The flights are usually the most expensive part of travel so you need to be careful when you’re buying them.
You can’t just go onto the airline website and buy the first ones you find because you’ll end up spending way more than you need to. You also need to think about how easy the journey is going to be.
Price isn’t the only thing to think about because you might be able to get a cheap deal but if it’s going to be a pain to get to the airport or you have to make loads of changes. You need to think about what happens if the flight is canceled as well because all airlines have their own policy.
So you can see, booking a flight is a lot more complicated than most people realize. If you’re about to book a trip, make sure you consider these things first.
#1 The Airport
Picking the right airport is important and you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong. There are 2 main things people think about when picking an airport to fly from; the price of the flights and how close it is to them.
You might just go for the one that is closest to your house for convenience, but then you could end up paying a lot more than you would from another airport. Usually, the bigger airports with more runways offer cheaper deals.
However, you might decide to go the other way and just choose the one with the cheapest flight. That’s fine, but have you thought about how you’re going to get there. If you have to pay for a long airport transfer to get there, the combined cost might actually be more than flying from a closer airport that charges a bit more. Make sure that you think about the combined cost to find the best deal and think about how far you’re willing to travel to the airport.
When you’re choosing an airport to fly into, you’ve got to be careful because some of them are named badly. They might choose the name of the nearest large city but they could still be miles away. If you don’t check where they are, you can easily get caught out.
For example, Munich West is actually 70 miles away from Munich itself. You also need to be careful with airports that sound similar to other places. Always double check where the airport is on a map so you’re actually landing where you need to be.
#2 Compensation Policy
If your flight is cancelled, you’re going to want a refund. A lot of airlines will offer that but some won’t. Some of the budget ones will only give you vouchers for more flights which might not necessarily work for you.
There has been a lot of problems recently with people being bumped from overbooked flights and not being offered a cash refund as well so you need to watch out for that. You also need to find out what their policy is in the event of a crash.
Some airlines will be more forthcoming with compensation but others might fight you on it so you’ll need aviation lawyers to help you claim the money that you’re owed. Always find out exactly what the compensation policy of the airline is and read the fine print before you book a ticket.
If the airline doesn’t have a very good compensation policy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t go with them. But you do need to look into insurance to protect yourself if the flight is canceled.
If you book with a credit card, you’ll usually get the cost of the flights back if they’re canceled but it’s worth getting travel insurance anyway to cover things like lost luggage or money.
#4 Extra Charges
The price that is advertised for a ticket is rarely the final price that you’ll pay because there are usually extra charges. Most airlines will charge you a bit extra to check a suitcase which isn’t too bad, but some of the budget ones will have all sorts of extra charges.
Spirit Airlines or Ryanair in Europe are the worst offenders for this. They offer very cheap flights but you’ll have to pay extra for a carry on, a fee for printing your boarding pass, extra for choosing your own seat and sitting with the people you travel with etc. Before you know it, the price has more than doubled and that cheap flight is actually more expensive than the other options.
There are also a lot of hidden charges that they spring on you at the airport so it’s vital that you know exactly what you’ll be charged for before you book so there are no surprises.
These airlines can be a good way to travel on a budget but only if you know how to get around all of their tricks and hidden charges so read the contract thoroughly before booking anything.
When you’re trying to get cheap deals, going at odd times is usually a good way to save, but you’ve got to be careful. Depending on where you’re staying, you might not be able to check in at certain times.
If you get a cheap flight that gets you in in the early hours of the morning, what do you do if you can’t check into the hotel until morning?
Always make sure that you can actually get an airport transfer and check into wherever you’re staying when you land before you book the flights. Don’t forget about the time difference either.
If you fly somewhere with a big-time difference it’s easy to get mixed up and make arrangements for the wrong time. If that happens and you suddenly realize when you get there that you booked your airport transfer at the wrong time, you’re in big trouble. Make sure that you double check what the time difference is before you make arrangements.
Always consider these things before you book any flights to avoid extra charges, travel disasters or lost money.