Tips for Buying Airline Tickets
Using the internet to buy an airline ticket is like a jungle and it could eat you alive. Something sinister is lurking in there.
Do you wonder why people sitting next to you on a plane pay such different amounts for tickets? As a veteran travel agent who has been booking airline tickets for over 20 years, I will give you some tips.
Depending on where you are going and what carrier you are using, airlines are divided into First Class, possibly Business Class and Coach, which have various sections offering a bit more leg room and for which you pay more. These are ever changing as the airlines look for more ways to take your money.
Every ticket has rules.
When shopping online you can click on the link that will give you those rules. They will be:
- The day and time you buy the ticket
- Days of the week of travel
- Times of day
- How long you will stay
- Whether the ticket is refundable, transferable or none of those
- If you don’t put in times in your search, they will default to 1 PM.
Terminology is very important:
- Non stop means that leg goes from point A to B with no connections
- Direct means you stop and take off again with no change of planes
- Connect means one or more change of planes
Airlines have “hubs” or connection points.
In the US, for most of your flights, you will have to do a connection someplace. When flying in the winter, try to connect in a southern hub if coming from the north. However, if the plane coming in to pick you up has to come from the north, there could be weather issues with that plane. But for the most part, southern connections are better.
At the hub you may have to change airports and most likely terminals within the airport. You may even have to change carriers to get what you want. Give yourself plenty of time for these connections. Looking at itineraries, the carrier will give you a “legal” connection meaning you can make the change with minimum problems. However, one can never predict the arrival nor departure times of planes. More connect time is better than less. Take a book and relax.
Roundtrip, multiple cities or open jaw and one way are terms you must know. Round trip means point A to B and back. Simple. If you need to fly into one city and have some other way to get to a different city to fly back from, that is open jaw and you can book it on one ticket for a better price. On rare occasions, 2 one way tickets might price better.
Now how to handle airline problems. First of all be very very polite. “Please”, “thank you”, “I appreciate what you can do”, go a very long ways to getting you accommodated and your luggage with you. Being rude and demanding could send your luggage someplace else. Know what options you can ask for. Watch for equipment changes before your departure and your seats will change. Misconnects are very common. You may or may not be notified, depending on how you booked.
Most of all, call a Certified Travel Agent and pay the fee to get you the best routing, times and carrier. www.cruiseandtourplanners.com