Flying is Fun!

Image (c) Arti Agarwal
Image (c) Arti Agarwal

Traveling is a great escape from everyday life and routines. And it’s even more fun if its hassle free and light on the pocket. Before even charting on the journey, we come face to face with one big decision – travel bookings. For some, it’s not such a big deal, but for the price conscious, it can be the deciding factor of where, how, when and for how long they travel. This article explores 12 ways in which air travel in India can be easy on the pocket and the mind.

  1. Book in advance. On most websites, it is easy to see the price trends of airline tickets up to one month ahead. If possible, book your tickets in advance if you are sure of journey dates. If not, monitor the price trends to see how soon they are changing. Book the tickets when you think the price of tickets might start hiking soon, for example, one week before the travel date.
  2. Check if the fares are refundable or non-refundable. Non-refundable fares are generally lower than refundable fares. Depending on how sure you are of your travel dates, make the choice.
  3. Book return fares. Return fares offer great discounts, especially when both the tickets are booked from the same airline. If you are sure of your travel dates, it’s best to book return flights. However, if you are not sure of your travel dates, check whether the booking is refundable or not before booking return fares.
  4. Check the Fares on the AirlinesWebsites. Track the rates of the airlines on travel booking sites, but also check the rates on the airline websites, they are often lower than those on the travel agency sites and offer different options of fares, which are not available to choose on travel agency websites.
  5. Use your air miles. Have membership with all the airlines with whom you fly often. Enrollment doesn’t cost much, or is free with many airlines, and doesn’t hurt. You earn miles every time you fly, which keep getting accumulated in your account. On some rainy day, when the air fares are sky high, you can use your air miles to make the booking like a currency, and pay nothing for the flight! ( I actually did this once )
  6. Use web check-in and kiosk check-in facilities where they add bonus miles to your account. As stated in the previous point, they will come in handy someday.
  7. Rates for weekends are generally higher than weekdays. Keep this in mind when booking. If adjustments can be made, do so.
  8. Reschedule, don’t cancel. In case you need to change a flight ticket, best option is to reschedule the ticket with the same airline, and pay some charges for that instead of cancelling. Both – rescheduling and cancellations involve some charges to be paid to the airline. But most airlines have really complicated cancellation and refund procedures which are not stated clearly at the time of booking. Best is to avoid that situation if you don’t want your money to be stick with the airline for a long time.
  9. Always carry a photo identity proof. If booking is being made from someone else’s credit card, check what the airline’s policy is on that before making the journey. Best option is to carry a copy of the credit card used for making the booking with written approval from the owner of the credit card. Most airlines will not allow you to travel without a valid identity proof.
  10. Book online. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to book at the airport from the airline office, as in the case of an emergency, but it is generally most cost effective to book online.
  11. Cash in on offers. It’s often useful to receive updates and newsletters from airlines. Whenever a new route is launched by any airline, it is generally offered at a lower price than usual. Cash in on the offer.
  12. Fly light! Many airlines charge a huge amount for extra baggage, in addition to a lot of hassle for payment for the extra baggage while checking in. Pack as light as you can, sticking to the weight limits of all the airlines with which you will be traveling, since the baggage limits of different airlines can be different.

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