17 Airline Hacks You Have To Know Before Booking Your Next Flight
November 19, 2015
We all know a cruise is one of the most relaxing types of holiday you can take but like all holidays it can be marred slightly by a bad flight. Whether it’s arriving stressed or coming back in a bad mood, there’s nothing that can quite compare to a stressful flight.
With that thought in mind we reached out to our cruise community and asked them for their top tips on flying, whether it be before you go, in the airport or when you’re actually on the plane.
We’ve sorted all their tips for you and have started with 17 of the best thinks you should do before booking your flight…
If it’s free why wouldn’t you?
It may seem like a bit of a no brainer but make sure you sign up to airline rewards programs. Whilst it’s true these aren’t as great as they used to be it’s still money for nothing and whether it’s a free upgrade on your next flight or free air miles, it’s crazy not to claim them!
You can always spend them elsewhere…
Speaking of air miles…Most people don’t realise they can use their air miles with partner airlines. If you’ve hundreds of free miles to use but your airline doesn’t go where you want it to don’t forget to check which partner airlines your miles are valid on. You may be surprised!
Careful with this one…
Signing up to loyalty schemes isn’t the only way you can get free air miles though. If you’ve reasonably good credit (and don’t have a spending problem) then it’s worth signing up to multiple credit cards just before you book a flight. Many lenders will offer air miles as an incentive when you take out a card. If you’re planning a holiday then taking out a new credit card might earn you enough air miles to fly for free… Just make sure you don’t start spending on the cards and get yourself in debt.
Do it at home
It’s amazing how many people don’t weigh their bags before they turn up at check-in. The airlines are always very upfront about luggage allowances so checking this before you go will avoid any last many scrambles to move items from bag to bag at the check-in desk (or worse, paying the excess charge)!
Check before you leave
It may seem like common sense but to save hanging around in the terminal it’s always a good idea to check the status of your flight before you leave. If it has been seriously delayed then it’ll be much better to wait at home than in a terminal! To help with this it’s worth downloading your airlines app which will have up to date info on delays, updates and changes.
How to skip check-in
Continuing with the app theme… some airlines will let you check in online and use the app on your phone as a boarding card, saving time and paper! Assuming you don’t have any bags to check you’ll be able to head straight to security.
Your phone is your best friend
It’s not just the app that’s useful however. Your smart phone will be your best bet for checking emails, updates, talking with friends and staving off boredom in the event of a delay. However all of that’s very quickly going to drain your battery. Now most airports will have plug sockets dotted around the terminal (so having a charger handy is always a good idea) but the problem is they can become rather busy or crowded. Our advice would be to invest in a mobile battery charger so you can charge your phone on the go without worrying about looking for a spare socket.
Don’t let the airlines snoop on your laptop!
Be careful when you actually come to book your flights. Most airline websites operate on a supply and demand basis… Have you ever researched a flight then gone back to book it an hour later to find the price has gone up? The fault may be with the cookies on your laptop. Make sure you delete them before you go to book your flight to avoid any unexpected price hikes. Airlines can be sneaky like that!
Do your research
Whilst it might not always be possible, flying off-peak can save you a fortune. Do your research on your destination before you arrange your holiday to find out when most people do and don’t visit… and why. If off-peak just means it won’t be quite as hot then the savings you make may be worth the trade-off. The key is doing your research first and making an informed decision.
Fly on a Tuesday
Speaking of off-peak… It’s not just seasons that have cheaper flights. Statistically speaking, arranging a flight mid-week, specifically on a Tuesday, will net you much cheaper flights. In fact, sometimes the cost difference can be so much that you can actually fly out a day or two early, arrange to stay in a hotel before your cruise and still save money!
Book one way flights
A great tip a lot of frequent flyers often take advantage of is to not always book return tickets. Although it seem like more hassle, sometimes booking two single flights, maybe even with different airlines, can save you a fortune.
As the Boy Scouts always say… Be Prepared!
You can always tell a frequent flyer from a newbie by how well organised they are. They’re well aware how important it is to make their life simpler so they plan ahead. Pack the night before, have your bags waiting by the door. Make sure you know where all your flight information and passport is. Make sure you’ve planned your route to the airport and you’ve checked for disruptions. Planning ahead may be a bit boring but will almost always save any last minute panics.
Why not go the night before?
Speaking of planning ahead… If your flight is at a popular time and traffic might be an issue or if you’re flying during bad weather then Colin, Brighton from our forum recommends “staying overnight in an airport hotel. Often they let you leave you car too”.
Again… Be Prepared!
Sometimes the worst happens and a bag or case might be lost or delayed. Whilst this is annoying it can be disastrous if it’s the case you’ve got your tickets, visas or passport in. To help stave off problems make sure you’ve a photocopy of all important documentation in all your bags/cases.
Keep the kids happy… please?
If you’re travelling with children make sure you pack each of them their own ‘entertainment bag’. This is especially important in the case of delays in the terminal or long haul flights. If possible the bag should contain a tablet or hand held console (fully charged of course), snacks and a book etc. Doing this will not only keep them distracted and maintain your sanity, it will also be much appreciated by everyone else on the plane.
Clean underwear is always important
Whilst delays are unavoidable, planning for them isn’t. If you do get stuck at the terminal for a long period of time Cooke, Ashby from our forum recommends “having a clean top and change of undies in your hand luggage to make those delays less stressful”.
Who needs a taxi?
Instead of getting a taxi or train to the airport it’s probably worth considering a valet parking service. You can drive up to the main entrance in your own car, have someone waiting to collect it, take it away, (clean it!), then have it waiting for you in the same spot at the end of your holiday… All for less than the price of two taxis or trains.
So that’s our seventeen airline hacks. Do you do any of these? Do you have any more to add?
What’s the worst thing ever to happen to you in an airport (and could you have avoided it?)
Let us know in the comments below…
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