Purchasing the Least Costly Air Fare!!!
In my 15+years of experience in the Travel Industry I have spent more than half of those working as an independent travel agent as well as a customer service agent for the airlines. Additionally for the past five years I have travelled extensively to the top-tier of my airline loyalty program with well over 100,000 miles each of those years. In that experience I have learned a thing or two about how the airlines work, as well as their pricing strategies. I will share just a few of those insights with you here.
BARGAIN hunters will need to be craftier when booking a trip if they want to get the best prices this year. It’s no secret that airfares are up and added fees for everything from checked bags to exit-row seats are pushing the cost of flying higher. On top of that, hotel bargains are expected to be harder to come by as business travelers begin to return, diminishing the need for hotels to discount rooms in major cities.
BUY ON TUESDAY (but no later than 1am Wednesday morning) Most airlines begin sales on Monday evenings, and by the following day other airlines have usually matched the lowered fares on the same routes, said Anne McDermott, editor at Farecompare.com, which tracks price trends. Recently, for example, Virgin America had a sale on Dec. 13, with one-way fares as low as $79 on some routes, according to Farecompare. The next day, there were sales from AirTran, Southwest and American, with one-way fares from $59. Because sales are hard to predict, travelers looking for the best deal should start their searches three to four months in advance, when airlines begin to look closely at which routes may need a sale to fill seats.
ASK FOR A REFUND If prices should drop (after) you have purchased your tickets. Many airlines will refund the difference in price if the fare drops after you purchase a ticket (minus a change fee). Just be mindful that the difference in price needs to be more than the change fees or administrative fees you will incur.
CHANGE YOUR CREDIT CARD (When travelling abroad) As most American banks charge currency conversion fees, typically up to 3 percent when you use your credit or debit card outside the United States. But there are some exceptions. Capital One does not charge foreign transaction fees, and Chase recently began waiving the fees on its British Airways Visa Signature Card, its Hyatt Card and the Priority Club Select Visa.
SAVE ON PARKING YOUR CAR Bestparking.com steers drivers toward the cheapest parking at off-airport lots near 79 North American airports. Rates are updated frequently, and sold-out lots are highlighted. A recent search for parking near Newark Liberty International Airport offered a snapshot of rates and locations on a map. You can also search Google for “Park and Fly” hotels that offer much lower daily parking rates, and provide shuttle from their property to/from the airport in the deal.
DON’T PAY TO CHECK A BAG Checking bags can quickly add up, with airlines charging between $15 and $35 a bag. Delta’s SkyMiles-branded American Express card allows you and up to eight others on the same reservation to each check a bag at no cost. And American Express introduced a travel-rewards card — the Blue Sky Preferred Credit Card — that offers travelers an annual $100 allowance to cover checked baggage, in-flight meals, entertainment or Wi-Fi purchases, and other fees, on any airline. Also be aware that many airlines are now offering to “check your bags free” at the gate in order to expedite the boarding process so they do not wind up “late off the gate”, as this costs them (airlines) lots of money in fines to the FAA if the pilot calls in as late leaving. You will just want to rethink your packing strategy, as now rather than packing more stuff into fewer bags. You will want to maximize the one roll aboard and extra item rules, and merely lug them a little farther!!
BUYING DISCOUNTED AIR TRAVEL When purchasing your air travel from so-called discounted air fare providers you need to be sure that you know just what you are buying. Popular Internet Services such as Cheaptickets, Expedia, Travelocity (and others) offer some really tremendous deals, but you need to be aware that (generally) you are not actually purchasing a seat on the aircraft. You are purchasing space available passage. Now while all of the airlines generally do a really good job at getting these “space avail” passengers accommodated (hence the PA announcements about being oversold, and looking for volunteers to give up their seats for a later flight and some type of monetary award on top for being flexible with their travel plans). But they (airlines)are under no guarantee or obligation to make sure that such passengers are actually on the plane they thought they had a confirmed seat on. This type of travel is fine for say visiting family, friends, and leisure travel, but DO NOT rely on this type of service provider purchases if you have to be at a specific place at a time certain. (like a business meeting or catching a cruise ship) Especially if your destination happens to be international bound. Also be ready to cough-up a $25-$35 for each person, and event that they book for you (i.e., airline, hotel, rental car etc.) so it can end up pretty pricey. So Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware!!)
For more information on ways to purchase affordable air fare travel, you can contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . You can “Join” our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . You can follow this blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also is editor of his own twice daily e-newspapaer called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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