Airfare price comparison websites can get you into a lot of excitement for nothing. At first sight, you go crazy about the cheapest ticket and click on “book” button without trying to compare a few points and realize, that this is not what you need. What is worse, some people get a higher price from a travel agent and get mad at him/her, thinking he/she is overcharging or thinking the customer is stupid. This article will help you figure out airfare costs on your own without extra excitement and anxiety, understand how it works and trust your travel agent from Travelrows LLC (not sure about others, he he).
Step by step comparison:
What airline you want to fly with? There are cheap airlines (lowcosters) , there are trustable airlines and there are airlines that you are saving points with. Cheap airlines are the best for non-stop short flights. Trustable airlines are important for 1 or more stops. You do not want to be late for your second flight because of delay (delays happen with any airlines but lowcosters have them more). If you are saving points, then you may want to pick only that airline, but what is the price for the ticket? If it is 3 times more expensive, I would think twice.
2. Travel time:
Omg! This flight is 100 dollars cheaper! Book it! Book it! Wait a second, it is 20 hours longer! Ooops…well, if you ran out of money and just need to get from point A to point B, does not matter how long it will take. But if you are limited on time, traveling with 3 kids or…honestly, who wants to fly for 29 hours instead of 9 with 100 dollars difference?
3. Baggage fees:
This is the creepiest part. Some airfare search engines let you look some baggage fees up, but most of the time you just have to do it yourself on airlines’ official websites. I wish I could just add 20 dollars per suitcase and fly. Rules and prices are so different that you just start hating airlines.
4. Number of stops:
When picking the cheapest price, think of how many stops you are ready to handle. Interesting thing, number of stops and traveling time can differ. You can spend 30 hours traveling with 1 stop or 20 hours with 2 stops. It depends on how much each stop takes. Stops matters if:
- you do not want to switch planes
- you travel with a lot of baggage but airlines does not offer transfer
- you travel with kids, baggage, pets, omg it happens to some people, trust me
- you are not experienced in travel and just freaking out when thinking of it
- you are….there are a lot of people who does not like stops on their way
5. Time between stops:
Why the flight on the screenshot above has 29 hours of travel? Every airfare search website gives you details about the flight – in case of the screenshot above – it is a 15 hours 25 minutes stop. What to do at the airport for 15 hours? Sleep? Walk around the city? Or just pay more and get to your destination faster? It is for you to decide.
6. Cancellation/date change policy:
This is a whole different story. Airfare comparison websites usually list their results starting with the cheapest prices. That means, those tickets have 24 hour max. of cancellation option and no date changes/open date. For better options you should go straight to the airline’s official website. Same about updates for better seats, business and first class flights.
Usually travelers are familiar with 3 main classes: Economy, Business and First Class. The true is, Economy often has some subclasses, depending on the airline. For example, United Airlines currently may offer you economy class tickets the following way: basic economy, economy lowest, economy flexible, premium economy. Frustrating right? We all want it the cheapest. The point is, if a travel agent gives you the price higher that you saw on Skyscanner, that does not mean he is a bad travel agent, probably your requirements suppose to have a more expensive class.
8. Departure time:
You may find a great price but will it fit your preferred departure time? Lets say, cheap flight is at 5am in the morning, but you still have some stuff to do (example: important meeting) at 8 am. Then you can schedule your flight at noon only. You miss that great deal again!
9. High and low seasons:
When searching for an imaginary flight to your perfect vacation do not forget to pick the right dates. Very often I see this situation: A client looks up tickets to Cancun and they are sooooo nice and affordable. He lets the family know, that they are flying to Cancun on Christmas. Oooops, he forgot one thing – when searching for flights he chose random dates, not the ones for Christmas. And you know what, flights to Cancun on Christmas are 3 times more expensive than at the beginning of December. Same month. 3 times cost difference. Same with some flights in June as compare to February – can be up to 3 times more expensive.
10. Flashing sales, promotions, discounts, black fridays and so on
Another thing how airlines attract their customers is special promotions advertised. It is more about ads, not a flight search problem. Lets say, you see on TV that this or that airline offers 99$ flights from US to Europe. OMG! Where is my credit card? I have to book it! But when you get to their website, you can not find flights for that price. You go to the ad itself, trying to reach the information and details. Happens, that those promotions can have a ton, literally a ton of conditions like special dates, times, number of tickets, destinations, memberships, you name it! Almost impossible to fit into all that, especially when flying with a family.
Those were the basics
After figuring this out you realize, that you do not have so many attractive options and reasons to get excited when you look for a flight. The luckiest are those, who can and want to fit into all the above and grab their so cheap air ticket. You should be super flexible to be able to use all those sales, discounts, promotions and whatever airlines offer to attract their customers.
What to do, if you have too many requirements and can not fit into those amazing cheap deals? Relax! Get the ticket for the price it is and enjoy your trip. Life is not a race for a cheap ticket. Think about your needs and ‘wants’ and see what you can adjust for this or that attractive airfare.
Who is the ideal cheap ticket customer? Where was your lucky ticket to? What are your tips and tricks to fit into all the above and not give up on your regular life (except of ideas like quitting job and abandoning your family 🙂 ) Share your thoughts and experience in comments! Contact us for help with finding a flight according to your requirements.
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