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Compare the best deals on flights across the world

Whether you're after a weekend getaway or want to book your main 2014 holiday, we have the cheapest flights to Med beaches, the best flight offers to European cities and fantastic deals to worldwide destinations. Fly the world at great prices this summer and beyond and see more destinations for less.

Why compare cheap flights?

We all love to save money and get away for less, so knowing the tricks for how to keep your flight costs down really does pay.

With more than 60 million flights taken each year from the UK, it pays to compare your options for the best cheap flights to get you on your way. And there are a number of steps you can take to ensure you keep the costs down to allow you to see more of the world for less.

If you're looking to find the best deal on a flight, our handy search tool will help you to compare a huge range of airfares from low-cost airlines, charter carriers and full-service scheduled airlines side-by-side. In your search results, you'll also see special fares offered by online travel agencies which can work out cheaper than booking direct with the airline.

To help you unearth the cheapest options for you, our search tool allows you to choose up to three departure airports as well as letting you look at dates three days either side of the ones you wish to travel. The best deals can often be found if you remain flexible on the day you travel so, if you can slightly alter your dates, use this tool to save money.

How to find the cheapest deals

Travelling at less popular times will usually result in cheaper airfares - so consider travelling mid-week rather than from Friday to Monday and at anti-social times such as first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Generally, the earlier you book, the cheaper the prices you'll find will be - and you're more likely to bag a seat on the flight you want. And this is especially important if you are travelling during peak periods, such as the school summer holidays or over a Bank Holiday weekend. However, flights to big holiday destinations which are sold by tour operators can be discounted at the last minute so, in some cases, you may be able to find a brilliant late deal.

If you have more than one airport within driving distance of where you live, or easily commutable by public transport, use our search tool to compare prices from different departure points. But, beware false economies such as paying high train fares to reach an airport just to save a few pounds on the price of a flight.

How to book with confidence?

The last thing you want is to book your flight only to find that the airline company folds and you are left on the tarmac.

However, there are ways of protecting yourself when booking a flight.

In general, flights are not protected by the CAA-run ATOL scheme which offers consumers protection when booking package holidays. You should therefore be careful if you see the ATOL logo on a website, and do check with your flight provider to find out if it offers ATOL cover on your flight. Online and offline companies which sell you a flight and an associated hotel or rental car within 24 hours of each other should be packaging these up and issuing an ATOL Certificate and extending ATOL cover to you.

With most flights uncovered, there are two steps you must take when booking.

1. Pay at least £100 of your flight by credit card to ensure you have protection under the Consumer Credit Directive for your purchase. If the airline folds you can claim the full cost of your airline ticket back from the credit card company. Otherwise pay by debit card and rely on the Chargeback scheme from your VISA or MasterCard issuer. Never ever pay by cash or bank transfer.

2. Ensure you have a travel insurance policy with End Supplier Failure. If your airline goes under, you will have protection for additional losses such as hotel and tour costs that you may otherwise lose due to the airline collapse.

In recent years there have been several scams involving people booking flights with companies who then run off with their money. If you do not know the name of the company you have found a deal with, go online and check review forums for comments about the firm you plan to give your money to. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, so be aware.

Don't get stung with airline extras

More and more airlines now charge extra for everything from checking in a bag to food, boarding cards and seats.

It really does pay to ensure you are comparing like with like when choosing your cheap flights. Otherwise that cheap deal can easily end up costing more. So ensure you factor in whether the airline is charging for any of these items:

- Checked-in bag and size of hand-luggage allowance

- Excess baggage and weight 

- Sporting goods such as surfboards, bikes and golf clubs

- Prams, child seats and infant baggage

- Selected seating and extra leg room seats

- Boarding cards

- On-board food and drink

- Airport check-in

- Texting a flight confirmation to your phone

- Changes to flight reservations

- Name changes

For more tips on airline charges and how to fly hand-luggage only, read our guide.

Know your rights

When flying from the UK, or anywhere in the world, on an EU carrier you are entitled to rights under the EU261 Directive.

Whether you suffer from a delay or a cancellation, all travellers flying from the EU or anywhere on an EU carrier are entitled to certain levels of service, welfare, and potentially compensation from their airline when things go wrong.

Read our article for help and advice if you have suffered from any of these situations on your flights.