit miffed. We felt terrible shutting down deals departing Canada, we just didn't have the man/woman power to feel like we were doing a good job covering flights departing everywhere around the world. that's why we made the decision to pull back and just cover flights departing 168 US airports, but it was a hard and sad decision, and we're hoping to come back someday.

The biggest thing in terms of getting cheap flights out of those airports is to switch up your strategy to put cheap flights as the top priority rather than the normal way of searching that puts cheap flights last. Take More Vacations is all about how to put yourself in a position to get more cheap flights (no matter what country you live in!) but at risk of responding to your heartfelt comment with a salesy pitch, please DM me, I'd be happy to get you a copy of the book on the house.

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u/gstdog 13d ago

Has the way airlines operate post-COVID changed how you approach looking for deals? Are there 'tricks' that used to work that don't anymore? New opportunities that you've discovered?

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

The pandemic changed a number of things about airfare:

- Domestic flights got cheaper bc airlines took all the large jets that were flying overseas and added them to domestic routes

- International flights by-and-large got more expensive bc airlines slashed the number of planes flying overseas

- During the height of the pandemic, the pricing on last-minute flights inverted. Whereas traditionally last minute flights are quite expensive, with biz travel zeroed out and vacationers unwilling to book travel more than a few weeks in advance, airlines started pricing last-minute fares cheap rather than expensive. Unfortunately, things have largely re-normalized on this front with travel rebounding

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u/turned_into_a_newt 13d ago

It seems like the best way to get cheap fares is to be flexible on where you want to go (both the season and day of week). But what about when you need to book for a specific location and date, like for a wedding or long weekend?

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u/specialk1st 13d ago

What are your tips for talking to the airlines and getting a cheap or free new flight if you've missed a connection flight?

Myself and others had this happen with Norwegian Airlines after someone at a Norwegian Air desk gave us bad directions and it was truly upsetting. We all had to pay out of pocket. 😕

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u/DamnitRandy 13d ago

Hey Scott, any tips on for getting cheap flights in Canada? Airfare here is ridiculous and it sometimes seems impossible to get cheap flights, thanks!

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u/scottkeyes 13d ago

You have my sympathies, Canada is one of the worst places for cheap flights (especially domestic flights).

I think you'd really get a lot out of the book. The principles in Take More Vacations are universal (not just for Americans) in how to strategize and put yourself in a position to get cheap flights when they pop up. But at risk of being salesy (which I hate) if the cover price is too much DM me and I'll see about getting you a copy on the house.

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