Booking a flight? Here are 11 things you should consider before booking.
Updated: Apr 3, 2019
Travel now has become a big part of everyone’s life. Gone are those days when people would travel only if necessary or it was seen as a luxury; we travel all the time these days. Flights are the preferred choice for most of the travellers as they not only help you reach the destination faster but it has made possible travelling to all the places that earlier seemed beyond one’s reach.
Booking an airline ticket is an easy affair but booking the best flight at the right price is where things get tricky. You constantly fear if you overpaid or if you should have waited etc.
Put your fears to rest. Here’s a list of 11 things you should consider before you hit the ‘book’ button.
Ideal time to book: There are a lot of people who claim that 54 days is the ideal time to book. I suggest you try to book your flights at least a quarter in advance, especially holds true if you are trying to book an international flight. The sooner you plan, the better rates you are likely to get.
Browser mode: When you are researching please do research in the private/incognito mode. I prefer using safari’s private mode. You can use Chrome’s incognito mode or any other browser but ensure you aren’t logging into the portal & you are browsing in the private mode.
Rewards & Card Points: Do take stock of all your cards & points. It’s our natural tendency to sign up for something & then forget it. We usually book all our flight from the credit card reward points. You can use airline loyalty points. There are also clubs that allows you to transfer hotel or other points to flight loyalty points. You can redeem them too.
Best days & time for booking: There are no best days & times to book the flight. Most Indian banks offer you discounts & cashbacks from 4PM to 10 PM to book the flights on certain days. I will be publishing a detailed report on the cards to be used on the corresponding days to book the arline ticket. If you are booking well in advance you don’t have to worry about best days. Just avoid booking during the holiday season & if possible travelling in the holiday season, altogether. The places are super crowded & almost all arlines, hotels & other recreational places hike their prices during that period.
Policies: Please do prefer flights that either offer a refund or there’s cancellation policy of 24 hours. This will help you to buy some time if you change your mind or if there’s anything that didn’t work out as planned.
Limited seats, should I jump the ship, I mean the plane?: This is one of the most frequently asked questions. No, please do not panic. This is one of the tactics that airlines use to nudge you to book impulsively.
Research: Please do your research before buying ticket from any portal. OTAs do offer a lot of discount but these days even airlines are upping their game so make sure you do a proper research before pressing the let’s fly button. Here are a couple of websites we use to do the research. Skyscanner, Kiwi, HDFC Smart Buy, Happyeasygo & Google Flights.
One way or return: I would urge you to book two way flights. Two way flights are much cheaper than their one way option. This is one way airlines are ensuring that you will opt for them both the sides but it is a win-win for customers too. There’s another trick: Book ticket one by one for every traveller, instead of bulk. It is a little more effort but it’s a lot more savings too.
Currency: This is uncanny but exists. The same airline ticket can be cheaper in some other currency than your own currency. You can opt for it to save on substantial costs but please be aware of the conversion charges on the card that you shall be using.
Price Alerts: You can opt for fare trackers or price alerts to be on the top of the best prices. You can set this up for any flight around the world. You just need to input your ideal date range & they will send you an update every time the fare drops. They will also inform you if the fare has increased. You can use Skyscanner, Google Flights & almost every other OTA now.
Airport Transfers: Do consider airport transfers while travelling. Most of the times we tend of ignore it & this tends to be a substantial cost especially when the airport is far from the city. Sometimes it is easier to book another flight that goes from a different airport as you can probably be closer to another city’s airport than the city you are at. A quick google maps search will show you all the airports in the vicinity & it should help you decide on the combination of price & location. There are cities that have multiple airports too & it’s imperative to check the airport you are flying in & out especially if you have any stop over or connecting flights.