Airfares / Air Travel - Useful Tools and Tips
You want to go from xx to xxx on Mon. and return on Fri. You find that without staying over Sat. night, your fare is $1200.
Ahh, but you can book the ticket for $500 when you schedule your return on the following Mon. Then you find that you can book another round trip from xxx to xx for Fri.(incl. a Sat. night stay) for $550 for your return thus your total price is only $1050.
So in this case, you are using "throw-away ticketing" in order to circumvent another rule i.e. the "Sat. night stay" requirement.
This is a no-no, and can get you in hot water.
If you're just throwing tickets away, and moving onward, it's not a problem at all.
Make sure you don't throw away the first half of the ticket - if you don't fly any segment before the last one, you void the rest of your ticket.
1. United is apparently the only major airline which does not explicitly prohibit throw-away ticketing.
2. A couple of things an ornery airline could do to you to retaliate (if they notice at all that you didn't make it onto the last leg of your purchased travel) is to revoke any frequent flier miles you have with their program, or charge you for the difference between your lower-cost ticket and the ticket you 'should' have bought.
Very annoying. However, as a rock-ribbed Republican I can take solace in the courageous stance of Antonin Scalia on this issue, as detailed here -- GO TONY!
Should I try priceline? I'm not so good at this airfare hunting thing.
What is your itinerary? Let's (collectively) see if we can find you a low ticket price.
I was just grabbing a flight from Seattle to LA. This is virtually a "shuttle" in my mind, as there are numerous non-stops throughout the day between the two cities on various carriers. I plugged in my price and hit "buy".
They found me a ticket. But I was routed through Dallas or something with a big layover. So instead of a little 1 1/2 hour flight, it would have taken me all day to get there.
My mistake. Never occured to me they would do that. (Do they still not tell you the details of what you're buying before you have to commit? This was several years ago.)
When is a cheaper airfare not really cheaper?
Lets say for example you want to fly USA to Bangkok. You find airfares on United and Northwest for $850. You also find fares at $670-775 on China Air, or EVA, etc.
Depending on your origin in the US, you could earn ~20,000 miles for this flight. 25K gets you a free ticket anywhere in continental US or Canada, so you're almost there. In fact, if you charged your airfare and the rest of your trip on your mileage earning credit card, you could be there! Depending on where and when you are flying, that ticket could easily be worth $500 or more.
So, which would you choose?
Also, if you flew just 5K more with the same airline or alliance in the same year, you would have a status level for the remainder of that year, and all next year. On UA, you would start eaning a 25% mileage bonus on all your flights, and would have access to their E+ seating with extra legroom.
If you managed to fly a total of 50K in one year, you would have gold status and earn a 100% mileage bonus on all your flights, have free access to VIP lounges internationally, AND start accumulating domestic upgrade certificates as well.
Many times tickets bought through consolidators do not earn miles even though they are booked on UA or other major carriers. You need to ask, and get it in writing. Priceline tickets never earn miles.
Sometimes two way tickets are cheaper than one-way. Theres another advantage to throwing away tickets. When you land in an airport in England, they may not give you the third degree for using a one way ticket.
"The pricing for plane tickets usually follows a cycle in the U.S. Basicly if the kids are out of school the prices go up! Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years you usually find spikes of higher prices. Flights to Asia may find a spike up for the Chinese New Years.
Closer you get to the summer graduation/school vacations the prices rise, they reach a peak and gradually decline a little closer to September (when the kids go back to school!)
Occasionally airlines find themselves with flights that have empty seats, they will lower the prices (last minute deals) to fill those seats - you may be the lucky guy who gets the cheap seat.
Sometimes after a big plane crash somewhere in the world, something that gets a lot of publicity, the airlines get more cancellations. Sometimes whole tour groups get wet feet and bail out of their reservations. Seats open up and there are more "last minute deals!"
Prices also go up because of the cost of fuel and security procedures that are in place now. What I hate is when you see a good price for a flight and the "small print" say DOES NOT INCLUDE TAXES AND SURCHARGES! Not all companies have the same increase, I don't understand it some increases are small and some are quite a bit more. When you compare prices you have to compare the WHOLE price with all the add-ons.
I find that the staff that answers the telephones (NWA, Delta, and UA) are more friendly late at night just after midnight. I don't know if they have more time looking for better deals and more convenient departure times - to me they just seem more helpful and friendly at that time.
When you book a flight don't fall in love with a particular departure date - BE FLEXIBLE - check the prices a few days before and a few days after your desired date for a cheaper price. Usually flights departing on Friday, weekends and holidays may cost more than the other days of the week. If you have a smaller airport not too far from your house - check their prices too. For me sometimes flying out of Providence RI is over $100 cheaper than the same airline going to the same destination flying out of Boston! (I was going to SFO.) Checking the prices from different airports is worth a looksee but it's no guarantee of a lower price.
I booked a flight from Boston to Manila, P.I. yesterday with the right to cancel up to midnight tonight. (Leaving June 7.) I checked that same flight today and it was around $500 more. I was mulling over the idea of not taking the flight because it was much higher than last year, but a $500 difference in cost convinced me to keep what I had!
I fly a lot and I only fly on airlines that I can use the frequent flyer miles on! Sometimes I do pay an extra $30 to $50 more for a flight from a particular airline that I want. BUT the little extra benefits pay off later on for me. I like my gold cards, they give me free upgrades, preferential seating, first on the plane (when all the overhead bins are still empty,) and bonuse miles for later on. During the Christmas and New Years holidays when the prices are really high going overseas - I fly for free using my miles that I got on the cheaper flights! Works for me!
Travel the world now before you get too old to do it!
Crazyal's info seems to always be incredibly spot-on.
Ideal to have it open while you're making your reservation, but you can also call the airline & try changing your seats if you're already booked.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. ---St. Augustine
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