If I want to buy cheap flights but don't want to book 6 months ahead, how can I get a good balance of cheapness and good timing??
Are there places to book cheap flights last minute?
(e.g. in the airports??)
When you say 'cheap flights', do you mean low-cost airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir, or just cheap(er) flights on any airlines including national carriers like BA?
For personal flight bookings (i.e. not at work), I've used Trailfinders (largest UK travel company) and found them to be very helpful. They should be able to answer your question about the 'best time' to book. In my experience, it's actually hard to predict when the cheapest time is to book, unless there's some kind of deal available.
Here's a list of European low-cost airlines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_low-cost_airlines#Europe
What country would you be booking the flights from?
I've never bought flights from the airport -- not sure that you can. almost 10 years ago
There are various search engines that let you keep an eye on prices, but usually with companies such as EasyJet then the earlier you book, the cheaper the flight, but you are then usually unable to change your flights.
I always use a couple of different search engines such as expedia or opodo plus I go directly to the airline websites which can be just as competitive. Also, sign up for the airlines frequent flyer or early bird announcements - you can sometimes get bargains or more competitive flights.
Trailfinders and also the Flightcentre are two good places to look.
If its the summer and you want to go to a popular tourist destination, then you can sometimes pick up cheap tickets at the very last minute but this isnt always a guarantee. almost 10 years ago