Travel Tips: Find the Best Value Flight for Your Money

Finding great value flights is one of the first steps to start booking a special trip. As most people are on a budget when they travel, this article aims to give you a good starting point to find a value for money deal for your flights.

Finding great value flights is one of the first steps to start booking a special trip.  As most people are on a budget when they travel, this article aims to give you a good starting point to find a value for money deal for your flights.

Visit a travel agent in the early stages of your research to get a quotation, and you will also get a better understanding of which airlines fly to your destinations and routes worth considering. You may find that a good travel agent will also provide you with the best value for money airfare.  Ensure you also ask when they will require payment and the booking terms and conditions.

It is always worthwhile to do further research using online options.  Ensure you carefully read the terms and conditions of each booking option, and understand any additional costs which may apply.  You are not always conducting an equitable comparison when you compare a low cost airline with a full service airline, as items such as food, entertainment and checked luggage may incur additional costs.

Worthwhile additional research before you finalize your booking includes examination of customer airline reviews, airline safety records and seating options.

Airfare Booking Tips

· Book as early as possible.

· Ensure you are conducting an equitable comparison of airfares – review any additional fees which are charged, and also airport transfer costs.  Getting to secondary airports can be more expensive than you realize!!

· Be flexible with dates and timings and avoid peak periods to get the best price.

· Compare how much two one way flights are separate to a return flight – sometimes the individual one way flights can be cheaper.

· Research websites which are based in your destination country for pricing – sometimes there can be a significant price difference.

· When booking connecting flights, carefully check that you have allowed sufficient time to transfer, especially if you need to collect bags and go through customs before checking into your connecting flight.  It is better to be bored in an airport for a few hours than to be panicked that you may miss your connecting flight!!  This is particularly an issue when you are using low cost fares where you cannot easily transfer your flight.

· Carefully check the terms and conditions of your flight, and understand cancellation and transfer options and costs.

Conventional Airfares

Following research of ten major flight comparison websites Kayak Skyscanner Expedia webjet lastminute.com Travelocity FareCompare Mobissimo Priceline, I have the following recommendations to help you get started:

Kayak is an excellent option to research options.  In my tests, the results included the most airline options in the results, however the flight prices can be less competitive.  Kayak is a great resource to identify options to stop in alternate locations along the way.

Travellers with Children.  If you are a family with children, to obtain the best pricing use Skyscanner, Expedia, webjet and lastminute.com.  Ensure you obtain pricing from all sites before making your booking.  Some of the other flight booking websites will not allow you to enter details of children and infants, therefore making price comparison and booking a lot more difficult.

Adult Travellers.  If all travellers are adults, also compare prices in Kayak, along with Skyscanner, Expedia, webjet, lastminute.com and Travelocity.

Before you book, also compare your selected airfare with the direct airline websites, and check carefully for additional fees and the fare terms and conditions.

Low Cost Airfares

Also check the low cost airfare options, as some carriers fly non-standard routes which could affect how you develop your trip itinerary.

For low cost airfare travel worldwide, a great option to do further research is Attitude Travel – Low Cost Airlines.  This website provides comprehensive information about low cost airlines on a regional basis, with maps to assist you with identifying which airlines service each country.  Skyscanner also provides detailed information about low cost airline options.

For low cost airfare travel in Europe the following websites provide useful information:

Dealchecker   Attitude Travel – Europe   FlyLowCostAirlines – Search Function

An informative article about low cost flights within Europe is Rick Steves – Flights.

Round the World Airfares, Circle Airfares and Regional Passes

Round the world flights are normally packaged through the three worldwide airline alliances.  Each of the following websites is the direct link to the alliance web pages to enable you to better understand your options.  It is worthwhile to get a travel agent fare comparison for these fares, to ensure you are getting the best price.

OneWorld Alliance provides:

· Round the World fares.

· Multicontinent fares including Circle Atlantic, Circle Pacific, Circle Trip Explorer, and Circle Asia and Southwest Pacific.

· Regional passes including Africa, Asia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, North America, Mexico and Central America, and South America.

Star Alliance provides:

· Round the World fares.

· Multicontinent fares including Circle Asia, Circle North Asia and Circle Pacific.

· Regional passes including Africa, Asia, Brazil, China, Europe, Japan, Middle East, North America, South Pacific and Thailand.

SkyTeam 

· Round the World fares.

· Multicontinent fares including Circle Asia, Circle North Asia and Circle Pacific.

· Regional passes including Europe, America, Asia, China, Italy and Mexico.

Additional Airline Information

Airline Customer Reviews

SkyTrax provides airline reviews, include customer forums, and generates an independent airline star ranking list every year.

Airline Safety Records

Aviation Safety Network – Passenger Safety Information provides resources to check the safety records of airlines.  Aviation Safety Network – Airline Accident and Incident Information provides comprehensive up to date information for any accident or incident which has occurred.

List of Airlines Banned within the European Union provides the current list of airlines banned from operating within the European Union (EU) as a result of regulatory safety concerns.  EU – Article provides a good short explanation of the rationale for the EU list, and a quick summary of banned airlines.

Federal Aviation Authority – Passengers provides advice for passengers on air travel.

Maximising Your Airline Flight Experience

SeatGuru  SeatExpert  SeatPlans  SeatMaestro

These websites provide very useful information to assist you to select your preferred aircraft seating position.  However, due to possible lag between airline scheduling changes and the update cycle for these websites, I suggest users should also check directly with their airline website.

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