It takes a lot of effort and planning to organize a vacation or a travel program; one has to go sort out their work, match schedules with travel companions and make bookings, etc, etc… It's a very exhausting and meticulous process that needs confirmation at every step of the way. But life doesn’t always go as planned, and before you know it, you’re scrambling to find a last-minute booking because you missed your flight booking but have everything else in place. This is a very frustrating place to be; you’re hoping for a miraculous save and find tickets, but it’s almost impossible to do so. Almost.
Placing bids on flights is a way to get your hands on your tickets and often at surprising discounts and lower rates. If you’re struggling to find tickets last minute and just need a savior, here's everything you need to know about placing bid on flights last minute:
Where Can I Place Bid On Flights Last Minute?
There aren’t too many places to get your hands on last-minute deals, but luckily for you, some websites and start-ups have ventured towards providing customers with the deals of their dreams. You can check online with your country (since some websites might be restricted to specific countries) and try to find the best bidding website. Some popular websites, though, are Priceline, and Sky Auction.
How to Place Bid On Flights Last Minute?
The process of placing bid on flights last minute is simple and easy; all you have to do is follow these simple steps:
Take A Note of Everything
First and foremost, keep an eye on when you’re planning to travel, what airline you want, which airport is nearest to you, and what class (first-class, economy class, or business class) is most feasible to you. In order to get your hands on the best bid, you’ll need to know the details and keep track of them, so start jotting!
Pull Up Comparisons
Do you know how you compare vouchers way before you even book anything? You’ll still be doing that, but with easier access to information, most websites will offer you a comfortable and hands-on platform where you will be able to compare deals with other companies instantaneously. You’ll need to compare carefully because you’d be looking at several good deals and will need a lot of evaluation to choose.
Research Your Part
Research is extremely important because you’ll have to keep tabs on where the best dealings are suitable for you. And it is important to note that bookings minimum a month in advance will be priced lower in comparison to bookings a week apart, so keep your eyes on advance week bookings to save some cash.
Set Your Bid
After a careful decision, and after you find a great deal, you’ll be placing your bid. The protocol for placing a bid is that if you’re going extreme last-minute (like finding a booking a week before setting off), then your bid needs to be set in a higher tone. A high bid will tell the seller that you’re in need of a booking immediately and that you’re willing to pay a good price for it. Let’s circle back to the price in a minute. A lower bid, of course then, means that you’re looking for bookings last-minute but not in an emergency (like looking for a booking a month before your planned visit), so you’ll have plenty of time looking up other bids before your decision is finalized.
Pricing: Now, coming back to the price, it is important to understand that wherever you go looking for bookings, you might be in hopes of finding a good, affordable deal, but the people or companies selling the tickets are hoping for a good deal too. So, when making a bid, make sure the price you’re offering does not fall too far from the original pricing of the booking and tickets; you have to make sure you understand your seller’s* concerns as much as yours.
However, there are a few tips that can help you choose a good bid. Firstly, make sure that you’re not straying too far from or too close to the actual price. For example, if the original price of a booking is $500, then don’t bid $480 or $300 in the hopes of getting an instant confirmation. Instead, go for a mediated price like $450- $430, so you’re not taking too much from the seller. Remember, the seller is also looking for a deal. Secondly, make sure your bid looks good. This means keeping a check on the other bids placed (if public to you) because you’ll know what kind of bids the seller is getting, so you’ll automatically craft yours similarly to it.
*There are some bidding companies that offer bookings on their own, but there are also some websites where numerous sellers will be auctioning their tickets and bookings. Here, the seller means the latter.
Fill Your Bid
In order to input the bid to the company, you’ll be filling out a form with your preferred flight timing/seller’s offer, your bid, your information (name and contact). After your bid is confirmed and the seller contacts you and assures you will be getting the offer, then you’ll be redirected to a more detailed form where you’ll be filling out your personal information like name, amount of bid, taxes, and credit card information. Don’t worry about filling this because your information won’t be leaked, and if you’re on a trusted website, you won’t be charged before getting a transcript of your booking. Once your payment has gone through, you will be getting a confirmation message and the details of the flight bookings.
Pros and Cons of Placing Bid On Flights Last Minute
While getting to place bids on flights last-minute might be an overall great thing for you, there are some pros and cons to the entire process. Here, they are listed:
Pro: Great Deals
Of course, the entire point of bids on flights is getting to choose what’s best for you, and many websites do offer deals that would keep you giddy for days. This is definitely a pro of bids.
Con: Extra Fee
While you might be happy to get a great deal because the ticket is worth more than your winning bid, some companies require you to pay an extra fee to them in exchange for their services. Obviously, whether you’ll be paying an additional fee or not depends on which website or company you’re looking at, so if you’re lucky, you may not even be paying, but in any case, you’ve been warned.
Pro: All-Inclusive Packages
Don’t underestimate a bid placing website, guys. If you’re happy about finding a great deal, then wait till you actually find out about all-inclusive packages offered by some companies, where you’ll probably find a hotel and (if the package is really, really good, then) airport pickup and drop off services.
Con: You Might Have to Negotiate Against Your Wish
Okay, so don’t confuse this con with the entire purpose of a bidding website. Yes, the whole purpose of placing bids to catch flights last minute is that you’re actually able to go when you had planned, and these websites are making it easier for you, but remember the goal is not giving extremely cheap bookings but giving appropriate bookings in the time frame that’s the most comfortable for you. And some companies offer travelers on the opposite spectrum as you--people who had booked their flights months in advance but suddenly face some form of emergency or anything that’s urgent enough to cancel--looking to get rid of their premium tickets, so their money is not wasted. In this case, you might have to bid according to the seller’s given target; if a ticket/booking costs $400 and the seller actually got it booked in advance for $350, they will probably still place the offer for $400 because they would want to keep an advantage to themselves too. So, this con might restrict your movement.
Pro: Upscale Hotel Bookings
If you’re looking for a good hotel booking too, chances are the ones you’ll find will actually be really great ones. For example, on some popular websites, if you’re searching for a ticket to Vancouver, Canada, then you’ll come across the ticket bookings paired with hotels, mostly ranging from 4 to 5 stars. So, even if your bid isn’t a looker, the hotel surely will be.
Con: But Then Again, You Can’t Choose Your Hotel Bookings
Most websites where you get to place bid on flights last minute will give you good hotels, but you can’t exactly choose them. What this means is that instead of recommending you some specific hotel of your preference, a website will suggest a hotel within the area of your interest. So, if you’re looking at the hotels in Vancouver, they’ll all be rated good but won’t come with the option to switch hotels or branches if you want to.
In the end, it’s necessary to remember that placing bid on flights last minute isn’t something you can find easily, so if you do have the chance to do so, go for it. And, if you can’t place bids online, you can find other alternatives like looking up local travel agencies or asking airlines for a bump to fit you in a tight schedule; but they both are a risky thing to do, so just calmly scroll on the bidding website and enjoy a last-minute save!