Travel Inspiration

Top Tips For Booking Your Next Flight

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I have a confession – I love looking for flights and planning trips, even if they are ones I don’t even plan on taking. This year alone I have taken 19 flights all of which I have booked and planned personally. I’d like to think that having researched, booked and taken so many flights in my lifetime I can offer you a few hints and tips which you may find helpful when booking your next flight. Hopefully they will help you to find the best deal available and remind you of some mistakes that even the most experienced travellers often make in order for you not to make the same ones.

Use a price comparison site

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There are way too many airlines out there for you to check each and every one individually when booking a flight. Personally, I do not have the time to input the same details over and over again and then write down the result from each search. That is why I always use a price comparison site like Webjet, it means I only have to enter my requirements once in order to get a raft of responses. Search results can then be filtered to even better suit my needs i.e. price, direct flights, departure time. Also, results are often returned from airlines you may never have considered if you were conducting individual searches, making finding the most value for money flight a whole lot easier and quicker.

Check out the baggage allowance

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I am a whizz at packing a carry on for a 3/4 day trip but any longer and I’m afraid I have to bring out my big suitcase. But big suitcases usually mean additional costs on most, if not all budget airlines, and at between £15 and £60 for a 20kg bag that can actually double the amount you spent on the flight in the first place. Twice this year we have found flights via national carriers (Air Malta and Iceland Air) that have not been the cheapest but they have included a hold bag in the price, making the price still cheaper than a budget airline flight plus the additional baggage fee. This reminded us that sometimes the cheapest one initially is not always the best option.

Paying for and selecting your seats

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Sometimes there is just no getting around having to pay to reserve your seat especially if you are adamant that you want to sit next to your travel companion or like me you are a nervous flyer and need to hold their hand. Some airlines charge as little as £3 per person each way, which isn’t that much considering what you probably paid for the flight in the first place, whereas some others can charge up to £25 which could be actually more than you paid for a budget airline flight to start with. But what if I told you some airlines don’t charge, you simply have to ring them in advance and request that you sit together! Over the past few years Sri Lanka Airlines, Royal Brunei and Cathay Pacific have all seated us together in the seats we wanted for nothing. Therefore proving – you don’t get, if you don’t ask!

Don’t forget to double check your details

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Sounds like an obvious one doesn’t it? Maybe too obvious and that’s why people often enter the incorrect details and then kick themselves when they have to pay to rectify them. A prime example of this is booking your honeymoon. I personally changed my passport into my married name before our wedding, this meant I could then go on my honeymoon as Mrs Etherington and not in my maiden name, which was quite a big thing for me. Because changing your passport costs a fair bit in England some people don’t change their passport into their married name until their old one expires. So when my friend recently booked flights for him and his wife (they have been married for 3 years) in her married name, he then had to fork out £30 to change it to her maiden has she has not updated her passport yet.

Do you have any top tips for people when booking their next flight? We’d love to hear them, especially if it saves us a few pounds or grey hairs!

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8 comments on “Top Tips For Booking Your Next Flight

  1. Handy tips – especially “if you don’t ask you don’t get”. I flew with Cathay Pacific this year to HK and Japan, and we checked in online selecting seats apart (only ones available as we were in Economy) to save airport stress and then when we checked in our hold luggage they changed our seats for free so we could sit together. A definite perk of a non-budget airline – near enough the only time I’ve ever flown with a more expensive airline. I’d also say that although you can scout out good deals yourself, for long haul travel sometimes it’s worth running a route past a travel agent. This past summer I flew Manchester > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Tokyo, Osaka > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > London, and booking through a travel agent specialised in routes UK-HK saved my boyfriend and I £200 each, when compared to the prices of the flights bought through the airline’s own website.

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  2. Great tips! I’d also remind everyone to clear their cookies after a search…it’s amazing how many times prices increase on my laptop but is lower on hubby’s!

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  3. If I’m not tied to specific dates, I always check a few days either side of when I want to travel, as it can be a difference of hundreds. If flying in to one airport and out of another, I try switching the airports to see if it saves any money. I recently flew to London to Venice, out of Frankfurt to Reykjavik and then back to London. The initial plan had been to start in Reykjavik and end in Venice, but it was so much cheaper to go in reverse!

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