A personal note from Ales!
I still vividly remember when I was about 8 years old and boarded my first flight from Germany to what is now the beautiful small country of Slovenia to visit my grandmother. I was flying alone and had a flight attendant, in those days we still called them stewardesses, take care of me until I was in the loving care of my grandma.
I believe it was that day when I became fascinated with flying and traveling the globe. As soon as I had reached adulthood and was allowed to leave home on my own I was off to places all around the world.
I wasn’t even aware of how much I had flown until about 3 years ago when I received a package from Air Canada. Inside was a beautiful wooden box which included a Boeing 777 model airplane with a plaque saying: “1 Million Miles with Air Canada”, and a letter from the airline thanking me for my loyalty.
It was an exciting time and having made all flight arrangements on my own it taught me a tremendous amount about the ins and outs on booking air travel.
Things have changed dramatically over the last 10 years. When I first started flying, everything was done over the phone, a travel agent or the airline’s office in a major city. Today you can book travel through 100’s of different online agencies, airline websites or a trusted travel professional.
Just before I moved to Canada about 14 years ago I had to travel to South East Asia about 4 times a year and later crossed the Atlantic about once every month, flying between Vancouver and London or Frankfurt.
There is a misconception that airline tickets are cheapest when bought through one of the big online agencies like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz….etc. It is my experience that nowadays in most cases everyone has the same airfares, however there are a few exceptions.
A trusted travel professional will be able to find the best options for you but if you do decide to book airline tickets yourself I’d like to share some important tips which will help you to make the best choices.
If you are not sure yet which airline to take for the route you are planning to travel on, check one of the major online booking sites and enter your departure airport and arrival city. This will give you a great overview of which airlines fly the requested route as well as itineraries, schedules and pricing. Please remember that when you book domestic flights, some airlines don’t show up on online booking sites. Southwest Airlines is one of them and it’s always worthwhile checking them out.
Most often a domestic airline tickets will be priced lowest with the airline direct and one of the reason’s I highly recommend to book with the airline is, if there are any complications during your trip with your flights, it will be much easier to deal with the airline than having to contact a large online agency like Expedia. In most cases the airline won’t even be able to offer assistance when your ticket has been purchased through an online agency.
When you see an extremely low fare, do make sure that if connections are involved, that they are reasonable. Often there are very long layovers, even overnight, which can be the reason for the low fare.
When you look at the flights offered, make sure that you have enough time to make plane changes which can include immigration and customs clearance depending on where you are flying to.While different airports around the world have so called ‘legal connecting times’, I found that these are often not adequate unless all your flights are on time and there are no other delays involved. It is better to choose a longer connecting time making your trip less stressful and more enjoyable.
Once you have found the flights you are ready to book, I highly recommend to check with the airline directly and see if they offer the same airfare. If they do book it with the airline for the reasons I mentioned above. An additional advantage is that you will be able to select your seats and if offered even pay for an upgrade to an Economy Plus seat (if you are traveling in Economy Class), where offered by the airlines. In the US, Delta, American and United have these options and I am sure more will follow suit.
If you have any flexibility in your travel plans also check flights a day or two before and after your planned travel dates – prices can vary drastically.
Most often the cheapest airfares for international travel can be found on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays though this can vary depending how full flights are on certain days and dates.
There are many factors involved when it comes to airline pricing but if you follow the tips above you’ll have a good chance of booking flights you’ll be happy with.
Also remember that we as travel professionals are able to get discounted airfares on many routes and airlines, depending on dates and flights, especially for international air travel but most of all we’ll have your back and deal with any hick ups that might come up during your travels.
If you have any questions or would like additional information on booking flights, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.
I’ve been passionate about travel ever since I can remember. Having had the opportunity to travel all around the world for many years it’s my greatest desire to enrich peoples lives in a profound way by creating unforgettable journeys, and give each of my clients the amazing experiences I’ve had throughout my travels.
By allowing me to design your journeys, you can be assured that you will be taken care of from the moment we start planning your vacation until the moment you return. Contact me and let me know where you would like to go or let me help you find the destination that will give you the experience you are looking for.
May all your travels stir your soul and change your life forever – Ales.