Good Morning my friends. Scout here and glad to be back. Last time we got together I shared some tips on finding the “perfect cruise” .Today I’d like to share some of what I’ve been learning about booking airline flights. This seems to be changing from day-to-day. Between changing regulations and airlines looking for ways to keep fares down but make up the difference in very creative fees there’s no end to the possible pitfalls. For example baggage fees and allowances are always changing and vary airline to airline but I think I covered much of that in past posts. So today, let’s concentrate on the travel part.
Whats’s the best seat on the plane? First class , of course but after that how do you choose your seat? You know, you’re booking online and there’s that seating chart and you get to pick an open seat..aisle or window; over the wing or in the back?
Well it depends on your priorities. He’s a couple of things to consider: If you are looking for comfort and a smooth ride, pick a seat over the wings. If you’re looking for quiet then you want to sit as far forward as possible while avoiding the galley and rest rooms. For more leg room try the first row or seats near the emergency exits.
When is the best time of day to look for flight to get the best deals? Airlines usually reload their computers at midnight. So as soon after that as you can may offer some major savings. Airlines often have flights that were reserved but not paid for that are added back in to the inventory so there may be more options.
Watch for Sales! Not just on your airline of choice. Often when one airline announces a sale other airlines will soon follow suit so it pays to keep your eyes and ears open and click around.
Fare Alerts: On some sites like Kayak you can set a Fare Alert and be emailed when the price changes on the flight you asked to have watched.
Fly Small. By this I mean fly the smaller airlines which are subsidiaries of the “Big Boys” Two examples are Delta Express and Metro-Jet. Dusty has flown Delta Express a number of times without any problems.
Check surrounding airports. Most online travel sites give you the option to check surrounding airports. Often there’s a less expensive option to a neighboring city. Depending on your particular trip you may find a connecting flight , a bus route or , if you were going to rent a car anyway, just driving to your destination city. Dusty and her sister did that on a trip to Hawaii. They flew out of Hartford instead of Albany.
Take advantage of Overbooking. If you have flexibility this is a great way to get upgrades or free flights. Dusty has used this trick several times when traveling alone since she isn’t inconveniencing anyone else. For this trick you need to be booked on a flight that is over-booked. This happens a lot around the holidays or Monday morning or Friday afternoon, but a lot of it is just by luck. When it does happen the ticket attendant will ask for volunteers to give up their seats in return for some compensation. Sometimes money, often a ticket voucher or a free upgrade to first class on the next flight to your destination. Dusty has witnessed “bidding wars” where the airline keeps sweetening the pot if they don’t get enough volunteers on their first try. Dusty loves those! 🙂
Neighboring Airports. We talked about this already but I thought I’d toss out some of the main airports where options might work for the everyday traveler.
For the BOSTON area…TF GReen in Providence, RI; Manchester NH; and even Hartford CT can give you lower cost flights in exchange for using alternate transportation for the last leg into Boston.
When traveling to Washington D. C. try the Baltimore airport. It’s close but not the D.C. Hub.
New York City, the Big Apple….don’t forget Newark , NJ is just across the river. Plenty of ways into the “City” from there.
LAX? Los Angeles. Be sure to check nearby in Orange County, Burbank or Ontario (California) airports.
Websites. Keep in mind that some airlines only work through their own website so a site like Kayak or Priceline won’t have these offerings.
Social Networks. More and more airlines are offering special sales to their online community. To get in on these you have to be connected. Find their website on Facebook and Twitter and then be sure to click the “Like” button.
Well, I think it’s time to wrap up this post. I hope you find this helpful. Until next time..Happy Traveling!