The process of booking a flight has become very convenient and straightforward over the years with plenty of booking sites and comparison websites around. Regardless of how straightforward it is to book a flight, there are always some pitfalls you need to be aware of. Knowing what time to book a flight, which days are cheaper to fly, how to look for them, which currency to pay in can make a bigger difference than you may realise.
To help you get the best possible deal. We have put together 7 of the most common mistakes that are made when booking a flight.
Forgetting to clear your cookies
Have you ever been searching for flights and the prices seem to have increased after searching for a while? You are not crazy for thinking this, it is in fact true. The answer lies in website cookies. All websites track cookies, which means they are tracking your buying habits, your choice of destination, your preferred dates. If you search a specific route repeatedly the flight prices you are shown are hiked up. It is simply a marketing technique where the websites try to scare you into booking before the prices hike up even more.
There are two ways to get around this problems. One, clear your cookies before booking or search and book your flights in an incognito tab.
Flying on Fridays or Sunday
In the airline world, Fridays and Sundays are considered as the days for the leisure traveller. The reasoning behind this is simple but it tends to escape our mind when booking a flight. Fridays and Sundays are the busiest travel days, Sundays tend to involve the leisure traveller returning from their weekend getaways and Fridays are busier for the business travellers who fly back home at the end of the working week. Although, this is not a set rule many frequent flyers have noted this change. It is a good point to keep in mind when looking for flights.
Not Checking Alternative Airports
All major destinations have more than one airport. One of the most common mistakes people make when searching for flights is that they overlook alternative airports they can fly into. It is often the case where alternative airports end up saving you money on the airfare. For example, in London Heathrow in the first airport which comes to mind, however, London also has Gatwick, Stansted and Luton which are just 30 – 45 minutes from central London and regular trains run from these airports to central London and cost very little. Similarly, New York has Newark, JFK and LaGuardia. Dubai has Maktoum International Airport and the Dubai International Airport.
If you use Google flights to search for your flights you will notice the search automatically recommends alternative airport you can fly into. This is not to divert you from your search but to help you save cost. This option may not always be suitable but it is worth giving it a quick search if you are making a huge saving on your booking. To find how you can get from the alternative airport to your destination and make your travelling experience smoother take a look at Apps that will make travelling easier.
If you are after the cheapest fare you may not be booking at the right time
It is not just down to when you fly but also when you book your flight. It may come as a surprise to many who don’t work in the industry or are travel experts but there are specific times when flights are cheaper. Tuesday midnight is your golden time! by Tuesday airline know if their weekend flights are booked up and if a flight has any empty seats left, they reduce their prices to sell the remaining empty seats. Another reason behind this is that all the unsold tickets come flooding back into the airline’s booking system on Tuesday.
There are two ways of getting hold of these low price tickets, one, you phone up the airline and speak to an agent who will be able to be able to assist you in getting these rates. Alternatively, subscribe to the airlines mailing list. Most airlines send out an email to their subscribers when there are empty seats available and the prices have been reduced.
Not taking into account the hidden costs
It is very easy to get sucked into those ‘last few seats remaining’ marketing deals but, it is good to be aware that a majority of the times these deals comes with a hidden cost. Although the airfare itself may appear cheaper at first instance, airlines like to make up for this by other expenses. Always remember to check for any additional fees, for example, additional baggage costs, transfer fees, sometimes you even have to pay for the seat.
Not knowing the difference between non-stop and direct flights
A lot of times we look at a non-stop flight and direct flight without realising there is a difference between the two. Just a small difference in the term used to describe the flight can make your journey go from pleasant to unpleasant. Non-stop flights do exactly what they say, they take you to your destination without making any stops along the way. Direct flights, on the other hand, sound very similar to a non-stop flight but in many cases, your flight will make a stop along the way to pick up more passengers, you will not be required to get off the plane but your journey will not be non stop.