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Hotwire Flights: Tips and FAQ's

What You Need to Know using Hotwire Flights

You can save a lot using discounted Hotwire flights, but you need to know the ins and outs of using these.

Hotwire Flights FAQ space bar

Are Hotwire airfares good deals?

As the deep discount arm of the company that owns, Hotwire enjoys huge buying power and negotiates great deals.

Think of Hotwire as a discount outlet store. Airlines are motivated to discount because once an empty seat takes off, it cannot be sold.

Hotwire discounts may not work so well during peak periods. If you're traveling to Las Vegas on a Friday and returning on Sunday, expect airfares to be higher, with often little or no discount off regular fares. However, check because you may get lucky.

What are the best deals?

For best prices on, look especially for a "Our lowest fare" in the flight choices.

How low these prices are depends on demand.

Which airlines does Hotwire use?

Hotwire works with airlines like American, Delta, Northwest, Cathay Pacific, United, Singapore, British Airways, Frontier, US Airways, and Virgin Atlantic—the ones that generally offer advanced seat selection. Hotwire does not use Southwest Airlines.

Are there advanced purchase requirements?

No, not for the fares displayed. However, your fare is not guaranteed until paid for.

Can you get Hotwire discount fares on same-day flights?

Yes, if discounted seats are still available.

In order for you to have ample time to get to the airport and go through security, Hotwire currently will not book you on a flight earlier than

  • 5 1/2 hours for Canada and the U.S.
  • 7 1/2 hours for international destinations

Moreover, you cannot book "Our lowest fare" international Hotwirel flights after 4:00 p.m. (local time at the airport) for same-day departures. That limits what is available.

Must I stay over a Saturday night for the lowest fare?

Generally no.

Do I pick my flight times? offers two types of airfares —

  • Regular Discounted Fares—you pick your airline and flight times, as on other sites.

  • Hotwire's "Our lowest fare"—you pick the day, but not the time or airline, for the largest discount.

    For travel within Canada and the U.S., a Hotwire "Our lowest fare" may depart anytime between 6 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., unless Hotwire tells you otherwise prior to booking.

    When offered, Hotwire "Our lowest fare" to destinations outside of North America normally involve overnight travel and may need more than one connection. Also, all passengers to international destinations now need passports or an approved alternative.

What if I don't see a Hotwire "Our lowest fare?"

Try other dates and alternative airports.

These low fares are usually worth some flexibility on your part. Hotwire may suggest alternatives.

What about connection times?

"Our lowest fare" Hotwire flights to Canadian or U.S. destinations travel either nonstop or with no more than one flight connection, unless Hotwire tells you otherwise prior to booking. 

Eighty percent of Hotwire "Our lowest fare" connection layover times in North America are 90 minutes or less. Scheduled domestic layovers are never longer than 3 hours, unless flight schedules offer no choice..

International travel other than to Canada may require longer connections.

Non-jet aircraft?

"Our lowest fare" Hotwire flights do not guarantee travel on a jet.

Can I get a refund or make changes?

Once you authorize your credit card payment for a Hotwire "Our lowest fare," you can not get a refund. You will not be able to change your ticket even by paying a fee.

Regular Hotwire flights follow the usual airline rules. These tickets are usually non refundable, but at times part of their cost may be applied to later trip.

How will I get my ticket?

Tickets to places in North America and most international tickets are issued electronically. You do not have to bring along a paper ticket, which could be lost or stolen.

However, be sure to bring a copy of your confirmation for airport security and check-in. If you have no access to a printer, write down your reservation information.

Can I stand by for alternative flights?

Some airlines, but not all, allow you to stand by for alternative flights on the same day for a fee, when using Hotwire discounted tickets.

You should stand by for earlier flights. If not able to get on earlier, you can always use your reserved Hotwire flights.

Should I do anything after booking?


After an hour or two, call the airline to make sure that it correctly lists your reservation. Ask how soon you will be able to request aisle or window seats. The airline may confirm your choice then.

Also check deadlines for checking in and for being at the gate. If not at the boarding gate when called to board, your reservation may be given to a standby passenger.

Reconfirm flight times several times prior to traveling, in case of changes.

These days, allow more time than you think you may need for getting to the airport.

Any other tips?

Again, always check alternative dates on for the best prices.

Enjoy getting a great deal on Hotwire flights!



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