When searching for airline tickets on the world-wide-web, ‘cheap airfares’ is one of the most commonly used search terms, according to EBT Travel News.
With the ease and accessibility of online booking tools, the everyday traveller has become bargain savvy when searching for the magic ticket. They put on their self-proclaimed travel agent hat and sift through the faithful sites that guarantee you to “find the cheapest deals, fast” (we’re not naming names here).
But don’t be fooled by those magic words ‘discount… cheap…on sale… low-cost…’ There are a few things to consider that quite often are overlooked.
Here’s our top five don’t-get-stung checklist to ensure your discounted airfare is really saving you money.
1/ HOW MUCH ARE THE BOOKING FEES ON THAT ‘CHEAP’ TICKET?
You could spend hours comparing fares online only to find that once you get to the last stage of the booking process, what you thought was the cheapest option really isn’t.
It is important to be aware of additional booking and credit card fees that may be applicable to your final booking.
Don’t want to waste a few extra bucks on credit card fees? Most travel agents allow bank transfers to help you avoid these additional fees. (Credit card fees or cocktail by the pool on your holiday? I know how I would rather be spending my money.)
2/ WHICH AIRPORT ARE YOU REALLY FLYING INTO?
Do you know the difference between London Gatwick or London Heathrow? Are you connecting with flights into Narita Airport, Japan or Haneda Airport, Japan? Is your flight landing into Avalon or Tullamarine for your city break in Melbourne?
To the unsuspecting traveller, booking a flight to London, Japan or Melbourne, may seem like a simple task, but are you landing in the airport closest to your final destination or next flight transfer?
Many low-cost carriers fly into airports that are a substantial distance from the city, and if this is the case you need to consider what transport is available and how much will it cost you. Does this additional transport cost now make your ticket a little less ‘discounted’?
3/ HOW LONG IS YOUR STOPOVER?
Even the big airlines, such as Emirates, have airfares and specials ranging in cost to coincide with their best and not-so-best connections.
Booking a not-so-good connection may save you a few hundred dollars on the airfare, but have you considered if you will need to book and pay for accommodation or additional food and beverage supplies?
And if you’re a sucker for Duty Free, how much will you spend while aimlessly wandering the shops to kill time?
4/ HOW MUCH ARE THOSE BAGS COSTING YOU, AND DO YOU PLAN ON EATING?
Nowadays, you can buy a variety of tickets that cover you for checked-in bags, in-cabin only bags or travelling bag-free (who does this, honestly?). However, some airlines don’t offer you an option; you have to travel with an in-cabin bag or pay to check-in.
And what about food? If it’s only a short hop around Europe then you may get by without a full-service meal. But can you survive a long haul flight without being served chicken or beef? Or will hunger pains take hold?
Nobody wants to see your hanger unleash.
If you are paying to check in a bag, or paying for a meal, how much more is your ticket really costing you now?
5/ WHAT IF MY TRAVEL PLANS CHANGE?
The fear of any traveller — having to make changes to their travel plans and ultimately, airline ticket.
Calling an airline in another country to make your change, whilst waiting on hold with expensive phone charges, makes that cheap ticket expensive instantly!
Low-cost carriers are fairly unforgiving with their change fees and policies. And even the major carriers can have strict change or cancellation fees on their discounted airfares.
When booking tickets online, it is important that you read the fine print and know exactly what fees and charges you may face if your holiday plans change.
Still unsure or have questions about how cheap that airfare really is?
The team at Kaleidoscopic Travel have a wealth of experience in this area and will not only find you the best ticket to meet your needs, but they will get you to your destination in a timely manner with someone to call if you get stuck whilst you are away!
Don’t forget to share this checklist with your friends. These tips could ensure they understand the true value of a ticket when next planning a holiday.