Many countries offer air passes to tourists at reduced rates, in order to promote their tourism industry. These are very helpful for extensive traveling in a particular country or region.
Whether it is a long-planned holiday or a spontaneous trip, booking an appropriate flight is the first thing you would want to do. Picking up a flight that best suits all your needs, from a wide array of options, can be a challenging task. You might have to consider a lot of factors, in order to pick up the right airline for your journey, as even the seemingly minutest of these factors may affect, not only your flying experience, but also the overall cost of your trip. Therefore, it is surely not advisable to miss out even on a single detail regarding the flight you may want to book.
Factors to Consider While Booking a Flight
We have compiled a brief list of factors that you would want to consider before you book your flight ticket.
Price of the Ticket
This is, by far, one of the most important things to consider before you buy your airplane ticket. Ticket prices for different airlines differ from each other, and more often than not, people always prefer to go for a cheapest deal. This is pretty obvious, because saving on the cost of your air ticket may, indeed, help you save a few bucks on the total cost of your trip.
Tip: It is vital that you check whether the price you are being offered is inclusive or exclusive of taxes. Plus, there might also be several add-ons and overhead costs, such as baggage fees, which you may have to pay, thus, making your overall travel all the more expensive.
Quantity of Baggage Allowed
This is another important factor that you will have to consider, especially if you are planning a long holiday and/or an international trip. Airlines would generally allow you to carry only a certain quantity of baggage, free of cost. Any baggage over and above this quantity is often charged by the airline. Again, the baggage rules differ from airline to airline, and so it is important to see whether your chosen airline is satisfying your needs in this regard. If you have more luggage with you, you might want to look out for an airline that allows for more free luggage, and so on.
Tip: It is always advisable to plan in advance, and carry only as much luggage as required. Make sure that you do not carry unnecessary items as the total weight of your baggage may exceed the total weight of free baggage allowed, and you may have to pay a hefty sum for the remaining quantity.
Number of Halts
Even if yours might be a direct flight, taking you directly to your destination, you may still need to check if it is a non-stop flight or has a couple of intermediate halts. The total time taken to complete your journey depends largely on this factor. It also helps you determine the actual value of your ticket. For instance, you may book a ticket thinking that it is cheaper than the other deals, but it might take, say, six hours more than the other non-stop flights to reach the destination. It is important to think whether it is okay to waste so much time in between before reaching the final destination, just for saving a little amount of money.
Tip: If you think that you are getting the best deal on the price of your ticket, do check for the number of intermediate stops your flight may have and their duration.
If you have chosen to take an indirect flight to your destination, it is advisable that you check properly and carefully for the transit times. Sometimes, in order to catch a connecting flight, you may have to wait at an airport for several long hours. In such cases, waiting at the airport, doing nothing, may be extremely boring. On the other hand, some flights also have a very short transit time. Owing to this, a lot of passengers often miss their connecting flights if their first flight gets delayed.
Tip: Ensure that you properly plan your first flight, in case you have to catch a connecting flight. Make sure there is at least a difference of two hours between the arrival time of your first flight, and the departure time of the second. This will give you enough time to collect your baggage, etc.
Time of the Flight
There might be a number of flights in a day, flying between two given points. These may fly at different times of the day, thus, giving you ample choice to choose from. Usually, flights that may reach the destinations at odd times, such as late night, are cheaper than those reaching during peak hours. The reasons are obvious. Moreover, people might prefer to fly at a certain time of the day―some people might find it difficult to catch an early morning flight, and vice versa.
Tip: If you are well acquainted with the place you wish to travel to, you might go for a flight reaching there at an odd time, and thus, save a few bucks. But, if you a first-time visitor, it is advisable that you don't compromise on your safety, for money.
Changing the Airport
Some indirect flight itineraries may require you to alight at one airport, and take a connecting flight to your destination from some other airport within the same city. Sometimes, the airline does not even offer transport to take passengers to the other airport, in which case, one may have to manage on his/her own. This might be frustrating for many people, who may be new to the city or may be traveling with limited monetary supplies. Moreover, if a passenger holds a specific visa, which may allow a limited access, he/she might not be allowed in a particular country, without valid documents.
Tip: Make sure that you have checked the flight's itinerary carefully before you make the booking. Get all the points such as the distance between the two airports, or the route to take, etc., cleared well in advance.
Unless it is an official, emergency, or a spontaneous trip, you can plan your tour well in advance. You can also list out a set of possible dates you can travel on. For instance, if you are planning to travel for attending a wedding, you can list out certain dates before the wedding day, and choose one of them according to availability. Trying different dates can help you save some money.
Tip: Try to be as flexible as possible with your dates. This will open up more options for you. By sticking to one particular date of travel, you may end up spending more money than necessary.
Some people may prefer a certain airline over the others, especially if they are point collectors of some airline's frequent flyer program. A person may also not like to travel by some airline if he/she has had a bad experience in the past, such as loss of luggage. This affects one's decision of buying an airline ticket to a considerable extent.
On a closing note: If you have already planned your trip, it is advisable to book airline tickets at least six weeks ahead. You will be able to avail a lot of discounts. As your date starts getting closer, your tickets will often start getting more and more expensive. You can also consult your travel agent regarding the best time to buy air tickets. This will also help you save some money on your travel.