Airline delays, cancellations due to bad weather, staff strikes, over-booked planes, increasing taxes and silly fees for everything from checking in luggage to booking your ticket – airlines certainly know how to cause us grief and get the most money from us. It’s about time that we get the most we can out of them!
In this high-tech era, when the humble high street travel agent is suffering from neglect, and ever-increasing numbers of us are booking flights online, travellers are certainly beginning to miss a few tricks. Whilst booking short-haul flights from A to B is easy and often most cost effective online, if you’re travelling further afield it’s worth doing a little more investigation.
Having worked as a travel consultant, I thought I’d pass on a few pearls of wisdom to make sure you get the most out of your travel. Here’s some top tips for booking your flight of fancy:
The majority of long haul airlines offer free stopovers en route to your chosen destination. The duration of the stopover is often entirely up to you, in fact, you can spend longer in the stop-over destination than you do at your final port of call. Why visit just one destination when you can buy one and get another free? (Or even two… or more?). Few people know this, but you don’t need to book an around-the-world ticket to take advantage of multiple stops. Free stopovers are often offered at the airlines hub city. For instance, travel with Etihad to Delhi and take advantage of a free stopover in Abu Dhabi, which is just a short drive from Dubai or fly China Eastern to Beijing or Hong Kong and get a free stopover in Shanghai.
For an exciting Asian adventure fly with Singapore Airlines and take advantage of their fabulous stopover package, stop for free and get discounted accommodation, free airport transfer and free admission into lots of top attractions. They also offer excellent sector fares in south-east Asia, making it easy to hop over to neighbouring destinations. Make sure that you also check out Emirates, they fly to over 100 destinations and feature free Dubai stopovers with discounted hotel packages on their standard fares. They also offer amazing long-haul multi-stop tickets, giving you 6 stops in total – 4 for free and 2 paid.
You won’t find a lot of this information online, so it is well worth asking the advice of a travel agent such as Flight Centre. If you’re savvy you can take advantage of open jaw tickets, multi stops and discounted sector fares. There are also IT fares that are rarely found online; these are discounted tickets available for those who also book a hotel or tour.
Another thing you can do easily is ensure that you pick the best seat on the plane. Take a look at www.seatguru.com, it’s the ultimate resource for airline seating and general airline info; providing the advantages and disadvantages of every seat, on every plane. The only thing it can’t tell you is who you’ll be stuck next to!
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