6 flight tricks that major airlines don't want you to know
With the increase in overbooked flights, lost luggage, surcharges and useless flight attendants, traveling by air is no longer a luxury. So here's a few tips that the fat cat airlines industry doesn't expect all passengers to know about, that may help you on your next flight abroad. Bon Voyage!
1. Rule 240: If you're flying transatlantic and never heard of Rule 240, you want to know it, just in case. As quoted from Aviation.com: “If an airline [can't] get you to your destination on time, it [is] required to put you on a competitor’s flight if it would get you there faster than your original airline’s next flight." If you don't remember anything else from us, remember rule 240, and speak up, man!
2. It's not just about Expedia or Orbitz: You've probably used those, and know that you can occasionally get better deals when going via online travel sites instead of directly with airlines. However, there are other alternatives. Microsoft's Small Business Center suggests that you should look again at travel agents, or your local newspaper's Sunday travel section for deals. For example, I recently booked a flight to Vegas > Seattle > LA > London for just £30 more than the direct cost of a flight from London to Vegas. Not bad considering it actually stops over in each destination for 2-4 days. How is this possible? Agents can often negotiate lower rates on the behalf of a large travel company through affiliate agreements.
3. YUPP, you can fly first: Just remember to get your travel agent to help you get onto the YUPP/QUPP/Z code, which automatically award ticket holders with upgrades to first class. It's obviously a hit and miss, but according to FareCompare's president Rick Seaney, “a lot of times the YUPPs are matching some sort of low-cost carrier in a particular market.”
4. Be flexible on the days: According to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, “you’ll find cheaper fares and greater seat availability if you fly on a Saturday and return on a Tuesday, instead of going from Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Monday.” Just simple supply and demand, and we all know it, but often forget.
5. Understand your refund policy. Make sure you check this, as airlines often sell non-refundable non-exchangeable tickets at lower prices.
6. Look at nearby cities. Some cities just work out cheaper to fly into than others. Dublin, for example, often works out cheaper than London, thanks to Aer lingus, and low cost carriers like Ryanair within Europe. Of course, only do this if it make sense. Take into account the cost-benefit for every stop you have to make, and do stick to larger cities for lower prices.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you save some cash and fly more comfortably. Bon Voyage!