Thanks to Reddit, I’ve been able to spend the past five years working my dream job: finding cheap flights.

This whole cheap flights adventure was born on Reddit back in 2015. It grew from a hobby to a side-hustle to a full-time job to a company with more than 35 people. Hell, half my coworkers came via Reddit.

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

So once a year, I like to take off “work” and devote a full day to fielding all the flight booking-related questions that Redditors have. No half-assed Woody Harrelson AMAs here; whole-ass only. Ask me anything.

One reason I love doing this: right now, we’re living in the Golden Age of Cheap Flights, yet so few people know it. It’s never been cheaper to travel overseas as it is today, yet polls show people think flights are getting more, not less, expensive. Part of my job is convincing people that travel is no longer just for the rich; it’s for all of us.

That’s why I get so thrilled when Redditors especially have cheap flight success stories, including:

Here’s a small sampling of my favorite cheap flights of 2019:

  • LA to Rome for $239 roundtrip (normally $850+)
  • CHI / DEN / DC / HOU to Tahiti for $486 roundtrip (normally $1,500+)
  • BOS to Barcelona for $177 *nonstop* roundtrip (normally $850 for nonstop)
  • NYC to Buenos Aires in *business class* for $728 roundtrip (normally $3,000+)
  • LA / SF to Fiji for $396 *nonstop* roundtrip (norm price $1,400)
  • OAK to Hawaii for $98 *nonstop* roundtrip (normally $600)
  • NYC / SF / BOS / CHI / DAL / PDX / SEA to Tokyo *nonstop* for $569 roundtrip (normally $1,400+)
  • 120 US airports to Germany or Austria for $294 roundtrip (normally $1,000+)

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that we had some sadness this year ending service for folks who live outside the US, and I heard from a number of Redditors who were disappointed. It was an excruciating decision, made all the more difficult as a bootstrapped company (i.e. funded by members, not investors). Still sad, though I’m hoping it’s less a goodbye and more a see you later.

Proof I’m Scott: https://imgur.com/a/fZQTHmH

Proof I’m a cheap flight expert: Media coverage from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNBC, USA Today, and CBS.

If you’ve gotten a great deal from Scott’s Cheap Flights, I would love to hear where you’re headed! I’ve got a young daughter and don’t travel as much as I used to, so living vicariously through your trips brings me a ton of joy.

Love,Scott

P.S. Clearing your cookies doesn’t do a damn thing.

UPDATE #1: RIP inbox thanks for all the amazing questions! It's not even 8:30am here and I've got a 300+ backlog, but true to my word I am working for the next 12 hours to get through as many of your questions as I possibly can!

A number of you have asked about working at Scott's Cheap Flights, and I love that! Here's our Careers page: https://scottscheapflights.com/careers

A few perks to highlight:

- Work from home (we're 100% remote)- Medical/dental/vision and 5% 401k match- Mandatory 3-week minimum vacation (we're a travel company after all)

UPDATE #2 (1:30pm PT): Quick 15 minute lunch break and then I'm back answering questions the rest of the day I promise!!

UPDATE #3 (4:45pm PT): Coming up on 12 hours but fuck it there's still a lot of questions I wanna get to! Gonna go take a quick coffee bath and then back to answer questions for a few more hours. LOVE YOU ALL

UPDATE #4 (7pm PT): Alright folks taking a break to carboload. It's been an *amazing* 14 hours with you all, and I'll do my best to catch up on more questions over the weekend and beyond. My undying love to cheap flights and all who seek them

Comments: 2335 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

cahaseler968 karma

Any plans to do US domestic flights? If you guys can't do em, do you have any advice on how I can find cheaper flights domestically?

scottkeyes835 karma

great question! a few thoughts:

(1) we do currently search for flights to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, USVI, and other US islands. (you probably know this, but in case anyone didn't!)

(2) the reason we haven't been covering domestic flights is because they're a lot cheaper to begin with, so much less opportunity for huge savings. right now our average international deal alert saves $550 per ticket, an amount that would be virtually impossible to save on domestic flights considering they're not that expensive.

(3) that said, we're always keen to improve and hear from members about what they'd like to see us offer! if this is something you'd be excited for i'd love to hear more and from others. feedback from members is the most important thing in shaping our future decisions/vision

evapor8ted701 karma

Please please please please add domestic flights you might even be able to charge more for it. You're right that you don't save as much but the percentages of savings are just as high. Also, you can find such cheap domestic flights that it turns into an impulse buy for a weekend. Last November I found flights to Boston for 80 bucks round trip on Delta for a weekend and I would love to find the opportunity to spend more weekends traveling like that without brute forcing Google flights for hours.

scottkeyes359 karma

i love this perspective, thank you!

question out of curiosity: how long of a flight would you be willing to take for a weekend trip?

ltcarter47151 karma

Strong agreement here! I pay for premium but international flights are much more difficult to just do on a whim (more expensive even with the deal and usually much longer flights). I'd be willing to pay a little more for domestic deals on top.

scottkeyes74 karma

<3

staramazed252 karma

I'm on the east coast, and I do want to know when there are bargains to LAX, PHX, etc. That would be really helpful, actually.

scottkeyes130 karma

makes sense! appreciate your letting me know :)

cusoman87 karma

I think you guys should think less about how much you can save on a single flight by focusing on international and more on the fact that people take more domestic flights overall. So while you might not save as much on a single flight, volume wise you're still saving a lot over multiple flights across a span of time.

scottkeyes11 karma

that makes a lot of sense. thank you!

BizSib61 karma

Coast to coast flights are not cheap, it would be awesome to see SCF deals like that.

scottkeyes35 karma

i like that. are you LA or NY?

mirheine44 karma

Please add domestic flights!!! Even if the savings aren’t as large it helps a lot!! As a frequent ATL - NY traveler anything helps :)

scottkeyes14 karma

<3

out of curiosity (if you don't mind sharing!) what do you usually pay for ATL-NYC?

Matchboxx397 karma

Hey Scott, thanks for what you all do. My wife and I went on our honeymoon to Rome on Emirates for $300 round trip sent out to Premium members. We got married in DC and the flight was JFK-Milan, but even with about $250 in train tickets on either side, this was a fantastic steal.

My question: What’s the best way to try and score cheap first class upgrades? Often the found deals only apply to economy, and business/first tickets are still at the usual $10k rate. Any tips for either at-airport upgrades or finding cheaper fares to guarantee a higher fare class in advance?

scottkeyes433 karma

amazing!! and good on you for jumping on those fares, well done!

ahhh upgrades. lemme premise with saying it's tough. one of the reasons airlines have been able to offer such cheap economy tickets is because they've done a way better job in the past 5 years at selling biz/first seats, rather than giving them away as free upgrades.

that said, some upgrade thoughts:

  • the cheapest reliable way is to use miles. there's massive communities out there on generating and spending miles especially to sit in the front of the plane. check out Spencer Howard's straight to the points site for alerts on cheap premium awards: http://straighttothepoints.co/

  • the best "free upgrade" route is to get bumped, and negotiate for an upgrade on your replacement flight. they'll rarely offer it proactively—you have to ask—but if the airline is in a bind they'll gladly upgrade you in exchange for giving up your seat, and i've had this work a number of times.

  • one thing that doesn't work: dressing nicely. it's another one of those flight myths that won't die

Electrical-Dimension278 karma

Can you start looking for business class deals too? I subscribe to the newsletter but every search is in economy.

scottkeyes242 karma

thanks for the suggestion! it's something we're always considering. when an amazing business class deal pops up (like the $560rt mistake fare on biz class flights to Bali, Vietnam, Bangkok, etc. in 2018 and the $725 mistake fare to Argentina last year) we definitely send it out today. but you're right, we don't currently send out biz class fares that are, say, $1,900rt to Europe, a really big price drop off normal biz flights but still quite expensive.

like domestic flights, though, i'm really eager for more feedback from members about what they'd like to see us offer. so appreciate your letting me know and would love to hear from others on this!

kaikemy274 karma

Any plans on resuming recommendations for non-US travelers again?

scottkeyes338 karma

hello! thanks for first question, which per my tradition i have to answer no matter what :)

i've been told not to apologize for making business moves, but fuck it, i feel bad and i don't want to hide the fact that it was a painful decision. we loved serving our members all around the world, and did everything we could to make it work. in the end we felt like we were coming up short and would benefit from narrowing our focus, at least for now. that'll hopefully help us build the best service possible, and then think about where to offer it from there.

so, although no current plans for non-US travelers, it's something we're always evaluating going forward. hopefully less a goodbye than a see you later.

vbowlsbey238 karma

So you said clearly your cookies doesn’t do anything?! So what other myths aren’t true...like the best day to purchase is a Tuesday?

scottkeyes433 karma

cookies don't do a damn thing to change the price you see. i searched the same route 100x in a row, same fare each and every time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWTaEcroVHo

also not true that it's cheapest to purchase on a Tuesday! not true that you should wait for a cheap standby ticket, or that there's a cheapest time of the week to book, or a cheapest day of the year. SO MANY MYTHS OUT THERE

Whamocat217 karma

As a teacher tied to a traditional school year calendar (August - May), what tips do you have to help us find deals in the popular summer months? It pains us to see cheap flights disappear when we have free time available . . ..

scottkeyes344 karma

ahh first of all thank you for your work! all my love to the teachers out there who are criminally underappreciated.

a few thoughts:

- if you're traveling in the summer, all the more important to book well in advance. like 3-6 months for domestic flights, 5-10 months for international flights, those are the windows when cheap flights are most likely to pop up.

- keep an eye out of nearby airports. the best deal i ever got in my life (nonstop NYC-Milan for $130 roundtrip) i got when i was living in DC. it was well worth the $20 bus ride up to NYC to take advantage

- thanksgiving! it's a hidden gem for international flights. assuming you have most/all of the week off. though it's a really expensive week for *domestic* flights, all those people traveling domestically are by definition not traveling internationally, and there are usually amazing deals to Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, etc.

Tontoboy175 karma

Scott! I’m a big fan (premium subscriber!)and have booked several deals found through your site. My wife and I love to travel internationally and usually take at least one trip per year. I’m also very concerned about climate change so we are trying to cut back on flying. How do you reconcile climate impacts with promoting an industry that is pretty terrible in terms of climate change?

scottkeyes292 karma

this is a *great* and complicated question, and i share your concerns about climate change. it's really scary!

here's a few thoughts i have on the air travel/climate change in no particular order:

- air travel accounts for 2-3% of global emissions, from most research i've read

- the general rule of thumb is that the cheaper your fare, the less emissions you're personally accountable for. here's why: a 100% full airplane gives off about the same emissions as one that has some empty seats. airlines try to fill those seats they predict to be empty by charging, say, $300rt to Europe. they're not making much money of that $300 seat, just trying to recoup costs. so when you buy a $300rt flight to Europe, you're not prompting the airline to fly more flights (the way you would if you buy a $3,000 biz class seat, say) and the extra emissions by your being on the plane are marginal. i'm not trying to be pollyannish, just a bit of perspective.

- given the above, the easiest way to makes airlines greener would be to eliminate first class and/or eliminate private jets. the greenest airlines are the ones with the most economy seats, budget airlines like Spirit

- it sometimes gets lost in the discussion how much tourism does to promote and sustain environments. most ecologists i've talked to say that places like the Serengeti in Africa and national parks in the US would've risked being mined or farmed or otherwise torn up were it not for the tourist dollars creating an economy that sustains these natural beauties.

curious to hear more about how you feel on it.

findingfreedom8847 karma

Thanks for this insight and perspective from a fellow lover of travel who is trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle!

scottkeyes5 karma

<3

Born_Cranberry130 karma

Where do you like to book your lodging for travel? Do you like to book through sites like expedia? Do you ever use credit card points? Or are you more of an airbnb person?

scottkeyes171 karma

no strong preference between airbnb and hotels on my end. i like them both! hotels are nice for consistency and room service, airbnbs can be great value especially for more central locations.

google hotels is a newbie on the lodging scene but definitely a mainstay in my hotels search. a fan of hotwire's Hot Rate hotels as well. and yes, definitely play the points game where i can.

cheap lodging is something i'm always eager to learn more on though. what're your favorites?

Superaverunt106 karma

I was a follower in Canada and unfortunately, I know for your business it's not practical to have anymore. That being said, any tips for finding cheap flights out of Canada, (Toronto/Pearson)?

scottkeyes101 karma

i'm sorry :(

a few tips! be sure to keep an eye on fares out of Detroit and Buffalo as well, sometimes they can be way cheaper. if you're going somewhere like Europe or SE Asia, get the cheapest flight across the ocean to wherever in the continent and then pair it with an onward budget flight to your final destination.

most of the tips i have are a bit longer/more involved. compiled most of what i know at our Guides page if that's helpful!

BeefCakeForTheWin31 karma

I feel abandoned.

scottkeyes26 karma

:(

Superaverunt26 karma

Thanks, I'll give those a look and hopefully learn some new tips.

I totally understand it was a business decision and I actually really appreciate how reluctant you seem to be forced to make it. I still follow your twitter, and hope it becomes possible in the future.

scottkeyes38 karma

thank you, that's really kind of you to say. i'm probably a sub-optimal businessman as a result of being overly sensitive, but it's hard to change who you are, especially the older we get

GoldenDude100 karma

Hey Scott! Been a fan of your services ever since I used it to travel to Madrid round trip for $330!

My question to you is how do you decide which deals you add to the premium list (monthly membership only) versus the normal deals that you send out?

scottkeyes97 karma

hello! and thank you/well done on that Madrid deal!

the vast majority of deals go just to premium members. some categories of deals *only* go to premium members. these include mistake fares, peak season deals, and flights to Hawaii/Alaska.

otherwise, it's just a bit of human intuition from our team of flight experts. we want to make sure free members in a particular city aren't going months between getting deals, while making sure we're doing right by our premium members at the same time.

sOfekS88 karma

Hey Mr. Scott, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, make our dreams come true!

scottkeyes29 karma

<3 <3 <3

Alfredo_BE80 karma

Do you think the service has gotten too popular for its own good? I've been a premium subscriber from the start, but I rarely make use of the "normal" fares. They're decent, but I find that if I look for a flight right now from say NYC to London in May, I can probably find one through Google Flights for ~$400. While cheaper than average, I don't really see that being a deal since you can usually find these kinds of flights outside of the high season.

What I am interested in, and wish there was more of, is really amazing deals. Low cost high season or Christmas fares, business class deals, and mistake fares. I have an alert set up on my email that looks for "mistake fare", and pings me immediately when that happens. I have, not once, been able to capitalize on this. Even when literally trying to book within 2 minutes, the fare will have been gone. I don't know how many premium subscribers you have, but if 200 try to book the same flight at the same time, obviously tickets won't last very long. Do you think that for a subscriber like myself, the service has become too popular for its own good?

scottkeyes74 karma

heyy thanks for the question (and for being a premium member). it's not an unfair one!

i agree with you wholeheartedly. the last thing i want to do is spam your inbox with deals you're not interested in. i respect members' inboxes and that's one of the first things we train new hires on. deciding which flights *not* to send can be as important as which ones to send.

the whole reason i started Scott's Cheap Flights was after i got a $130rt mistake fare from NYC-Milan and all my coworkers kept asking me to let them know next time i found a deal like that. the key was "like that." they wouldn't care if i'd saved $50 or $75; they wanted to know when it was a deal that saved $500+.

and so while we can't control what airlines charge and can't force them to make more mistake fares (i wish we could!), i really am proud of the fact that on average the deals we find save $550+ per ticket. that's not easy.

it's a funny knock-on effect of getting used to these cheap flights. it's like a shift in the Overton Window. "ho hum, just another $325rt flight to Paris, nbd." but for many people that really is a big deal! that's the difference between them getting to explore another part of the world and them staying home dreaming of someday/maybe.

i do take to heart what you're saying though about having difficulty booking deals sometimes, and that definitely pains me. it's unpredictable how long any given deal will last, and so while people subscribe to us in order to let them know when great deals pop up, i feel personally disappointed when a deal we just sent out disappears 15 minutes later. it hurts me too.

i hope that makes sense, and sorry if i came across harshly! i really do believe in our mission that travel isn't just for the wealthy, and trying to improve all the time to make sure people know when a great deal pops up from their home airport.

kieranblieran12 karma

Not OP but thanks for the thorough response, and the AMA in general. As a premium member myself I do sometimes feel like some deals are oversaturated, but I have to agree with you that some people would be blown away by a $400 transatlantic flight. I usually ignore the “just ok” ones and keep an eye out for the spicy ones ($253 JFK-MXP this past November)

scottkeyes6 karma

i hear you! i too am always chasing that cheap flight dragon :-P

Ivoryin20871 karma

Heading to Singapore and then New Dehli in February thanks to one of your deals. $383 roundtrip: Seattle ---> Singapore ---> New Delhi ---> Seattle!

Do you have any tips for local transportation, ground travel, in Singapore and New Delhi? Thanks very much everything Scott and team!

scottkeyes67 karma

wowww $383 roundtrip for that! it'd cost more to fly to NYC than that. well done!

New Delhi grab the mototaxis everywhere you go, they're cheap and efficient and pretty fun. for Singapore, the subway is really great, though don't sleep on just wandering on foot. it's a wonderful city for meandering, especially with such great street food spread throughout

Overcashed55 karma

As a Charlotte resident it feels like we never see any deals out of CLT, is this due to it being a giant American hub?

scottkeyes103 karma

hello! and yes, you have AA to blame for the fact that there aren't more deals out of CLT.

i went back and checked. in the past 3 weeks, we've sent out 15 deals to premium members in CLT, with 41 destination cities in total. would love for there to be more of course, and we search CLT with every deal I promise!

one interesting nugget is that because AA has a monopoly, the best deals out of CLT are usually on their competitors: Delta and United, because they have to woo away loyal AA travelers with $400rt Euro flights and whatnot.

robinwiththehair50 karma

What's your go to destination to enjoy yourself? Domestic and international.

scottkeyes127 karma

ohhhh man, tough question! i've usually been an adventure traveler, and never wanted to visit the same place twice because it's such a big world out there, who's got time to double-up?

but as i've gotten older i've started to break that rule more, so now i can definitely say i have favorites:

international- oaxaca (mexico) and tokyo (japan) domestic- hawaii (somehow still underrated, especially the Big Island)

areallyfunnyusername43 karma

Hey Scott,

Big fan and book flights you post regularly-- thanks for doing what you do.

Anything new or exciting coming in 2020 from your team?

scottkeyes52 karma

amazing, thanks!

oh yeah, we've got a number of big ideas in the works though i'm sad to say i can't announce them quiiiiite yet. soon!

one i can announce is that we're growing the team! hiring a lot of new positions. every week or two there's a new posting on our careers page. excited to have more Redditors on the team! https://scottscheapflights.com/careers

skyboy4241 karma

What’s your opinion about Basic Economy and other a la carte / no-frills / ULCC pricing strategies, now that they’ve become so pervasive? Are they truly an inevitable response to market demand for lower cost tickets, or (as I feel) an increasingly irritating kind of bait-and-switch marketing... designed to hook buyers on the idea of cheap travel while taking away most once-included standard features of air travel?

I can understand how thrifty, travel-light travelers can dig ‘em but as someone who now has a family with a small child, I find it super frustrating... by the time I added a small luggage allowance and family seating for our trip to Europe, Norwegian Air tickets grew to nearly 2x the advertised base fare. (We’re still going, so they won this time. ;-)

Would love a flight search tool that would let me filter out Basic fares, or configure pricing with e.g. a certain number of bags so I don’t have to guess or search for what my total cost is likely to be.

scottkeyes29 karma

it's an interesting phenomenon! on the one hand, it's been a decades-long trend away from one-size-fits-all airfare (that was exorbitantly expensive!) to a-la-carte airfare (which can feel like nickel-and-diming!)

i agree 100% that transparency about the fees and not trying to trick passengers about them is key. most airlines really don't want their customers buying basic economy, which is why they're constantly prompting us at checkout about its deficiencies, the beauty of main economy, etc.

another interesting data point: travelers in basic economy reported higher satisfaction than travelers in main economy. my guess is that travelers assume upgrading to main economy means roomier seats and checked bags, which is typically not the case, at least for domestic flights. hence the disappointment.

juliefernanda21 karma

When will SCF come back to Europe? I was about to sign the Premium and now I can't anymore :(

scottkeyes10 karma

heyy i hear ya and i am sorry :(

to be frank, i'm not sure. we're working as hard as we can to build up Scott's Cheap Flights and implement a ton of new features/ideas before looking about expanding back to Europe and elsewhere. once that day comes we'll let you know, i promise

Emory_Jordan20 karma

It seems Scott's has grown a lot since you first started. What's your long term vision look like for the company?

scottkeyes19 karma

it really has. it's been an unbelievable ride in the truest sense of the word, which makes me especially excited/frightened/nervous/eager for what's to come in the next 5 years!

my goal is to keep improving SCF to the point where members never overpay for flights again. overpaying for flights is a choice, not a necessity. i've got a lot of ideas in mind, but in terms of specific features or products, i'm eager to hear from members about what you'd be interested in! anything specific you'd like to see?

purplelentil17 karma

One of the big causes of climate change is that more people are flying. Does it make you feel guilty? 😩

scottkeyes17 karma

cross-posting from another comment thread:

this is a *great* and complicated question, and i share your concerns about climate change. it's really scary!

here's a few thoughts i have on the air travel/climate change in no particular order:

- air travel accounts for 2-3% of global emissions, from most research i've read

- the general rule of thumb is that the cheaper your fare, the less emissions you're personally accountable for. here's why: a 100% full airplane gives off about the same emissions as one that has some empty seats. airlines try to fill those seats they predict to be empty by charging, say, $300rt to Europe. they're not making much money of that $300 seat, just trying to recoup costs. so when you buy a $300rt flight to Europe, you're not prompting the airline to fly more flights (the way you would if you buy a $3,000 biz class seat, say) and the extra emissions by your being on the plane are marginal. i'm not trying to be pollyannish, just a bit of perspective.

- given the above, the easiest way to makes airlines greener would be to eliminate first class and/or eliminate private jets. the greenest airlines are the ones with the most economy seats, budget airlines like Spirit

- it sometimes gets lost in the discussion how much tourism does to promote and sustain environments. most ecologists i've talked to say that places like the Serengeti in Africa and national parks in the US would've risked being mined or farmed or otherwise torn up were it not for the tourist dollars creating an economy that sustains these natural beauties.

curious to hear more about how you feel on it.

eleminti16 karma

Hi Scott, I'm a subscriber for more than 2 years and was very disappointed that you stopped offering deals from home airports outside of the U.S. Why did you decide to discontinue this service and can you recommend any other services for this?

scottkeyes9 karma

yeah i hear you, and i'm sorry.

it was a really tough decision—we loved serving our members all around the world. we tried as hard as we could to make it work, but trying to serve everyone around the world was really complex and difficult, and we felt like we were coming up short. we have a vision for what we’re trying to accomplish and it’s nearly impossible to do it while serving everywhere. (especially given that Scott's Cheap Flights is a bootstrapped company.) in the end we felt like the best approach was to narrow our focus and just serve the US market so we can build the best possible service.

i hope that makes sense. we’re hoping someday down the road to be back your way—until then, we’ll miss you and really appreciate your being a part of all this.

bferris1316 karma

Hey Scott,

Looking for any IT guys? Willing to travel for work ;)

scottkeyes48 karma

Yes! and no need to travel, our team is fully remote (though we offer unlimited vacation, and unlike most companies that put a maximum on your vacations, we went the other route and have a 3-week minimum)

Careers page here: https://scottscheapflights.com/careers

hyon42015 karma

I recently stumbled upon a $325 non-stop from Chicago to Chengdu. At the time I booked, it was like 11 months out, and seemed like it was a mistake from the airlines due to it being a relatively new flight and so far out. QUESTION: What is the best way to find those deals that are 6-12 months out (since most flight trackers look 6 months out?)

scottkeyes20 karma

wow that's a great fare, especially nonstop! is that on Hainan? American? United?

we scour fares for the entire 12-month calendar, so don't worry that we're letting deals fall through the crack if they're 10 months out. our favorite tool, Google Flights, searches for flights 11 months out on their calendar

toohard2chose15 karma

Hi, Scott! Is a hotdog a sandwich?

scottkeyes21 karma

of course it is. you got your meat, your bread, your condiments.

are you telling me there are people who would deny a hot dog its dignity?

kwaalude15 karma

Hey Scott! Been a member for three or four years now, and constantly tell anyone I know that's interested in travel about your site (often aggressively!) 😆

I was wondering if you guys were going to offer or make available an option to search exclusively for Business/First Class fares? I'm not bougie at all, I just had a miserable flight to Italy a couple of years ago and ended up using most of my miles to upgrade to business class for the return flight. (Got seated next to a farting metronome for 9hrs with no ability to sleep 🤢)

scottkeyes7 karma

ahhhh an OG subscriber i love it! (thank you!!)

great question. it's something we're always considering. when an amazing business class deal pops up (like the $560rt mistake fare on biz class flights to Bali, Vietnam, Bangkok, etc. in 2018 and the $725 mistake fare to Argentina last year) we definitely send it out today. but you're right, we don't currently send out biz class fares that are, say, $1,900rt to Europe, a really big price drop off normal biz flights but still quite expensive.

like domestic flights, though, i'm really eager for more feedback from members about what they'd like to see us offer. so appreciate your letting me know and would love to hear from others on this!

blackerblernkid14 karma

What’s your favorite sandwich?

scottkeyes27 karma

if i'm being hipster, the Uruguayan Chivito sandwich. google it and prepare to drool.

if i'm being real, a dank smoked fried chicken sandwich from a secret favorite spot in Portland, OR

how about you u/blackerblernkid?

garlopf10 karma

F. I. i. an U. Chivito sandwich is a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on top. Well played mister! Drop the egg and consider us sandwich buddies!

scottkeyes11 karma

true story there used to be a gas station in DC that would make them fresh. i had a line item in my personal budget for weekend night out chivito stops. lustful stuff

Big_Gay_Mike5 karma

Where in Portland tho?

scottkeyes27 karma

okay okay i'm like a dandelion just wilting under pressure.

The People's Pig. just the gotdang best chicken sandwich i've ever had in my life (gtfo popeye's)

justscottaustin12 karma

In the event that World War 3 happens, and we see an entire breakdown of civilization, and the US basically devolves into The Purge, what's your short-term and long-term plan for surviving?

scottkeyes28 karma

i'd probably just crawl into fetal position, put on some noise-cancelling headphones, take some questionably-legal substances and await the sweet embrace of dr. doom

BigOreo11 karma

I heard that booking domestic flights on a Tuesday or six weeks before the departure date is the best for getting a cheap airfare. Is there truth to that nowadays? If not, when is the best day or time to book flights?

scottkeyes44 karma

NO TRUTH.

it used to be true that there was a best time of day or day of the week to get cheap flights. when flights were first getting sold online, airlines would load their fares once a week, say Tuesday at 1pm. they had a limited number of the cheapest seats, first come first serve.

the problem is that system hasn't existed for decades. nowadays airfare is constantly changing, sometimes by the hour if not by the minute. so while the bad news is there's no single best time to book flights, the good news is cheap flights are constantly popping up.

the six-week thing is closer to being true, but i wouldn't take it as an exact prescription. the window for when domestic flights are most likely to drop in price is 1-3 months advance of travel. it's not that they'll always be cheapest exactly 6 weeks before departure.

hope that makes sense! the notion that there's a specific, predictable best time to book flights is a widely shared "flight hack" that i would dig a 10-foot hole to bury yesterday if i could

i_chew_gum8 karma

Hi Scott. Dont know if this has already been asked but here goes.

Ive heard from people you can sometimes get great deals by showing up at the counter and asking about same day flights. The idea being if they need to sell a seat and the flight is coming soon you can grab it cheap.

Is there truth to this? If so what is the best way to get it?

Also I get your email (not premium, sorry) but feel like I hardly see things from Atlanta, my closest major airport. Any reason for that? What are the best cheap international spots from Atlanta?

scottkeyes14 karma

great question! here's the deal. last minute flights used to be cheap back in the day, but now airlines have realized most people booking them were business travelers who didn't care what they paid. so airlines nowadays jack up the price on last minute fares rather than slashing them. ideally booking at least a month or two in advance will make sure you don't get gouged.

re: ATL, all the deals go to premium members, whereas just a small handful go to folks on the free list. the Delta monopoly prevents more ATL deals, but there's still a good number! in the past 3 weeks, we've sent out cheap flights to 27 cities from ATL. not sure the precise number that went to the free list i'm afraid

garlopf8 karma

How are price negotiations with airlines conducted? Is it all software or do lawyers meet in a room? What does it take to get their attention as a small business starting up?

scottkeyes12 karma

are you asking in general, or in regards to Scott's Cheap Flights?

if the latter, we don't have any negotiation with the airlines. our job is to monitor their airfares—all day, every day—for incredible price drops (think $250rt to Europe, $500rt to Japan, etc.). the funny thing about airfare is because it's so volatile, bopping up and bopping down constantly, really cheap flights happen constantly, they're just unpredictable and don't last very long.

when they do, it's our job to make sure our members know about those amazing fares out of their home airport as quickly as possible so they can have a chance to book it before it disappears

garlopf3 karma

Interesting, that sort of answers my question. To follow up, where do you get such data? Does airlines provide it, or is therr some kind of public aggregator? Do you pay for access?

scottkeyes13 karma

initially it was just me and now we've got a team of flight experts who are whizzes at scouring through Google Flights and other public-facing flight search engines to find those hidden gems. it's more a matter of putting in the elbow grease, searching through fares for 12, 14, 16 hours a day, rather than it becoming a secret proprietary thing.

searching for airfare for 12 hours isn't many people's idea of a good time (understandable!) which is what we try to solve for them. they can go about their day without having to worry about missing a fare bc they're not sitting at their computer searching right at that moment

branobly5 karma

Thanks for your work. My wife and I have traveled three times to Europe, each time for less than $500 per person, which would have been impossible without you.

What do you see coming in the next few years for cheap flights? Will they become more expensive, will credit card bonuses go away, will AI algorithms take over the world (of finding cheap flights)?

scottkeyes9 karma

amazing!! and credit to you too for jumping on those fares! we can provide the heads up about cheap flights, but still takes a willingness to jump on them, so kudos!

ohhh good question. i did predictions in my 2019 AMA and feel pretty good about them. going forward, a few predictions for this year:

- we'll see a low-cost carrier start offering service between the US and Asia
- flights will continue to stay at record-low levels, probably comparable to 2019 but not significantly cheaper (it's hard to get much cheaper than the $177rt to Barcelona flights, for instance!)
- we'll see more cheap flights to Africa
- the Max 737 will be back in service by August (and there'll be some dirt cheap fares on them as many people avoid those flights)

memkimbo5 karma

Thanks for doing this again! I’ve taken advantage of several of your flight deals!

My question is this - I’m based in MEM (aka shitty airport land). I’m fine with booking a cheap flight out of another city and booking a separate ticket to, say, NYC, but what happens if I face any kind of crazy delays or cancellations and miss my other flights? Do I have any recourse?

I’m flying MEM to EWR via Delta on a Friday night, then TAP Portugal to LIS Saturday night, but it’s in February so you never know what weather will be like. And coming back, I’m on Norwegian Air then my return Delta flight to MEM. I’m just nervous something crazy will happen and I’ll get stuck somewhere.

Edit: Growing up, my parents couldn’t afford to travel. I didn’t see the ocean until I was 19. Thanks for helping me find deals so I can see the world! SCF is awesome!

scottkeyes7 karma

ahh i love Memphis! been there a few times recently. Payne's BBQ is what dreams are made of.

you make a great point: if you're booking two itineraries, there's a risk a delay in the first one will screw your second one. best practice is to space the two flights out by a day if possible. alternatively, making the first one an early AM flight and the second a redeye, so if anything goes wrong with the first you've got plenty of time for other options.

i think you should be fine for your trip! even though it's february, you've got 24 hours. it's quite rare to be delayed something that long, especially since you're flying a major carrier like Delta. they've got tons of options in the interim 24 hours even if your first flight were to get canceled (<1% of flights). you got this!

jcthunderfan4 karma

Hey Scott! Wannabe globetrotter here. Is there a good “starter” international destination you recommend for beginners?

scottkeyes13 karma

hey that's great!

many Americans choose western Europe as their first "starter" destination since in many ways it feels very similar. London or Dublin will feel manageable, even if we chuckle at "chips" and driving on the left and whatnot.

but it totally depends on what type of place/activity/sightseeing you're into! are you into history? do Rome. bikes? Netherlands. gardens/tea? London. hiking? Switzerland (though it's expensive).

happy to give more specific tips if you narrow down your interests for me!

MzDany3 karma

Ready for a new chapter in life... turned 50 in 2019 and decided to start traveling internationally more, while I'm healthy and still can. Plus to get away from the stress of work etc. However budget is limited. What's the best way to get notified immediately of cheap flight prices to plan a trip before the deal ends? What's usually the best time to book...do time and day of week really matter? Is it true that analytics monitor our searches and prices increase with more activity for particular routes?

scottkeyes7 karma

hell yeah brother/sister! you love to see it. traveling internationally is one of the most rewarding and exciting things you can do for yourself. and even if you feel like you're late to the game, it's like what they say about planting trees: the best time was 20 years ago, but the second best time is today.

best way to get notified immediately: scottscheapflights.com if you're not already a member. we'll notify you as soon as a really cheap flight pops up out of your home airport.

best time to book: short answer, when there's a cheap flight. not trying to be silly, just want to make sure we don't get too focused on booking on a specific day, and keep our focus on booking when a flight is cheap. when are cheap flights most likely to pop up though? for international flights, 2-8 months in advance of travel is the window for when cheap flights are most likely to pop up. (1-3 months for domestic flights.) add a few months if you're traveling during a peak period like Xmas, NYE, middle of summer, or a big local holiday.

contrary to popular perception (and many silly articles), time and day of week do not matter. there's no cheapest time of the day, day of the week, or day of the year to book cheap flights. they're popping up all the time, at random. it's like if someone asks you, "what day of the week will the stock market be highest?"

not true that prices increase if you search and re-search a route. to prove it, i searched the same route 100x in a row. on that 100th search? the exact same fare as the first one.

infinicca3 karma

Hi Scott! Thank you for this service and AMA!

Any tips for sometime who's got a busy and sometimes unpredictable schedule, but really wants to try for a short getaway (it's me; I'm busy)? A lot of the deals I see are for dates farther out and I'm often looking for last minute stuff. Way more expensive.

scottkeyes7 karma

hey you're welcome!

last minute flights are really tough to get cheap. the reason is that business travelers tend to be the ones booking last minute flights, and the airlines know this, so they jack the price up.

if you can't book anything but last minute flights, one piece of advice is that budget airlines you may normally avoid like Spirit and Frontier are the ones most likely to have non-exorbitant last minute fares, because they're less likely to serve business travelers.

but my main recommendation would be to book something at least a month or two out, get it cheap, get it on your calendar, and use it as a good excuse to get out of other obligations :) people will understand that you can't make that meeting, you've already got your flights already booked!

topdown233 karma

I love the work y’all do and have shared it with so many friends, thanks!

Do you have any suggestions about deals out of Houston? We get so few despite the size of our airport. I have alerts set to nearby cities, and the deals out of Austin are more common and better. Not a complaint of your service, more about the market dynamics of Houston airports.

I read once Houston is the most overpriced airport, and the lower proportion of deals seems to beat that out. Any thoughts for us Houston folk?

Thanks again!

scottkeyes3 karma

ahh thank you!

yeahh Houston doesn't get as many deals as it should for its size. you have the United monopoly to thank for that. not sure if you're a premium member, but looking back we've found deals from IAH to 59 cities in the past 3 weeks, so still a decent clip despite the monopoly.

the main thing to be aware of (other than keeping an eye on flights out of AUS or SAT as well if you're willing to drive) is that the best deals out Houston are actually going to be on Delta and American. United doesn't have as much incentive to offer cheap flights given their monopoly, so Delta and American will often swoop in and try to poach their loyal flyers with <$400rt flights to Europe. win for us travelers

bonnizms3 karma

Hey Scott! What are your favorite can’t-live-without things to pack for an international trip? And tell us about that cute pooch??

scottkeyes9 karma

ohhh i don't have too many essentials, i try to pack light! besides the obvious stuff, i usually pack a pack-towl (the microfiber one that folds up tiny), a few collapsable day bags like those tiny Ikea ones for walking around and as laundry bags, and if i'm in Europe i'll make sure i've downloaded the Rick Steves app for some nice self-guided audio walking tours.

that's Chela and she's a lover! a real grade-A pup. rescue dog so we're not 100% sure but we think she's a pit bull/dachshund mix.

citronhoney3 karma

Hi Scott! If could live in another country for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Thanks to you and your team for all the great flight deals! One of my favorite emails to get every day

scottkeyes3 karma

rest of my life, probably the Netherlands.

for a few years, probably Japan.

what about you?? and thank you for the kind words, much obliged!

FURyannnn2 karma

Without too much detail, what's the process look like for finding a given cheap flight for you guys? Is it a mixture of some automation (plus caching for speed, for instance) and manual searching, or do you use a tool you all have created?

Thanks for all that you do, by the way. Got $590 RT to MEL from CLT last year and had the time of my life.

scottkeyes3 karma

i'll do you one better and give you the secret sauce: all you have to do to find cheap flights like we do is search for flights 12, 14, 16 hours a day. that's it! searching for flights is one of those things that most people find tedious or frustrating, but we're an odd bunch who really love doing it and helping people avoid overpaying for flights.

wowww $590rt to Australia from the east coast! that's really impressive, good on you for jumping on that fare before it disappeared!

mechteach1 karma

Do you have a cut off for what is a 'cheap' fare in business class that you would send on to your members? I love your dirt-cheap economy fares, and I see that you cite the great Buenos Aires business fare in your intro, but occasionally I would be willing to splurge a bit more (say $1000-$1500) on an amazing business fare as well for a far away destination.

However, I know that many of those are 'mistake' fares (my first one of those was the amazing sub-$1500 business class fare to New Zealand in 2007 or so), and might carry more risk for your subscribers. Would you stay away from posting those for that reason?

Thanks!

scottkeyes2 karma

great question! not a strict cut-off, but i don't believe we've ever sent out a flight above $850rt, to give you a sense. (if there were a $1,000 biz class flight to Australia, we'd almost certainly send that, for instance)

we only send out deals that our human flight experts have curated and deemed worthy. we call it the Mom Test: would we pass along this deal to our moms? if it has 5 stops or 60 hours of travel for a $300 flight, probably not worth it. if it feels like a risky deal, ditto. we're on members' side, not the airlines or anyone else.

Zfetcko1 karma

What is the best and worst airport meal you have ever had?

scottkeyes3 karma

best: Tortas Frontera at O'Hare

worst: this "Egg salad sandwich with lettuce and cheese" from LOT Polish airlines

owerriboy1 karma

Your subscription is some of the best $ I spend all year! I have kids now and don’t travel as much, but you save way more on one trip than the subscription costs! Thanks for all you do!

Is there an efficient way that you know to search for award flights across different programs?

scottkeyes1 karma

<3 <3 you are so kind, thank you! and cheers to traveling with kids, we can still do it!

there are a few services for cross-program award searches, mostly paid. ExpertFlyer and JuicyMiles are two that come to mind. FlyerMiler is good if you just want to compare rates, rather than search actual inventory.

beancounter28851 karma

What's your favorite lesser known trick for finding cheap airfare?

scottkeyes2 karma

it's less a "trick" than a complete strategy overhaul.

the biggest mistake people make when booking flights is the order of priority. we tend to plan by picking a destination, picking dates, and then looking at fares. intentionally or not, we put flights the 3rd priority, and it's no wonder so many of us overpay for flights. instead, the best approach is to put cheap flights 1st. keep an eye on cheap flights popping out of your airport (or one nearby), choose a place that interests you and dates that work for you, and you'll be the proud owner of a certifiably cheap flight.

Dont_Say_No_to_Panda1 karma

Will you ever introduce a way to filter only business fares? Or only one way legs?

scottkeyes2 karma

great question. it's something we're always considering. when an amazing business class deal pops up (like the $560rt mistake fare on biz class flights to Bali, Vietnam, Bangkok, etc. in 2018 and the $725 mistake fare to Argentina last year) we definitely send it out today. but you're right, we don't currently send out biz class fares that are, say, $1,900rt to Europe, a really big price drop off normal biz flights but still quite expensive.

like domestic flights, though, i'm really eager for more feedback from members about what they'd like to see us offer. so appreciate your letting me know and would love to hear from others on this!