I may have the world’s best job: I help people find cheap flights.

(If you're interested you can check out Scott's Cheap Flights here, but no pressure at all.)

Because new year = travel resolutions, I wanted to pop in and answer any/all questions folks had about finding cheap flights or travel in general. Here for next 8ish hours!

I owe so much of Scott’s Cheap Flights’ success to Reddit (it’s grown up here over the years) and there’s no greater pleasure in my day than seeing Redditors go places they hadn’t thought they could afford. (Some recent heartwarming examples of Redditors getting super cheap flights, congrats u/hufflebecks u/PMMeGoodAdvice u/nerdy-two-shoes u/Tooch10 u/ucffool u/PennyPriddy u/alohomoramylove u/tweaq u/iwishiwasbored u/swilson215)

A few brief predictions for 2019:

  • Cheaper oil = cheaper fares. Airline CEOs spent much of the first half of 2018 predicting (wishing?) that airfare will get more expensive, pointing to the rising price of oil. But with the price of oil down 40% in last 3 months of 2018, one of the main drivers of expensive flights is off the table.
  • Worldwide economic slowdown is bad in general but probably good for airfare. Many economists are predicting slower economic growth in 2019 and 2020. When times are tight, discretionary spending like vacations are one of the first items on a family's budget chopping block. Lower demand for plane seats will force the airlines to cut fares in an attempt to woo those travelers back.
  • Hawaii flights are going to get even cheaper. Southwest is set to imminently begin flying from the mainland US to Hawaii (and between Hawaiian islands). Other airlines like Alaska, United, and American have already been dropping their fares in anticipation, but I expect that trend to continue even more in 2019. Plus with free checked bags and free changes/cancellations, many flyers will find Southwest's Hawaii flights especially valuable.
  • Mistake fares will continue. Mistake fares are when an airline or online travel agency like Expedia or Orbitz accidentally offers fares that are significantly lower than normal. For instance, the $130 nonstop roundtrip flight from NYC to Milan that jumpstarted my career in cheap flights. Though not common, they show no signs of abating and should give flyers more opportunities at rare deals in 2019.

Proof I’m me: https://imgur.com/a/ArdEc4k

Proof I’m a cheap flight expert: Recent media coverage from AFAR Magazine, the Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Refinery29, Forbes, McSweeney’s (in a way) and Popular Mechanics (don’t judge cheap flights are big in the tool community)

We send out deals departing every country; here’s some of the best flights we found in 2018:

  • SFO / LAX to Asia in *business class* for ~$600 roundtrip (normally $3,000+)
  • NYC to Paris / Barcelona / Madrid for $292 nonstop roundtrip (normally $850+)
  • Chicago / Dallas / Philly to the US Virgin Islands for $78 roundtrip (normally $550+)
  • Portland to Tokyo for $377 roundtrip (normally $1,000+)
  • London to the Cook Islands for £428 return (normally £1,400)
  • Switzerland to Shanghai for €165 return (normally €550)
  • Australia to SE Asia and Hawaii under $300 AUD return (normally $700+)
  • Toronto to the Azores for $473 CAD nonstop roundtrip (normally $1,100)

P.S. It’s usually not polite to brag but if you’ve gotten a howling deal from Scott's Cheap Flights lately I want to hear where you’re going! When I’m not on the road traveling vicariously through you all is the tops.

UPDATE (1ish pm PST): Technically it's been 8 hours but really what is time but a social construct. Eff it let's go another few hours what do y'all say? Doing my best to get to as many of your comments as I possibly can. You all are the flippin best

UPDATE 2 (4:30pm PST): I just took a coffee bath and I've got a few more hours to spend with my Reddit family let's keep this going why not

UPDATE 3 (8pm PST): I wish I could quit you!! I've got 90 minutes left until I can go no more please for the love of god I've got a family

UPDATE 4 (10pm PST): Taking a little sleep break. I've had an absolute blast chatting cheap flights these past 17 hours. Will do my best to answer more questions when I wake up :) Leave them in the comment section I'll try to get to as many as I can!

UPDATE 5 (6:30am PST): Tanned. Rested. Ready. Let's go at this for another few hours shall we

UPDATE 6 (10:30am PST): I am pooped. This has been a blast. Tried to get to as many questions as possible; I'll be doing Facebook Lives every couple of weeks to take more questions about cheap flights, travel, etc. Much love and may 2019 be another incredible year for cheap flights!!

Comments: 2478 • Responses: 106  • Date: 

Jzsjx9jjqz1613 karma

Any big travel site offer to buy you out or shut you down?

scottkeyes2457 karma

Ain't nobody shuttin us down

Jzsjx9jjqz684 karma

What about a buyout?

scottkeyes1290 karma

Nah no buyout offers

nodeath3701552 karma

Good to put a face to the name of the guy who signs all emails with "Love, Scott's Cheap Flights"

Just wanted to share a story from our honeymoon (which we booked flights from a SCF email)... We went on this semi-private wine tasting (~15 people) in Tuscany and met a couple from California who had traveled a bunch. As we were talking about travel/trips, the wife said in a hushed voice "have you heard of Scott's Cheap Flights?" as it was some sort of secret club. I told her we booked this trip through it and were premium members. We ended up talking about how great it is and how it's allowed them to travel the world. They said their favorite place to visit has been Thailand, so I'll be keeping my eye out for cheap flights to Thailand in the future!

scottkeyes1090 karma

Lol!! Oh man that is so amazing. I've always wanted to be talked about in hushed and revered tones. That is so cool! What a great small-world encounter. Congrats to you on the Tuscany honeymoon! To many more cheap flights (hopefully including Thailand) to come.

potablepotents264 karma

Just to piggyback, I was able to utilize a $500 AA voucher ( which I received from giving up a seat on a domestic flight for a one hour later flight ) for a trip to Spain which I found through your service. I got the $430 roundtrip flight with the voucher, so it was essentially at no cost to me.

I walked up to the counter at my smaller airport in town and requested the specific flight number on the specific date seven months in advance. The clerk seemed a bit curious as to why I had such a specific flight picked out until she saw the price. Her face of bewilderment gave way to surprise immediately and she leaned across the counter looking both ways before asking “Oh my God, tell me your secret!!” Hopefully you got another happy customer that day.

Thank you for your honest service, Scott.

scottkeyes86 karma

Wow! That is so cool!! Ahahaha I'm gonna brag about that one :)

StilScratchingMyHead1333 karma

Hey Scott, (Paid subscriber here). Love your service! Any chance of adding domestic flights to your listings? Id love to find some flights out west to the ski slopes.

scottkeyes1343 karma

<3 <3

Appreciate the feedback! We do cover Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands for domestic flights, but aside from Alaska nowhere to ski in there. Domestic flights are cheaper to begin with (thus less potential savings) so we've avoided them to the lower 48 because we want to be respectful of people's inboxes and not overload them. But this feedback is great and continues to inform our thinking, so keep it coming

twoyearsoflurking1020 karma

Please please please include domestic flights!!!! Maybe add a second list people can opt into? If they don’t want too many emails they unsubscribe from one or the other?

scottkeyes729 karma

Intriguing idea. Thanks for that! Will give it some thought :-)

calr0x91 karma


Wife and I went to Hawaii in 2018 from Chicago for $360/ea from your notification! We were the envy of EVERYONE and on the plane, while telling the flight attendants about your service, met another couple there from your service as well!

Thanks a ton! SO worth the value! Imo you could def get away with charging more...

scottkeyes78 karma

Wwwwwow! $360 from Chicago to Hawaii is just absurd. Congratulations!! <3 <3

el_smurfo62 karma

Agreed. Came in looking for a domestic flight and disappointed you don't provide this service

scottkeyes309 karma

Appreciate the honest feedback, really!

The reason we don't is we want to make sure we're not sending out too many flight alerts and people start feeling overwhelmed/spammed. Domestic flights average $300 and a great sale would be $200, which, don't get me wrong I'd rather have that $100 savings than not but I'm not gonna drop everything and book a flight that's $100 off. Conversely, normal flights to Europe are $1,000 roundtrip give or take, and often go on sale for $400 roundtrip and sometimes less. $600 savings is a drop-everything moment, and so we wanted to really focus on those big wins, making international travel accessible for people who thought it was unaffordable.

Does that make sense?

Veiled_No_More155 karma

Focusing on big wins to make international travel accessible for people who thought it was unaffordable is great. We are a subscriber.

If you add domestic flights as well, the savings add up when flying a family for a trip in the lower 48. Flying as a family is usually the most expensive part of a family trip. You could hit a brand new demographic of families with domestic flight deals, in addition to individuals and couples.

Go Scott's Cheap Flights!

scottkeyes73 karma

<3 <3 thank you! and thanks for the feedback!

therbst44 karma

Yes! Please start doing flights to the lower 48! I‘ve been searching for the SCF of domestic flights for years.

scottkeyes33 karma

Appreciate the feedback! Thank you

Siccy560 karma

Hi Scott (former premium subscriber here took advantage of YYZ to New Zealand last year), my credit card expired on the annual renewal and I continued to receive premium emails until I informed you guys about the error, not sure if I was a loophole or it was a recurring problem but wondering if you got that problem fixed?

Truthfully, I hoped my honesty would have kept me on the premium subscription but...it's for the greater good :)

scottkeyes484 karma

Ha! Appreciate that honesty :) Yeah still working out a few bugs in the system! Been spending too much time flight searching and not enough time coding.

scotto12345445 karma

Hi Scott,

Because of mine and my wife's schedule it's not easy for us to make a quick decision when one of your deals come up. We usually have to check to see if she has the time off and the request it from work, etc. I love flying Southwest because they allow you to cancel and keep your funds as well as will honor lower fares for the same flight with no penalty. Do you know of any other airlines with similar perks?

scottkeyes1069 karma

That makes total sense. I love Southwest as well for that very reason. Free changes/cancellations are so clutch. They're the only airline with that good of a perk for non-elite status folks.

Are you familiar with the 24-hour rule? It's one of the absolute best perks for travelers but many folks aren't aware. When you book directly with the airline, federal regulation requires the airlines to give you a 24-hour grace period afterward during which you can cancel your ticket without penalty.

I've booked flights before where my wife was at work and I knew I couldn't reach her for a few hours. So rather than risk an amazing fare disappearing, I booked two tickets for us, knowing that I'd locked in the price for 24 hours and we could decide that night whether to keep or cancel the tickets.

colche484 karma

24 hours AND at least 7 days in advance. That is very important. They will not refund even if it is 6.5 days.

scottkeyes313 karma

Great point — they're not required by law within 7 days. But each airline's policy differs a bit as to how they handle it. The Points Guy actually had a great article on this the other day, I was surprised how many were accommodating within the last week:


HelloJoeyJoeJoe91 karma


I've called into United many times for this. All the reps were well aware of the 24 hour rule, but not about the 7 day rule.

In 2018, I've cancelled 4 flights within 24 hours of booking but within 7 days of the flight departure- All with United. They were surprisingly accommodating.

scottkeyes52 karma

Fascinating. Thanks for the data point

sliquechaos331 karma

i think it's worth nothing that any flight to and from the US is subject to this 24 hour rule, not just domestic travel within the states, but a requirement for any flight coming or exiting from the US.

scottkeyes147 karma

Yes, great point thank you!

quietkettle364 karma

Hi Scott! I work for one of the big 3 US airlines in data and while we have access to some of the more internal data for standby travel, when we want a backup flight or a confirmed ticket, everyone in the office uses Scotts!

When I see a mistake fare for my airline though, I cringe because I know that hits my bottom line and personal pocketbook. What interaction do you have with airlines re mistake fares? Do you have any indication that revenue management departments of airlines subscribe as a fail safe checking for mistake fares?


scottkeyes146 karma

Ahh hello! That is so cool to hear I can't even tell you! Put a big old grin on my grill.

Great question re: insiders on the list. I've always assumed it's more difficult to fix a mistake fare than just simply flipping a switch, which is why they don't get immediately rectified.

Would love to chat with you further after this AMA dies down. I'll PM you see if you're interested

iate2watermelons294 karma

Would you consider starting a charity called Scott's tots? It encourages inner city kids to maintain straight A's throughout primary education in exchange for a full college scholarship.

tubularjohnny257 karma

Hey Scott, I run a somewhat similar site/service (www.freefoodguy.com) where I share free or heavily discounted food deals with people. Even though I probably have an order of magnitude smaller reach than you do, the subscriber list is large enough that there's a sort of "Free Food Guy Effect"--when I share a deal/loophole I've found, thousands people can stampede to the deal leading the restaurant to immediately shut it down. This happened with a Papa John's loophole I had exploited for months to get tons of Free pizza--shortly I shared it with the FFG community, the loophole was closed.

Do you notice a similar effect with Scott's Cheap Flights? When you share a deal, tons of people stampede toward it resulting in it quickly get yanked? I guess the concern is that as SCF grows and becomes more well known, it paradoxically becomes less useful because now any deal you share will be swept up before the vast majority of subscribers has a chance to see it. I'm curious if you've thought about how to address this as SCF grows in popularity--more and more premium tiers where the more you pay, the earlier you learn about the deals?

scottkeyes218 karma

This is a really great question. Almost a Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for flights, is there a way to highlight a deal without killing the deal.

The good news is that we haven't actually found this to be much of a problem in reality. Typically when an airline runs an unadvertised sale (like the $400 roundtrip flights from across the US to Europe we regularly see) they put a ton of US cities up, a handful of Europe cities, and a ton of dates. Working with some theoretical numbers here, let's say there's 100 US cities, 15 Europe cities, and 100 different dates (not atypical at all). That means there's ~150,000 available flights. Now, on the flip side even if we send that deal to millions of members, the likelihood that any given person will book any particular deal is extremely low. After all, most of our members tend to book 2 international flights per year.

Now, not saying this could never be a problem, but I think we'd have to be at least 10x as big as we are today to start encountering even the penumbra of this issue.

At the end of the day, airlines have a fixed number of seats up for sale, so we want to make sure it's our members who get first crack at them :)

Thanks for the thoughtful question!

tubularjohnny16 karma

That's great to hear! I'm planning a trip to Europe sometime in May or June, so I plan on becoming a paid subscriber soon and am hoping something good will come my way. Thanks for doing what you do!

scottkeyes14 karma

Fingers crossed!!

impsythealmighty233 karma

Hey Scott! I feel like we’re friends because I talk about you to people so much. (I may have said “my buddy Scott” on a few occasions...) Been a subscriber for two years and taken several amazing trips thanks to you - a highlight was San Antonio to Nice, France (and the Cinque Terre, while we were there!) for $450, paid for with points!

We’re hoping to go somewhere in Europe in May but most of the deals I’ve seen lately are January to March. Think we missed our chance or do you think some are still coming? Thanks for everything you and the team does!

scottkeyes225 karma

\friend request accepted**

That's so awesome!! Congrats, that's a steal of a price especially from SAT.

I think there's still a strong chance something pops up for May from SAT. I'd keep your eyes peeled a bit on AUS as well just in case, but we're far enough out from May and that's still before the summer rush that I'm hopeful something cheap will pop up for ya :) we'll keep our eyes peeled!

impsythealmighty35 karma

Haha! You’re the best Scott. Thanks so much! I’ll keep spreading the good word! ;)

scottkeyes32 karma

<3 <3

Snoweyedeer228 karma

Flights from Australia aren’t usually very cheap, what tips do you have for getting off this god forsaken island and voiding off into the fun places?

scottkeyes209 karma

Lol hey my coworker is Australian don't want to offend her. (checks with her) Ahh yes seems your story checks out, my apologies.

There have been some really great deals from Australia lately! Sent out an $897 AUD nonstop flight to Los Angeles in peak summer earlier this month, and you can hop up to Asia in the $300s AUD or less pretty regularly.

Snoweyedeer69 karma

Hahaha yes she’s escaped the sweaty clutches of our Australian shores!

Thank you, you’re so wise! Magnificent work you do!!!

scottkeyes45 karma

Far too kind, thank you!

HadHerses13 karma

you can hop up to Asia in the $300s AUD or less pretty regularly.

What you mean like to Australia's 7th state, Kuta?

scottkeyes19 karma

lolol someone referred to Bali once as "Australian Cancun" and that's all I can think now

ApatheticAbsurdist205 karma

Are there any such things as real "last minute" flight (eg: less than a week before departure) deals or do airlines avoid dropping prices to fill seats? There are a number of weeks where I've gotten ahead of my work in NYC and would happily hop up to Boston for the weekend if there was a cheap flight available.

scottkeyes429 karma

20 years ago: yes.

Today: not really.

Airlines used to slash prices in the last week before departure, reasoning that any unfilled seat at takeoff was just lost potential revenue. Nowadays, they've decided that the people most likely to book in the last week aren't leisure travelers who are very price sensitive, but instead business travelers who are very price insensitive. They don't care what a flight costs because their company is paying anyway.

One way you can try to get around it is by traveling on a Saturday. Businesspeople rarely travel on Saturdays, so even last-minute flights are often cheap that day.

999Sepulveda180 karma

Big fan, but haven’t bought a flight yet. Two questions:

  1. How do you decide which flight to share for free and which goes only to paying subscribers?

  2. For a big airport, LAX doesn’t get as many listings as I’d expect. Is it just a high-priced location?

scottkeyes273 karma


(1) We typically send about 1/3 to 1/4 of deals to free members, and when we do it's on a 30+ minute delay. Love all our members but obviously want to make sure we're doing our best to provide value to folks who opt for premium, so they get all the deals instead of a limited selection, filtered for their home airport(s) instead of larger regions, no ads, etc.

(2) Interesting! I'm actually a tad bit surprised to hear that so I went and checked our records. Looks like in the past week there've been 9 deals sent to premium members departing LAX, tied for 6th most of any US city. Not #1 or #2, of course, but volume is gonna be somewhat variable especially since we only want to send out really good deals instead of wasting people's times with just so-so deals in order to meet some quota.

cheluhu126 karma

Hi Scott!

SCF premium subscriber! Found you here on Reddit about 2 years ago and so far have been to (ready?) Honolulu, Bangkok, KL, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Auckland, Wellington, Papeete, Copenhagen, Malmö, Madrid, Denpasar, Munich - and upcoming Sydney, Cancun and Tokyo. All from your emails! (yes, I submitted for most frequent traveler but didn't make it :/ )

My question for you is - when will you start Scott's Cheap Stays? With all this travel, also need some cheap options for staying (but not hostels - nothing against those who like them but I want my own room and bathroom!).

scottkeyes115 karma

Hello! And thank you!

Ummm wow! That is absolutely mad. You're certainly in the cheap flight hall of fame with that record.

Ha! I love that. I'll give it some thought. I'm not quite as familiar with hotel deals to be 100% transparent, but I too am a bit past the hostel days. In the meantime I'd recommend extremehoteldeals.com.

najing_ftw99 karma

I gave my dad a subscription last year, and he uses it all the time. He also spreads the gospel.

Have you thought of expanding to cruises?

scottkeyes156 karma

Ahhhh so cool! Tell dad I said thanks!!

To be 100% honest expanding to cruises isn't something I've given a lot of thought to — I don't know very much about the industry, how they're priced, how often they go on sale, etc. Would be cool though, if you start that list let me know I'll be the first subscriber!

cruzweb97 karma

What are the best options for those of us who live in smaller cities that don't usually see crazy good deals for international travel?

Is it better to find a way to get to where the cheap flights are or just keep trying to find the cheapest flights where you fly out of?

I'm in St. Louis and unless it's a southwest flight somewhere, I feel like the only option I ever have is to drive to Chicago if I want really great airline deals. Or get a flight to the west coast for a trip to Asia, or Boston / NYC for anything to Europe.

scottkeyes228 karma

Great question. A few thoughts.

(1) Patience is your friend. A typical flight from St. Louis to Paris is going to cost $1,400. But every 6 weeks or so, there are widespread sales to Europe from nearly every US city, dropping fares down to $500 roundtrip or lower. If you're patient and wait to book until one of those big Euro sales, you'll save $900 off normal flight prices, something that'd be impossible in places like Chicago or NYC since their normal flight prices to Europe are more like $800.

(2) Chicago is your friend. It's a long drive, yes, but a short and relatively inexpensive flight, often times $75 roundtrip or less. Flights to Europe or Asia out of Chicago are regularly in the $400s roundtrip, so even adding the cost to buy a separate ticket from STL to Chicago you're still looking at $500 in flights vs. $1,400+

cruzweb64 karma

Thank you so much for the well throught-out answer, definitely gives me a lot to consider as we look to book adventures this year!

scottkeyes16 karma

My pleasure! Best of luck

Lolai_LaChapelle80 karma

This is my first time hearing of your site, and it sounds fantastic! I'm wanting to sign up for the premium membership, but I a little worried about my location. Your site and the comments here seem fairly US-centric as far as home-airports go. I am living in Germany, wanting to go most anywhere. Do you provide many deals on flights originating in Germany?

scottkeyes60 karma

Absolutely! Where in Germany do you live? I can give you a sense of some of the recent deals we've found from your home airport

Lolai_LaChapelle27 karma

In Stuttgart! Thanks for the reply!!

scottkeyes83 karma

My pleasure! Here's some recent fares we sent out to premium members from Stuttgart:

- €288 return to New York City

- €289 return to San Francisco

- ~€450 return to all over Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, etc.)

- €488 return to Zanzibar

- €379 return to Bangkok

Lolai_LaChapelle34 karma

Awesome, those are fantastic. Thanks for your time!

Edit: with those all being return flights, I assume I would need to find a one way ticket back to Stuttgart?

scottkeyes103 karma

Nope! They're return flights, as in that price includes both the outbound and return flights

stetoe68 karma

Hey man, thanks a lot for your service. I had amazing direct flights to NYC, Mexico City and Cape Verde for a total of 600 euro's. I owe you a lot. Are you ever planning on adding Rotterdam Airport to your list of departure airports? That would be amazing. Thanks!

scottkeyes79 karma

Wow! That is amazing.

Lemme check with the team about adding Rotterdam. I was there about 6 months ago and it may be my new favorite city in all of Europe no lie

stetoe21 karma

I know! As a poor student, I would've never been able to see these parts of the world if it wasn't for you and your team.

Glad you enjoyed it so much. People usually prefer 'the other Dam'. Thanks for looking into it!

scottkeyes20 karma

I've been there. Glad we could help <3

thebuddywithglasses59 karma

How often do you travel? How early should you be booking your flights?

scottkeyes149 karma

A few international trips a year. I'm not one of those people who can happily spend months at a time on the road, but if I go too long between flights I start to get antsy -_-

In terms of when to book flights, your best bet is 1-3 months in advance for domestic flights and 2-8 months in advance for international flights. Add a couple months if you're looking to travel during peak summer or Xmas. And the key is not to book any old fare during that timeframe, but whenever there's an especially good price.

Mdemmons47 karma

Hi Scott! I love (and pay for) your service and I've saved at least a couple thousand dollars last year alone! So thanks! My question is about hubs.

Why don't we see many deals from airlines at their own hubs? For example, it's rare to get a deal on Delta from Atlanta. But United often "attacks" Delta's routes in Atlanta. Why doesn't Delta lower their fares here to compete with those instead of just reciprocating in United hubs? I'm a Delta Platinum in ATL and this annoys me! :-)

scottkeyes74 karma

Ahhh thank you!! It is honestly such a joy to hear from you — kudos to you for jumping on cheap flights and not paying more than you have to!

That's an excellent question. Let's take Delta and Atlanta. Delta flies to hundreds of places nonstop from Atlanta, whereas United and American only fly nonstop to their own hubs. Delta has tons more flights, so if you need to leave at a certain time of day they're far more likely to have a flight suiting your needs. Any corporation in Atlanta almost certain does their business travel through Delta. And they press that advantage by offering loyalty perks (checked bags, upgrades, etc.) so people aren't tempted to leave Delta.

Because Delta offers so much else, they don't have to compete as much on price in Atlanta. American and United, meanwhile, have very little of the Atlanta marketshare, but the one thing they can try to do is occasionally undercut Delta on price in an attempt to poach their flyers.

Mdemmons29 karma

Thanks for your answer, Scott. My best deal from "Atlanta" was when the price to Indonesia was $520 from Philly! I got a 12.5k RT Delta flight to PHI and went to Indonesia from there - normally $1300-1400!!

scottkeyes27 karma

Whoa!! Man that is a screamer of a deal. And kudos to you for being willing to jump up to Philly for a great flight! Sometimes the best deals pop up in places other than our home airport and it can still be 100% worth it to buy and do like you did, just get a separate ticket up to the jump-off point.

Eng4G316 karma

If I can tack on a follow up here, how would you recommend taking this approach? I’m always nervous if it is not a linked itinerary, what happens if the first flight is delayed and you wind up missing the main “deal” flight?

Scott I am also a subscriber and my wife and I flew to London last year for a 12 day trip for $450 RT per ticket due to a fare you emailed out. We actually then found the fare through our Chase UR so we used our points to book the extra cheap fare. Amazing experience! Thanks for such an awesome service!

scottkeyes16 karma

I like to build in some buffer time, sometimes even a day or two if I can. What's ideal is if the city is somewhere I have friends, I'll just come up a day or two early, catch up with them, and then get on the cheap flight I bought.

Amazing!! That is so great to hear. Congrats on your travel successes! To many more trips to come.

Bobbista40 karma

Do you have any environmental concerns? In the Netherlands there’s a new ‘hot’ word that the media is picking up: Vliegschaamte or flight shame, directly translated. Some people are starting to feel bad about taking (unnecessary) flights, and some other people are actively promoting flight shame to make others feel bad to try to reduce airway traffic. How do you feel about promoting people’s use of aviation services when this is one of the largest (somewhat avoidable) pollutants in the world?

P.s. don’t mean to bring you down or cramp your style. I’m sure you’re doing a great job and helping people in a way, but as an environmental psychologist I’d be interested in your view

scottkeyes46 karma

This is a fascinating topic for me. Obviously there's no doubt about the peril of climate change and that airplanes are a significant contributor. How do we balance that against (a) the alternative peril of not traveling and learning about the world, and (b) the multitude of other activities that contribute to emissions?

What's especially interesting to me though is the argument that cheap flights carry far less blame for emissions. Without getting too far into the weeds of airplane economics, it's generally business class revenue that's giving profits to the airlines and determining what routes & how often they should fly. Because a 787 plane that takes off with 100 passengers emits roughly the same greenhouse gases as a 787 plane with 250 passengers, should we look differently at the $400 economy seats to Europe than the $4,000 first class seats? I think there's a strong case to be made that we should.

I could go on for a while about this stuff — a fascinating question. Thanks!

TheKyoukai35 karma

Hey Scott! I love your service and have recommended it to so many people. In fact I'm going to London over the upcoming long weekend because of one of your deals.

How come we typically don't see cheaper flights from the US to African countries?

scottkeyes72 karma

<3 <3 that's amazing! If I may be bold and make a recommendation get high tea at the Saatchi Gallery. It's a delightful setting, affordably-priced, and as Mary Berry would say absolutely scrummy.

Africa doesn't go on sale nearly as often as I'd like because there's just not that much competition on most routes. That said, we had a string of amazing fares to Africa last month, from tons of US cities to all over Africa in the $500s roundtrip. Definitely somewhere we're always searching for more cheap flights to

6seed29 karma

Hi Scott,

Congrats on your business model, good idea and well-executed, I'm sure you're seeing increasing copy-cats.

On to my question: I need to learn more about how to earn travel with credit card spending, as I am about to be in position to be potentially putting some very large expenses on a card for this reason (and then pay off within billing cycle to avoid any fees or interest). When I google sites it's really hard to tell the difference between independent advice and junky clickbait commission-based advice. So a) does SCF ever plan to give advice in this arena, and/or b) can you recommend a favorite place to look for independent advice on this topic?

scottkeyes63 karma

Yes, commission can be an incredibly corrosive part of the travel/credit card industry.

Are you familiar with Doctor of Credit? They're generally regarded as the best unbiased site on credit cards/points, and they don't do kickbacks. r/churning is helpful too!

6seed8 karma

Thanks for the reply, I will look at Doctor of Credit.

I've been to r/churning and been scared away that it's more for dedicated experts into a type of extended system-gaming, the conversation is intimidating for newbies. But based on your nudge I now see excellent sidebar material including a daily "which card should I choose" advice thread and a decision flowchart on that subject. Reddit wins again.

scottkeyes17 karma

Yeah, r/churning isn't the most inviting for newbies for sure. Doctor of Credit has some great roundups of all the factors in points/credit cards: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/doctor-of-credit-posts-you-should-have-bookmarked/

If you want a simple intro site to help learn the basics, I'd check out Million Mile Secrets. They have some nice beginner guides, and then you can always shift your attention to places like Doctor of Credit when you've got the basics down.

PtyP50726 karma

Hey Scott, we heard about your service from a neighbor and are about to sign up. Is it true you basically have a team doing manual searches for this? I still can't get over that.

scottkeyes84 karma

Yep! One of our core truths is we never spam people's inboxes. We only send out exceptional deals that our flight experts have found by hand and passed some rigorous criteria on price, routing, airline quality, etc.

If you had told me 5 years ago that "flight expert" could be an actual salaried job with full benefits and everything I never would've believed you, yet here we are

Andalusian_Dawn26 karma

You probably won't see this, but you are probably the only reason my husband and I get to travel. I've found several great deals to the UK through you, and have been mightily tempted to fly off to Paris at some of the great rates. And this is the only subscription besides Prime and Netflix I will pay for. Totally worth it.

A quick question: Is there a way to focus more on the regular economy deals, instead of base economy? A preference I can check? I hate base economy with the passion of 1000 suns and generally will pay the extra, which is their point, I'm sure.

scottkeyes20 karma

Not only did I see this but my heart is so warmed from reading it! Great company with Prime & Netflix :) Thank you for the kind words!!

I completely understand that sentiment, and really appreciate the feedback. Do you find it helpful in the emails when we mention the cost to upgrade to regular economy, or is it just a bit annoying seeing the topline price that's not as relevant to your preferences? This is helpful in guiding our thinking as we design improvements

Quirky_Aardvark18 karma

How often do people have to travel to benefit from your service? Often "cheap flights" is code for "tiny plane and 4 stopovers"--which isn't family friendly. Have you had luck finding deals that would work for people with kids?

scottkeyes101 karma

For sure. I just had a kid myself so I'm keen on the lookout for enough seats for the entire fam.

Every deal we send out we run through a quality-assurance test. Is it a terrible airline? Don't send. Does it have 4 stops? Don't send. Is it a normal price? Don't send. Does it only have 1 or 2 dates or seats available? Don't send.

This is the main reason we don't take commissions and instead have a premium membership: it lets us only send out deals we truly believe are excellent flights, rather than having an ulterior motive.

ilsbictt17 karma

Hi Scott! I really love your service and have been subscribed to it for about 2 years now! What I love is that it gets me thinking about going to destinations I've never thought of or even considered!

One question I have for you is how do you find the mistake fares? Is it just luck of the draw when randomly searching for a fare? How does your team go about searching for these great fares, do they just randomly input departure and arrival cities?

Keep it up! I truly enjoy receiving your emails, and drop everything I'm doing to see what new deal is out!

scottkeyes34 karma

I love hearing that! I remember for years at my job before this the enjoyment of daydreaming about far off lands, so I'm glad I can help provide that to others. Yeah, mistake fares are the holy grail. They don't pop up often but when they do it's sweaty palms white knuckle heart-racing action. There's no real secret to finding them, just a matter of spending hours and hours searching every day. It's like panning for gold. If I go out in the river once a month and spend 5 minutes looking for gold, not terribly likely I find one. If I'm there 14, 16, 18+ hours a day, every single day, searching for gold, I'm gonna get that gold eventually :-)

throwawaynomad1237 karma

FYI Mistake fares aren't always honored by the airline so those may be a gamble.

scottkeyes14 karma

Fair. If past experience holds true about 80% of mistake fares get honored, but best practice to wait a week or two before making any non-refundable plans

skyderskynet13 karma

What are your thought about Turkish Airlines?

Why are they way cheap?

Also Do you mainly use google flights for all your searches What are your favorite tools besides Google Flights and momondo?

I found roundtrip Pittsburgh to Lviv Ukraine for 714 on Turkish airline anytime to fly:)

scottkeyes31 karma

I'm a fan. They're generally regarded as the best rated airline in Europe.

I think the cheap fares owe some to the hangover from the 2016 coup attempt and subsequent crackdown. Many people weren't comfortable flying them, so they cut fares to try to woo flyers back.

Google Flights is used for almost every search. Skyscanner is another great one especially in Europe. The dirty secret is for most searches the fare is going to be the same regardless of which flight search engine you use.

Lviv! What a wonderful city. Spent some time there a couple years ago and been itching to get back

gurdeep1911 karma

Been a member for 2 years now! Love the Twitter page! Any tips on best days for buying flights? Does it really matter?

For anyone that buys flights on the regular, premium subscription is 100% worth it!! The money you end up saving in the end is insane!

scottkeyes15 karma

Amazing! Our social media guru is awesome huh?

You're in luck: it doesn't matter what day of the week/month/year you buy flights. There are days that are generally cheaper to fly (Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday) but the sale of cheap flights happens year-round.

You're awesome!! I'm so glad to hear that :D

Supr3mat11 karma

Hi Scott!

I do have a question for you regarding the use of traveler loyalty programs:

Is it only my wrong personal impression or are these frequent traveller only a bait & switch method of the airlines ?

With the 75.000+ MRR points i earned with my Amex Platinum it looks to me like i actually almost don't save any money when i gonna book any rewards flight (i always need to pay at least 800 € in taxes or gasoline surcharges)

I'm based in Europe.

scottkeyes16 karma

It's complicated. There are many ways to get terrible value from loyalty programs (like paying hundreds in fuel surcharges on a "free" ticket) but there are a few ways to get really outstanding value. It's not the focus of my work per se but a few blogs that do a great job recommending ways to get the most value from your points: The Points Guy, View from the Wing, and Travel Is Free.

Ludon010 karma

My 25th birthday is March 11th... anything cool around that time leaving from Munich, Germany?


diadem10 karma

What are your thoughts on loyalty programs through airlines? My wife flew to 31 countries last year and we will likely take around 200 flights this year between the two of us. So far we haven't been sticking to any particular airline, but are wondering if it would be worth it for the perks.

For the record we aren't spending a lot, we just are really good at finding deals (your site, FlySkyHi, etc)

scottkeyes34 karma

Wow! That's some serious flying.

I think points & miles are wonderful for people who have the time and patience to figure them out. But for me I'm loyal first and foremost to the almighty dollar, and I'll basically never buy a more expensive flight because of "loyalty" to one airline or another. It's understandable for people who have top tier elite status, but for most of us I think being loyal to cheap flights beats being loyal to a single airline.

ishaan13039 karma

How much I can save on flights to India? Current fare is around $600 to 800 in May. So If I buy a premium membership now will it give any cheaper deals than above fare?

scottkeyes3 karma

What's your home airport?

ishaan13033 karma

BOM - Mumbai from Detroit or Chicago

scottkeyes19 karma

Found and sent out to the premium list ORD-BOM for $657 a few months ago (including Diwali and Holi availability). Pops up maybe 4-5 times per year, cheapest I've seen in past 12 months is $585. Obviously can't guarantee there'll be more cheap flights on any given route, but we're always searching for flights to India and anytime they pop up we send out to our premium members.

wowmead7 karma

First, I want to say thank you for the site! I convinced my husband (fiancé at the time) to go premium because we wanted to do a European honeymoon and ended up being able to fly from Savannah to Amsterdam for about $600 per person (using two separate bookings). It was insanely cheap and we ended up having an amazing honeymoon in Amsterdam, Paris, and London! Thank you!!

My question is actually related to domestic flights. I know SCF is international with the exception of Hawaii, so do you have any tips for finding cheaper domestic flights within the US? They're not terribly expensive compared to international, of course, but every penny counts, right? :)

scottkeyes3 karma

Ahhh Savannah! Love that city. So cool you guys were able to take that great honeymoon, congrats!!

Yep, we search Hawaii as well as Alaska, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Guam. For cheaper domestic flights my go-to is (a) Southwest because free bags and free changes/cancellations, and (b) Skiplagged. Been able to find some great deals through both.

niahjustniah7 karma

Hi Scott! My fiancé bought me a subscription to your site for Christmas since we committed to traveling more in 2019. We saw the deal for Madrid come through a few weeks ago and ended up booking what we're calling a pre-honeymoon. Do you have any suggestions for things that we just can't miss doing/seeing in Madrid?

I've told everyone telling me that they wish they could travel more that they can and pointing them to Scott's Cheap Flights as a starting point. We're excited to use it to book our actual honeymoon (and every trip in between) this year. Also, any suggestions for honeymoon destinations?

scottkeyes4 karma

Yesssss 2019 is the year to make travel happen.

Awesome! I was in Madrid a year ago but just passing through for a day so no strong recs other than trying to catch a soccer game at the Bernabeu!

That is so awesome — thank you for letting your friends know! That's why I started this whole thing back in the day, it was just a simple email list for my friends because when I found a great deal what fun is it to keep it to myself? Wanna let everyone know :)

Honeymoon! Can't go wrong with the Greek Islands. There are so many and they're all magical, so you can get to one island, spend as much time as you want there, and when you're ready to move on just catch the next ferry to the next island. If you go in May June or September it's warm enough to swim but there's not the crowds like in July/August.

RealLifeHundredaire7 karma

What is the main difference between your site and the other sites out there?

It seems like all flight-booking sites to essentially the same thing, no?

scottkeyes25 karma

I don't expect anyone to be loyal to us because we started this cheap flight alert boom.

We try to earn subscribers' loyalty by being the best. Finding the best deals, but sending them out well before anyone else so our subscribers have extra time to book before the deal disappears. As importantly, not wasting subscribers' time with mediocre deals that are only $50 better than normal. We don't take any affiliate fees or commissions, so our users can trust we truly believe every deal we send out is great rather than getting a kickback.

I could go on all day. Jiro and your local 7-11 both make sushi but not sure I'd call them the same thing.

OverallDisaster6 karma

Hey! I love this service so much, really saves so much time trying to look for deals myself! Thank you!

My question is regarding open jaw flights. Open jaw seems so much easier for a Europe trip, but it's much harder getting good deals on those in my experience. Most great deals I see are flying in/out of one airport. Thoughts, advice?

scottkeyes4 karma

You're welcome! Thank you for the kind words!

Great question. I'm a big fan of open-jaw flights too, why see just one place when you're flying all the way to Europe.

Often times the Big Euro deals we send out every 4-6 weeks or so allow for cheap open-jaw flights. There's no way to be sure in advance, so next time I'd just take a sample search that you've confirmed is cheap to one of the cities you want to visit and try to multi-city search it. Every deal is different but pretty frequent you can turn those ones into open-jaws for about the same price. (Your best bet is not to include the connecting flight between the 2 Euro cities in the search, but rather just buy that plane/train ticket separately.)

MenorahtehExplorer6 karma

Hi Scott, love your service even though I haven't flown yet lol. What are the best sites you recommend for finding great prices on tickets?

scottkeyes15 karma


Google Flights is the best overall flight search engine, all things considered. Once you find some cheap flights there though often times the price will be lower somewhere like Kayak, Skyscanner, or Momondo.

theizzeh6 karma

I’ve been subscribed to you for a while and there’s never any deals for my city (Halifax) am I just out of luck? (I discontinued the premium sub because of it)

Like I got a 600$ round trip flight to Dublin on my own and it never even blipped on your radar.

scottkeyes11 karma

Aww man. Not entirely out of luck, but you're right that there's not nearly as many deals out of YHZ as say Montreal or Toronto. But we search YHZ with every deal (I have family there in fact!) and send out anytime we find it. A couple recent ones (roundtrip, CAD):

  • $432 to Turks & Caicos
  • $664 to Morocco
  • $975 to Australia
  • $539 to Hawaii

Tallywacka6 karma

Hey Scott, big fan! I've already gone on two trips thanks to your emails and I have march off and thinking about going to Asia (from Boston) for a month, I'm mainly looking at south korea and thailand, maybe two different cities in each country for a week....what's the best way for me to approach booking this or should I wing it?

scottkeyes6 karma

Wow! Where'd you go on those two trips?

Awesome! Flights from the US to South Korea tend to be on the pricier side, but Thailand we see dropping pretty regularly. Bangkok especially is a great cheap flight hub, so you could always hop a budget flight up to Seoul once you're there. That's almost certainly going to be the cheapest option, though slightly less convenient than an open-jaw flight of course. Next time we send out a deal that includes Thailand (or South Korea for that matter) click the sample search and check if you're able to make it a multi-city flight. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't; it just depends on what're called the "fare rules" on any given fare. No way to predict in advance, just gotta guess and check, but there's a far greater likelihood when cheap flights pop up to at least one of the cities you wanna visit.

penkster6 karma

Hi Scott! I'm a tall (6'6",) traveler that travels for business and family in a fairly regularly basis. Last year Delta got me into gold status. I really need to be in a non economy seat, particularly for longer flights.

Ive been told that Delta has one of the weaker frequent flyer miles programs, and I've been enormously confused by their upgrade program. I'd like to use my status and/or miles and/or something to make sure I'm in a comfort+ or business class seat on a regular basis but haven't gotten the knack of it yet.

Do I book online then get on the phone with Delta and buy an upgrade? (This can sometimes be a multi hour process) or should I book the upgraded ticket first? In theory I should have free upgrades but in 20+ flights this has never happened.

I'm considering jumping to a different airline because other than access to the lounges (which, ain't gonna lie, is nice), I don't send to be getting much for my gold status.

What are your thoughts?

scottkeyes4 karma

Hello penkster! That makes total sense. 29" seat pitch sounds like it'd be a bit of a nightmare.

To get premium economy or business class seats you've got two options: (1) use your miles to book a premium award seat, or (2) buy an economy seat with cash and then use your miles to upgrade. The first option can be done entirely online, but I believe with an upgrade you may need to call.

Automatic elite-status upgrades are becoming rarer and rarer as Delta and other airlines become better at selling off premium seats. Sometimes they even auction them. Giving them away for free is an unfortunate admission of defeat that, while great for us travelers, doesn't help their bottom line too much.

I'm a huge fan of lounges! Have you looked into a premium credit card that gives you automatic lounge access no matter what airline you're flying?

blueplanet05 karma

hi Scott! I have had your subscription for a couple of years and although most times I can't plan my travel enough in advance to make use of amazing deals you send, a couple of times I have used them, have been more than enough of a persuasion for me to keep subscribed.. :) Keep up the good work!

As for the question: What is a good trick to get good fares from mainland Europe to US/Asia?

scottkeyes7 karma

Awesome!! Love it :)

The best trick is honestly flexibility. If you’ve picked out your destination, picked out your dates, and don’t have flexibility, 95% of what you can do to bring down the cost of airfare is already out the window. Instead, if you let price be your lodestar and have tons of places you'd love to visit, you're far more likely to get a great deal.

Good luck!

Ludon05 karma

Hi! I absolutely love flying and visiting new places but have always had budget constraints. It's sites like yours that really help me out since I am very flexible with where I want to go and when.

As to my question; I know that Jack's Flights basically copied your format and style- does it bother you at all? Especially since he seems to have monetized it much more than you.

Also; Side question- whats one flying tip you can give that has proven really helpful to you?

scottkeyes14 karma

Aww thank you!! Very kind :-)

Nah no bother. We work hard to be the best and I'm confident that comes through.

One flying tip: if there's bad weather and a ton of delayed/cancelled flights, the queue at the help desk is likely to be extraordinarily long. While you're waiting, try calling customer support (and even better try calling one of the airline's foreign support numbers) and they can often rebook you in far less time than if you'd just waited in line.

2ducks4geese5 karma

Do you have flight deals flying out of small Canadian cities like Saskatoon?

scottkeyes6 karma

Yeah!! Love YXE. Sent a deal last week from there to all over Hawaii for $400 CAD roundtrip in fact.

BikesnButts5 karma

My gf and I love to travel, but I'm starting a new career this year (hopefully) so I can no longer get the 18 days or so off that I got from working in the restaurant industry. Do prices of flights differ for duration of trips? Would a 3 day weekend trip cost as much as a 2 week venture?

scottkeyes7 karma

Ahhh great question. Airfare can sometimes differ based on duration. Every fare has hidden "fare rules" that determine what conditions need to be satisfied to get that price. For instance, sometimes a $400 flight to Europe needs to be at least a week long or include a Saturday stay. The reason they do that is to try to ensure that the $400 fares are only going to tourists who want to be there on Saturdays, as opposed to businesspeople who'd rather be home on a Saturday.

Congrats on the new year new career!

NotAGhost69695 karma

Hi Scott! I got my BF a premium subscription for Christmas, and we leave on our first trip booked through your service to Paris in just a few weeks. Thank you!!!

As someone new to this, what are some rhythms you see to the flight deals you find, particularly for smaller airports? For instance, it seems like February is a particularly good time to go to Europe, but does that hold year after year? Any other patterns you see? Is there a cheat sheet to know when a deal is particularly good or going to repeat after some time?

scottkeyes7 karma

That is awfully thoughtful of you! Christmas MVP, and that's even before the Paris trip.

Great question! Yes, typically the cheapest times of year to fly are going to be January-May and September-November. Thanksgiving week is a hidden gem where it's expensive to fly domestically but actually pretty cheap to fly internationally. For smaller airports, you're not going to get as many deals but the deals that do come up have way higher savings since the normal price to Europe, say, is more like $1,400. Every 6-8 weeks or so we see a Big Europe deal where the airlines put almost every US city to all over Europe on sale in the $400s/$500s roundtrip. Be patient and hold out for one of those, but when they do pop up don't wait!

Eistean5 karma

Hey, I wanted to thank you for your site! A trip to Scotland was the dream trip for my parents, but they never expected to be able to go due to the cost of everything. I saved up for a year, but without the $585 round trip we found from Charlotte to Edinburgh (with only one stop even!) I never would have been able to make it happen for them. So thank you!!

scottkeyes3 karma

Wow! That is an incredible deal, congratulations! So glad we were able to play a role in making that happen :-) Hopefully lots more to come!

amoretpax5 karma

I've been reading all these comments and you seem to be the coolest, most grateful dude ever :)

Could you help me find a cheap deal either from CPH or SAO to Fiji? Going there is by far my biggest dream 😻 (maybe second to world peace)

scottkeyes7 karma

I am super grateful!! I have a dream job and I get to work from a coffeeshop or at home with my puppy and celebrate helping people's travel dreams come true :D

Oh man Fiji flights are tough to find cheap but I promise we're keeping our eyes peeled! As soon as they go on sale we'll send em out to the list

reddit75305 karma

Hey /u/Scottkeyes !! Long time premium subscriber here, and I greatly appreciate your service.

I rarely use email and frankly I get too many and your’s get lost sometimes and I miss out. Any future plans to develop a mobile app? I’d even pay a little extra to get a push notification when fares hit.

scottkeyes9 karma

Yessss I like you!!

Love that feedback. We've been prioritizing a couple other features soon to come out. Stay tuned on that front :)

The_Petalesharo4 karma

Hey Scott. Few questions. Are the deals usually pretty close to flight date or are they months away? And if they are months away how do those deals tend to happen?

And have you considered doing some trip planning for destinations, maybe something similar to a company that starts with R and ends with oad Scholar, but as a cheaper alternative? Doesn't have to be full itineraries, but maybe finding suggestions or getting in contact with some attractions in the area and get some kickbacks on a referral system? I would love to do that tbh

And if not that, then at the least doing a Scott's Cheap Hotels too?

Edit: to ask a couple more questions

scottkeyes8 karma

We don't send out deals that only have last-minute availability. Most deals we send have availability typically for the next 3-6 months, but it varies deal to deal of course.

Wow I'd actually never heard of Road Scholar! Will check it out, seems interesting. Have you used it?

SephirothRebirth4 karma

Hi Schott it's my second year with a Premium subscription, I don't regret it one bit, even the fact knowing there are cheap flights which don't necessarily collide with my schedule just warms my heart. I had the chance to get at least 5 solid deals thanks to your site.

Do you guys have any deals goign on regarding Paris-Manila? Went there in November and fell in love with the Philippines.

I'm planning on going on June.

Thanks a lot and keep them emails coming.

scottkeyes5 karma

Awesome x2!! Love that vote of confidence :-)

For sure re: Paris-Manila. Sent it a couple weeks ago in fact! €367 return including June dates. We'll keep our eyes peeled for more on that route

Any-sao3 karma

Hi Scott, thanks for doing this AMA.

I have a question pertaining to competition in your field. Do you think services like your own are going to be a major danger to established travel agencies? Or what about technology like the Internet in general?

I ask because I am amazed that in 2019 travel agent call centers are still around. I would have expected services like your own, or things like Google Flights, to have totally killed that industry.

scottkeyes3 karma

I don't think so! The way I see it, now that traditional travel agents are most a relic of the past and all airfare searching happens online, travelers could use a hand monitoring to make sure they don't miss it when a great deal pops up. After all, who wants to spend all day searching for flights? (Besides me of course I love it.) So we're helping connect people with cheap flights, whether they're being sold directly from the airline or online travel agencies like Expedia, Orbitz, etc.

goldstandardalmonds2 karma

Hey Scott! I’m looking to soon go on a trip to somewhere completely new (I’ve only been to a bunch of states, mostly for work, and another province; I’m Canadian.) I’ve subbed to your email for awhile and caught your other AMAs.

My question is: it’s very overwhelming for a new traveller to book a flight to somewhere completely new, as opposed to booking a package. What would you recommend for seeking out a good hotel or resort deal to complement the flight?

I know this question is dumb, but I’ve never done anything like this before!

scottkeyes13 karma

Hello! That's so awesome :-) 2019 new year gotta make those travel goals happen!

That's a great question, not a dumb one! The concern is completely understandable and lots of people have it. A big part of the fun of travel I think is that inherent uncertainty of visiting a new place, and the feeling of triumph when you realize not only could you do it, but that we have so much in common with people and places we'd never been to before.

My advice is practice. Don't start with a flight to rural Mongolia; it's quite complicated figuring out the daily way of life! Start with a trip to the UK or Germany, somewhere that is foreign but will feel quite familiar when you land. You'll build up those minute travel skills like learning how to exchange money, how to catch the train from the airport, how much to tip, all that stuff. Each trip you take will leave you better prepared for the next one :)

Mdemmons9 karma

This is NOT a dumb question. You'd be surprised at how many people, including me, have been nervous about this.

Congrats on taking the jump and getting out of your comfort zone. I've been in your shoes. My first "adult alone" trip was from the US to Thailand in 2010! Back then, you arrived at an airport and HOPED to get a taxi that wouldn't rip you off to get you to your hotel.

Now, it's even easier than it was then. Now, you can just Uber it at a fixed price. So just find a hotel you're comfortable with and stay there for the first couple of nights. If you want to be even more adventurous, go into the backpacker districts of wherever you are and find out where other people stay. That's what we did. When we went to Bangkok, we stayed at Le Meridien for the first two nights on points. Then, we went down to the district and met up with several people who had great recommendations on local hotels where we could meet even more travelers

Turned out to be an amazing experience for both of us!

scottkeyes3 karma


MargarEight2 karma

Hi Scott!

I got an alert for a summer flight to Paris that I was tracking with google a while back for $500, but I passed it up because I had seen your Europe sale emails and I was convinced I’d find something better. Now I’m realizing that because I’m traveling at peak summer in July, a Europe deal might not arrive.

Did I shoot myself in the foot, or is there still hope?

scottkeyes3 karma

Great question! I think there's still hope for some peak summer flights, but I wouldn't say it's guaranteed by any stretch. Depends quite a bit on what airport you're flying from. If it's somewhere in NYC then strong chance, if it's like Tulsa then not nearly as good.

Once we hit April if there hasn't been any good peak summer deals at that point I'd start to look at limiting my losses.

atlcg2 karma

Hey Scott. You really hooked it up last year when I snagged a flight from ATL to Auckland for $650. Can you work your voodoo magic and make it happen again? I'm also hoping for some Tokyo deals but I haven't seen any like the ones you sent around the Auckland deal. I think it was around Nov 2017. Should I just snag the next good west coast to Tokyo flight and buy a separate RT from Atlanta out west, or should I wait it out?

Keep up the good work. Love you guys.

scottkeyes5 karma

Aww man can you imagine what havoc I'd wreak if I could force more mistake fares? It'd be mania. That's so cool you got in on that AKL deal though! Normal price at least double what you paid.

Re: Tokyo, cheap flights to Japan are super popular but not terribly common. We're always searching there believe you me. Last good deal ATL-Tokyo was $581 a few months ago. If your dates are flexible I'd hold out for something <$650 departing ATL. Otherwise yeah your best bet is likely LAX where nonstop flights to Tokyo often drop to ~$500 roundtrip and then buying a separate ticket ATL-LAX.

tnbadboy19652 karma

Are these cheap flights you get including departure tax from other countries or do you pay those seperately?

scottkeyes3 karma

Yep! Twenty years ago you used to have to pay those things separately at the airport, but nowadays it's all rolled into your fare when you buy your flight. (i.e. The fares we mention include all taxes.)

bigdumplings2 karma

I’ve been a member of your premium service for a few years! Got some great deals. Currently I’m waiting on a June 22 rountrip from nyc to Madrid to pop up. Any chance you could help me out with that?

scottkeyes3 karma

Awesome! Will certainly keep our eyes peeled!

There's JFK-MAD nonstop in late June for $500 roundtrip


That route certainly gets cheaper other times of the year but summer is a bit of a curveball. Mostly comes down to whether you'd prefer taking your chances and waiting hoping the price drops, or locking in a solid-but-not amazing fare.

FinanceTeam2 karma

Why are last minute flights from the UK to Japan always more expensive than booking months in advance?

scottkeyes2 karma

Because airlines jack up the price for last minute flights knowing that businesspeople, who don't care about price, tend to buy them more often than leisure travelers. They make more money that way :-/

ontario19842 karma

Hey Scott,
I want to fly to Cancun (CUN) from the bay area (SFO/OAK) for 1 March to 6 March. It looks cheaper for me to manually catch a short flight to LAX first. If this is true, why wouldn't airlines route me in that way? Also what is the best deal you can find?

scottkeyes3 karma

Yeah I took a look at those dates and surprised to see prices weren't cheaper right now out of the Bay Area. Possible they'll drop at some point but we're getting kinda close to departure. Might be cheaper to book a separate flight to LA first. (Check Southwest.com separately as well since they don't show up in flight search engines.)

Not all airlines have partnership agreements, so like Interjet doesn't fly between SFO and LAX, just from the US directly to Mexico.

TheGreenBastards2 karma

Hey Scott! You've helped me save thousands on flights, and I've passed off the savings to 2 friends I know of. We owe you so much!

Quick question: any tips for Taiwan cheap flights?

scottkeyes3 karma

<3 <3

Taiwan is a gem! It's typically one of the more expensive places to fly to in Asia from the US, though, so I'd also keep an eye on flights to China, Thailand, and the Philippines. May be cheaper to fly to one of those places and then just hop a cheap flight onward to Taipei.

starslug1 karma

Can you help me find a cheap flight? I am flying from Islamabad to Abu Dhabi next month around 12/13 feb.

scottkeyes2 karma

One-way? Or how long are you looking to stay there?