In a couple of weeks I head to Paris on a $230 round trip mistake fare out of Toronto. Just a few days after that, I’m flying from New York to Johannesburg on a $490 unpublished flight deal. How was I able to learn about these deals and book them before they disappeared? This is probably the question I get asked most often by those around me. The short answer: I have them texted to my phone. In a longer answer today, I’ll break down just how it’s done and how you can stay on top of flight deals and mistake fares, too.
I’ve written previously about how Twitter is the best way to stay on top of travel deals, and this is still true. Twitter is the means by which any flight deals get sent to my phone. In addition to the texts, I keep Tweetdeck up and running on a tab on my computer all day while at work so I can pop over and check up on possible travel deals. There really is no better way for the average person to get real-time information, at least when it comes to travel. But enough with the Twitter love, lets get down to the nitty gritty: how to set up text alerts for flight deals. Here we go!
Step 1: Join Twitter (if you already belong, skip to Step 2)
- Go to Twitter.com and click Sign Up.
- Fill in your personal details. Be sure to add in your phone number. If you enter your email address instead, you can add your phone number later (I’ll show you where).
Step 2: Follow the travel deal tweeters
There are several people out there who tweet out travel deals, but most aren’t worth following. Currently, there are only two who I personally feel are worth setting up text alerts for: TheFlightDeal and Secret Flying. TheFlightDeal focuses mostly on sharing US-based flight deals and they’re pretty darn amazing at it. I don’t know how they do it. They have a sister site/account for our neighbors to the north: TheFlightDealCA. SecretFlying publishes US-based deals, but also shares deals from all over the world. If you’re not based in the US, SecretFlying is probably your better option.
To follow these tweeters, click on each of the links below and hit the Follow button on the right of the screen.
Step 3: Activate Twitter text messaging
- While on your Twitter home screen, click on your profile picture (or egg if you haven’t added one yet) at the top right of the screen. A drop down menu will pop up. Click on Settings.
2. On the left side of the screen, click on Mobile in the menu.
3. In the screen that pops up, your mobile number should be displayed at the top. Here’s where you can add your mobile number if you didn’t do it when signing up for Twitter. You can click the link up top to add it in.
Directly below your number, check the box marked Tweets from people you’ve enabled for mobile notification.
You’ll see at the bottom of this page, Twitter has now included the option to turn off tweets during certain hours, like when you’re sleeping. I don’t do this because I want to be able to keep an eye on all of the possible flight deals. Instead, I set up Do Not Disturb on my iPhone during the overnight hours so the texts aren’t waking me. In the morning, all the text messages are listed for me to scroll through and review.
Step 4: Enable mobile notifications for the travel deal tweeters
Let’s go back to the Twitter pages for each of the travel deal tweeters. Click on each of the links below to get back.
Once on the page, click on the little gear symbol to the left of the Follow button. A drop down menu will pop up. On that menu, click on Turn on mobile notifications.
A little box should pop up confirming that mobile notifications have been turned on. Do this for each travel deal tweeter you wish to receive texts from.
That’s it! If you’ve followed all of the steps correctly, you’ll start receiving text messages of flight deals as soon as they’re published. Remember that these deals often sell out or are pulled quickly, so act fast. Most flights out of the US can be canceled free of charge within 24 hours (except on American Air), so book now and figure out the rest later! Happy cheap flying!