There is flip side to cheap tickets: time spent scouring the web for the best deal. Get tips and advice for finding cheap flights, booking cheap tickets and traveling on low-cost or no frills airlines.
The no-frills airline, launched by Southwest in the 1980s, is no longer a U.S. phenomena. Low cost carriers are popping up around the world. They are taking over domestic and international routes throughout Europe and Asia and select routes in South America, Africa and the Middle East. A few even operate intercontinental flights. And many are profitable.
Yet there is a flip side to cheap tickets. Travelers can spend a significant amount of time scouring the web for the best deal. Not all countries have a low cost carrier and not all airports are serviced by a discount airline. Many low-fare companies cannot be booked through on-line agencies or consolidators, such as: JetRadar, Kayak, NetFlights, SkyScanner, CheapTickets, Opodo or Kiwi to book the flights. Though you can get really good deals by knowing how to use consolidators, remember they are not structured for great service. They’re playing the quantity game not the hold-your-hand game. If you need personal attention use your travel agent instead.
The best time to use consolidators is during high travel times of the year. Other than these peak travel times consolidators don’t really offer much better rates than those offered in the lowest advertised fares. Yet, you can enjoy 20-30% off when you decide to travel during Christmas, for instance.
The other good time to turn to consolidators is if you are traveling on short notice. Unlike the airlines, they don’t penalize you for traveling on the spur of the moment.
Promotional offers are usually limited and expire on a daily if not hourly basis. And when you finally find a flight, it is difficult to compare the offering. Here on World-Traveler-Club we try to find every sale, promotion offer or error fares for you.
The following tips will reduce your search time and prepare you for any additional travel time.
- Determine which carriers service the route you wish to fly. Many airport web sites include a route map as well as a list of carriers. Alternatives will only become apparent if you check the web site of both airports, arrival and departure.
- If you are traveling abroad or within a foreign country or continent, identify local on-line agencies and consolidators of discount airfares.
- Low cost carriers often use secondary airports. Verify distance and ground transportation before you book. Most low-fare carriers and many consolidators provide such information on their web sites.
- Many low-fare carriers offer point-to-point service. It may not be possible to check-in for a second flight at a transit desk. Thus you may need to build-in time between flights to accommodate any passport formalities, claim your luggage and check-in for the second leg of your journey.
- Security precautions introduced by major credit card companies may limit your ability to book flights on foreign web sites.
Getting the best deal:
- Initiate your search with on-line agencies and consolidators. We offer here a FLIGHT TICKET META PRICE SEARCH to grab the cheapest offer for you.
- Subscribe to the airline and to the consolidator’s newsletter.
- Utilize services that enable you to set a price, such as the Orbitz “Deal Detector”. Orbitz will send an email if fares on the route you select drop to the price level you set. The service is available for free.
- Use the consolidator as a tool. Compare other travel sites.
- Low cost fares are often quoted on a one-way basis.
- Taxes, handling fees and other surcharges are not always included in the initial price. Click through to the final page to effectively compare cost.
- Airfare may be quoted in the airline or consolidator’s local currency only. Converting fares to a single currency will facilitate comparison.
- Always use a credit card with consolidators. Some consolidators can charge high fees if you change your plans and/or cancel your flight. So make sure you understand what the policy on cancellations and refunds is.
Before you depart:
- Pack a lunch or a snack and drinks. Food and drinks are no longer included in most of the ticket prices! Note, liquds with more than 100 ml are not allowed to bring in the plane.
- Arrive at the airport early if you want to sit next to your companion and the kids. Seating is likely to be open and boarding is oftentimes based on the order in which passengers’ check-in.
Book here your Flights at the best price:
Please note, prices and deals may change fast due to utilization of the contingent.