We are all hearing some pretty strange stories about how the airlines are charging people these days. I just recently heard about an airline that is considering laying their passengers and pricing their tickets accordingly. That’s pretty drastic stuff in my book, but then again, maybe it is justified. In any event, booking airline tickets can become a pretty expensive proposition.
But we as customers of the airlines have a way to fight back. And what I mean by fighting back is shopping smart and saving money. Whether you’re traveling on business or for personal reasons there is no excuse not to be able to find the best airline travel deals. It is a simple matter of knowing where to look and then actually doing your homework by searching out the best airfares. It is not at all difficult and in my opinion, well worth the effort.
I personally like to use the Internet to shop and compare airline travel deals. There are literally dozens and dozens of websites that are independent of the airlines and are therefore not beholden to them. What that means is that it is in their best interest to show you the very best airfares available.
Some of these websites can be a little bit intimidating at first but you will soon find that they are actually quite easy to navigate. They can actually be quite enjoyable once you get the hang of them. I see travel websites as treasure maps and it is up to me to find the treasure, which in this case are exceptional airline travel deals.
What you will find is that these travel sites usually offer a whole lot more than just airline tickets and information. Many of them offer package deals that include hotels, car rentals and visits to attractions such as theme parks and museums. Actually makes perfect sense doesn’t it? The bottom line is that you can get great airfares as a part of a travel package.
Another excellent alternative is booking last minute flight reservations. Usually to find the best deals you have to book your flight well in advance. But a little known secret is that if you are flexible enough and can travel at the last minute there are some great deals to be had. Airlines faced with last-minute cancellations will price their tickets to sell as opposed to having those seats go empty and the airline not making any money on them.
With the high gas prices causing travel to be expensive it is important to know how to get the best airline travel deals that are out there. There are ways to travel on a budget and there are some great airline travel search engines that you can use to find not only cheap flights, but hotels and rental cars as well. Here is what to do.
The first thing you need to do is compare all the prices that are out there. You can use Priceline, Expedia, SouthWestAir, and a handful of other online sites to make sure you are getting the best deal possible. They will also let you book a flight, hotel, and rental car in a package deal for even more savings. Shop around so that you get the cheapest airline deal possible.
The next thing you can do is book a last minute travel package. A lot of the travel sites have tons of cheap deals at the last minute that you can take advantage of. You can usually save up to 50% doing this and get a great deal on a top destination. You just have to be flexible and willing to go at the drop of a hat.
The last way to save on your airline travel with a top airline travel search engine is to fly out on Tuesday and come back on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. These are the best days to fly for a better price. If you check the websites that book airline travel deals you will find that if you fly on Tuesdays and Thursdays you can usually save about $30 per ticket or so. Sometime even more.
There was once a time when travelling through air was considered to be a luxury. However, at present, with the rise in the number of flights available to travel to any part of the world, that is no longer a problem. In fact, in today’s world, air travel has become such an important part of everyone’s life that it is unthinkable to imagine the world without it. And with the advent of air travels at its present level, it is only to be expected that unique niches of untapped potential will rise up as well. That is where airline travel deals have popped up. Indeed, most people nowadays always consider the travel related offers readily available on the internet and elsewhere before booking any flight at all.
However, looking at the present level of economic crunch that the world is going through, it is only natural that airline travel costs would rise as well. That is where it is most important to consider hidden deals. First thing is to be ready to change dates based on the price. Holidays like Easter and Christmas are bound to generate more air traffic, translating into a higher cost of travel. Be ready to go a few days ahead of schedule to your destination in order to save up on those bucks. If you are looking for airline travel deals, be ready to be a little flexible.
Airline travel deals are not dependent on dates alone. If you want to save up on that precious money, be ready to take a detour. Look for flights to secondary airports. More often than not, these are not frequented by many people due to obvious reasons and hence, you can usually get good deals for these. Additionally, adjusting your destination in cases when you are opting for a holiday outside your country can be a good idea as well. Opt to visit places not usually frequented by other travellers. Not only does this help you avoid those annoying crowds, it also gives you a good chance to save up on funds which can used up elsewhere.
Be on the watch out for good deals. Remember, there is something called a frequent flier mile program always available to us. Most of us might choose to ignore it, but it remains a point nevertheless that some of the best airline travel deals are related with how good you are with your finance. Let’s be honest here. No one likes to spend for something which can be obtained for free. Do all your spending on card. Most banks provide good travel deals with these. There are even certain forums on the internet which emphasize on which routes to take to earn the most of the free miles. In fact, it has been seen that people who do these bonus routes more often usually spend the least on the long run. Granted that these might be more costly initially, but when it actually starts paying you back, these free miles are worth their weight in gold.
Are you a student? Do not fail to sign up for the student discounts available. You might not realize this, but the amount of discounts they actually provide can be quite substantial. Also, another point to keep in mind while looking for airline travel deals is that choice of comparison and search engines matters a lot. In most cases, these do not provide fair reviews as almost all have tie ups with some airline company. Not only that; quite a few popular ones do not even have all international airlines listed. Opt for global search engines and then also compare a few to check out the lowest fare. You never know when you might hit jackpot.
Finally, book early. Almost all airlines provide discounts if you book your ticket early. Remember- “the early bird gets the worm”. Of course, there is no alternative to dedication. If you truly wish it, you can undoubtedly save up on some serious cash while traveling. Bon voyage.
Rising fuel prices have impacted airline travel. Be prepared, and adjust your plans accordingly.
Continental Airlines plans to slash 3,000 jobs and reduce domestic flights in an effort to reduce operating costs. The cuts include pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, administrative personnel, and management.
“These actions will help Continental survive the crisis,” wrote Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Kellner, and President Jeff Smisek, in a letter to Continental’s 45,000 employees. In a move to demonstrate a personal response and commitment, the executives also announced that they would forgo incentive pay for the rest of 2008.
It has been estimated that charges for fuel will be $2.3 billion higher in 2008 than in the previous year. Beginning in September, Continental will decrease capacity by 11%, and will remove 67 airplanes from the fleet by the end of 2009.
United Airlines announced 14% reduction of capacity planned for fourth quarter of 2008. United Airlines is cutting 1,600 jobs.
United Airlines said that it will eliminate Ted, the discount arm of the airline launched in 2004. Ted catered to leisure travelers with only coach-class seating, but in the spring of 2009, the 56 Airbus A320′s will be reconfigured with first class seats and returned to the United Airlines fleet. At the same time, United Airlines will retire 94 Boeing 747′s as unprofitable planes and routes.
Delta announced 10% reduction of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2008.
American Airlines announced plans to reduce capacity by 12% in the fourth quarter of 2008.
As oil prices continue to rise, airlines are forced to respond with fewer flights, fewer routes, less staff, more passengers per plane, and higher prices. Reduced capacity translates to fewer flights, and this means that many of the smaller airports may be the first to feel the pinch. While some travelers may have enjoyed the convenience of smaller airports for proximity or to avoid the crowds of large airports, the availability of flight options may be greatly reduced. Airlines simply cannot afford to move aircraft with empty seats, so expect full flights, or expect that route to be on the chopping block.
In an effort to increase the number of passengers per plane, flights that do not have enough passengers may be canceled to combine passengers with other flights to the same destination. While many frequent flyers have experienced this interruption in travel plans in the past, it is likely to become commonplace while the airlines adjust to the new demands. When incomplete flights are combined, the result is typically an overbooking situation, which means more passengers than seats. As a result, some passengers may be temporarily stranded in a city overnight, pending an available flight the following day. Overbooking will become even more common as airlines endeavor to keep prices down by filling every seat on the plane.
What does all this mean to you?
Expect full flights. You will be able to tell your grandchildren about the days when you secretly counted the remaining number of individuals boarding the plane in hopes that you would have an empty seat between the window and aisle. Your grandchildren will think that you are making up stories when you tell them about the complimentary meals and movies that you enjoyed on the plane ride. One day the free meals and movies may sound as ridiculous as allowing smoking on a plane, imagine that.
Expect longer delays at security and check-in counters. Yes it is true, security is becoming more efficient, and automated check-in counters are intended to facilitate faster service. Nonetheless, as routes are consolidated and oversold crowds are consolidated into flight patterns that maximize the productivity of reduced staff to handle them, human traffic jams will occur. It is inevitable that consolidation will occur in the battle to control price increases, and in many ways the check-in lines will more often resemble the crowded lines at theme parks, mouse ears and all.
When possible, book direct flights. While this may be slightly more expensive than those connecting flights that enabled you to eat lunch in Houston and dessert in Orlando, it will also decrease your risk of spending an unexpected evening in Texas. When making your travel plans, consider the risk of an unexpected hotel and transportation in a connecting city, while your luggage goes on without you. Try to schedule your travel on morning flights, as opposed to the typical evening business flights, to allow greater opportunity for another flight without an overnight delay. If you do need to book a connecting flight, make sure that you have at least one hour between flights at the connecting airport. Remember that next flight boards thirty minutes before the scheduled flight time, which means that your seat could be on the roulette wheel if there is any delay on your original flight. Take responsibility to check your travel carefully when booking flights, and reduce your risks.
Allow some flexibility in your schedule, just in case you are delayed. Whether your travel is personal or professional, you will get where you need to go, eventually. If all goes well, you will arrive on time, and without incident. In the event that you are delayed, or your plans need to be adjusted, remember to always be courteous to the individual on the other side of the counter. Odds are that the staff member has lost many good friends and colleagues in the workforce reduction, and is now striving to do multiple jobs at once. Have compassion, for they are attempting to resolve the personal challenges for every passenger, every inconvenience, and every emergency that comes over the counter. Show your compassion, and you are more likely to receive a little in return.
As airline travel is impacted, it will have a domino effect on the rest of the travel industry. As prices increase, leisure travel diminishes, and routes are eliminated, so too must car rental companies adjust the inventory of available vehicles at appropriate airports. Consider booking your car well in advance, especially when traveling to a popular destination or busy airport. It will become more likely for car rental agencies to sell out.
The hospitality industry will also be impacted by decreased activity. Although this will be a delayed result, based on the adjusted number of travelers, the good news is that hotels may offer competitive discounts and incentives to retain loyal customers. You should sign-up for programs and be vigilant for special deals.
Those special airline rates for leisure travelers, and the last minute special deals for under $100, are likely to disappear. Prices for all seats are expected to increase, and fewer route options with fuller flights will mean that special discounts will be placed on the endangered species list. And for those hardy business travelers who have saved those frequent flyer miles in hopes of tropical vacation paradise, expect black-out periods and greater advance planning to use those miles in the crowded skies. If fuel prices continue to rise, consider your options to use those accumulated miles this year. Rising costs will force some airlines to introduce even more restrictions on the use of accumulated miles, since these free seats become a liability to cash-flow. Airlines have adjusted the policies on mileage in the past, and are likely to do it again in 2009. Your mileage may not be protected if your carrier of choice is forced to merge, be acquired, or enforce restrictions as a part of an economic reorganization plan. Take a break of the bad news of rising gas prices and fuel charges, and use your miles to go on a well earned vacation while you can still get the most for your miles.
It’s not all bad news. If hotels offer special rates, you might find some nice local vacation packages before the end of 2008, and early 2009. Rising fuel prices, reduced routes, and prohibitive restrictions on air travel may encourage more businesses to use teleconferencing, VOIP, and other technology to collaborate over long distances. A little less travel may mean a little more time at home, and that is always a good thing.
Words of Wisdom
“The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.” – Mark Russell
“The saying “Getting there is half the fun” became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.”
- Henry J. Tillman
“Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.” – Kurt Vonnegut
John Mehrmann is author of The Trusted Advocate: Accelerate Success with Authenticity and Integrity, the fundamental guide to achieving extraordinary sales and sustaining loyal customers. This revolutionary book applies peak management techniques and leadership skills, with common sense and practical applications to grow business, sustain loyal customers, and use personal talents for personal success.