Do you love flying? Would you love to fly a lot? Do you want to do it in a smartest way possible? Here is a guide to booking your flights.
There is a long-standing myth that you should book your air tickets as advanced as possible. Nowadays, airlines have high competition and you keep getting emails about air fare sales.
Just register to multiple newsletter from different airlines that keep offering sales.All the airlines have their own mobile app notifying you about the sale. Whenever airline needs more liquidity for buying up assets or related tasks, they always create sale to create instant liquidity.
You shouldn’t book flight more than 120 days in advance unless you buying them in sale. Flight times may change, lot of things might go side way. Yes if you book flight within 30 days of flying you would have to pay premium. Safe distance is usually 45 to 90 days.
Have too much baggage?
It is always safer to buy extra baggage online than paying it up at the airport.
If you are carrying too much baggage – go premium and get a business class booking. Usually the difference is very small to get business class than pay high amount of baggage. I have seen myriad of people paying upto $100 for extra baggage fees. Just get it upgraded before hand. Don’t do it at airport.
If you have followed my advice and signed up for frequent flyer program already. Getting business class booking from your miles is easiest route possible. I have many times seen business class sales where you can partially pay with miles and partially with cash to make it more profitable. This is usually only possible at booking window. Remember its always free to sign up for frequent flyer program.
Normally all the airlines have office at the airport. Try to avoid taking airlines which doesn’t have office in the country you are flying from. There is always major issues to get any kind of changes done.
Always try to book tickets from airline’s own website than using third party providers such as kayak, makemytrip, expedia. Those booking agents charge their own cancellation fees if you require to do that. Plus usually process is more tedious.
If you are using frequent flyer program (FFP), most airlines with such program offer bonus miles to book from their own website. Remember now a days airmiles are almost an alternate currency.
Usually all major carriers have partnership with some banking company which provides co-branded cards. Usually those cards provides highest return on purchase of tickets. You would always get extra airmiles to buy tickets from those cards. Choose the card which provides you the best rewards. It makes every point count.
Things to make sure while booking
Which airport are you going to fly from and land to.
Lot of cities have multiple airports and getting from one to another can be a task.
If anyone has been to Moscow – You know how it is to land at either of Domodevo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and changing the airport is a big task.
If you flying low cost like in Warsaw – Modlin is like really far off from the main city. You really don’t want to fly there. Better stick to Choplin airport. I know they almost sound the same when you read them. Just know where you are landing.However if you are flying international – its always smarter to fly to smaller airport as they have lesser queues and less airport tax. Sometimes flying to Alternate airport is cheaper.
Don’t forget to clear your cookies before booking airfares.
Lot of times due to failed attempt or any stupid reason – Airlines always tricks you into believing its last seat to be booked. Lot of time you refresh browser and seat is gone. However, if you clear your cookies and wait for 90 minutes, those seats tend to come back. Lot of times Airlines would charge you extra fees if they see you researching multiple sites. They know you are willing to fly so why not to charge you little extra while you make your mind.
I am not sure what Incognito mode does about it. Check your own results and drop me comments about it.
Choose to book hotels from PC vs Mac as mentioned by Orbitz that lot of sitestend to give you pricier hotel options if you are using MAC
Avoid booking when airlines have let prices drift up.
Unless you are booking travel for work, it is obviously most convenient to shop for and purchase airfares over the weekend, when you have more free time. Airlines, however, historically tend to offer sale fares very late on Sunday nights and early Monday morning, then let fares drift up over the next day or so as folks pounce on those fares. Then on Monday overnight, they will often reduce fares again on routes that did not sell well, which you can purchase on Tuesday.
Don’t fly on Friday or Sunday if you can avoid it.
Airlines tend to jack up airfares for Friday and Sunday flights for the simple reason that these are the most likely days leisure travelers and vacationers are going to travel. The number of travelers also gets pushed up on Fridays by business travelers racing home, so this can be a particularly pricey day.
Don’t overlook the in-flight experience.
If you find yourself choosing among fares that are reasonably close, you may want to check whether one airline has better entertainment options, seatback screens vs. overhead (or none), a better seat layout, more legroom or better meal service. Price aside, these are all factors that can make a big difference in how pleasant (or miserable) your flight might be. Sites such as Hipmunk.com and Routehappy.com can help you discover potential snags that you might not have anticipated, and that will give you more upon which to base your flight choices than just price.
Go to sites like seatguru.com and get your seat booked in advance. Don’t get to airport and try to ask for decent seat on the flight. It would never happen. Most smart flyers have already booked your favorite seat.
Don’t ignore other costs, both human and financial.
Sometimes the money you save on a cheaper airfare is absorbed almost instantly by other expenses you incur. When booking your flights, try to consider any fees that might accrue on what looks like a cheaper flight.
Easy examples might be the need to stay in an airport hotel for a really early flight, higher baggage fees on a discount airline or gas and tolls to a more distant airport.
Public transport usually doesn’t work early morning or late nights in most of the city and you might have to take taxi anyway. Many countries have separate Taxi fares. You pay different price during the day and then there is late night fees where you pay extra to travel during that period.
In India – it is usually 11 PM /Midnight to 5 /6 am depending on the city.
Lot of times you would have to get way early to airport because your transport doesn’t work.
Use multiple sites to check if you are getting best airfare
Confirming its the cheapest airfare?
- Google Flights
What if I cancel/change my plan?
Always check – just in case you need to cancel – How much is it going to change you. If you need to change your plans, how much would it cost?
P.S Different sky views of different countries.
Let me know what you would like me to share in comments.