1 – Timing
- The earlier you book, the better – flights are typically cheapest 12 to 8 weeks before departure.
- Once you know your arrival date, sign up for email alerts at flight comparison sites. You will then know when the cost of flights for your date has increased/decreased.
- It is important to wait to purchase your flight until you know the arrival date.
- Early morning or red-eye flights are typically cheapest.
- Avoiding weekends if at all possible can save you money.
- Make sure you know the baggage fees, which vary from airline to airline.
- If possible, be flexible with your departure and arrival dates. Departing/arriving on a different day may save you money. Also, consider flights from multiple airports, to increase your options.
2 – Ways to book flights
Booking through Airline
- Reach customer service agent sooner
- Informed of any flight changes quicker
- Usually more expensive
Booking through a Travel Agency or Online Search Engines
- One-Stop-Shop for flights, hotels, and airport transportation
- Good comparison of airfares
- See reviews and recommendations from other people
- May be able to receive good first-time user offers
- Can tell you what a good price for a given month is
3 – Direct Flights vs. Layovers and Connecting Flights
- Direct flights limit the risk of flight delays, cancellations, missed connecting flights, and missing luggage.
- If you have a connecting flight, you will want the layover to be at least 2 hours. Any less may risk you missing the connecting flight.
- If you have a layover, it is better to book both/each flight(s) through the same airline on one ticket. In case of delays, this will make getting an alternative connection easier.
- If you do have a layover, familiarize yourself with visa regulations for the country you will be entering and departing from. Ensure your visa allows you to enter your final destination whereever your layover is.
- Check the airlines and/or travel agencies cancellation policy – Does the airline allow you to change your travel dates?
- Check for hidden fees (service, luggage, seat selection, taxes, handling, meals, etc.) – Each airline has its own policies.
- Layover? – Consider where your layover will be; the size of the airport and the length of your layover.
- Be sure to read the fine print of the ticket you are purchasing!!