10 tips for domestic flight bookings

This post shares my tips for flight booking in India, to help you book your trips at lower fares.

1. Check for hand bag only fare. 
Some airlines like Spicejet offer a slightly cheaper rate if you don’t have check-in bag.  If you’re sure that you don’t need to check in any bag, then this option is great. But if you’re uncertain, select a regular fare which allows 15 kg check in bag. Usually in Spicejet the fare difference between regular and hand bag only fare is not significant

2. Keep an eye for Airline Sales- Fly when it is cheap
If you have your dream destinations and are flexible with dates, look out for sales from Airlines. Often during each promo sale, couple of seats on each flight is offered at throw away fares. If you are quick and smart enough, you will be able to grab them and have a trip at much lower cost. However do note that promo sales will come with some restrictions such as “No Refund”
3. Compare Packages
At times, a package rate might be cheaper than booking flight + hotel + cab individually. For example, while visiting Andaman, Andaman Packages might be cheaper than doing flight booking to Andaman + hotel booking in Port Blair/Havelock + local transport separately. This is because travel companies such as Thomas Cook can bargain for deep discounts with airlines, hotels and tour operators and pass on this benefit to customers.  But keep an eye what’s not covered in the package. Despite booking a package you might have to spend a bit extra like meals and activities not included in the package.
4. Buy meals and other services later, closer to travel date
Amount paid for in-flight services such as meals, baggage etc are usually not refundable once paid. If you need to cancel your flight, you won’t get these payments back. And their prices do not increase over time, so there’s no advantage in booking those months in advance. It is better to book them closer to travel date, once your travel is 100% confirmed.

5. Uncheck unwanted stuff.
Many airline websites and OTAs tend to follow an opt-out policy, by auto selecting various additional services such as insurance, meals etc. If you don’t pay attention, your ticket fare would silently increase compared to what you saw in previous screen. Be careful and de-select all unwanted services

6. Scan social media accounts for possible discount codes:
Before your flight booking, scan social media pages of airlines and OTAs- there could be some offers going on- using a particular deal code can save you a few hundred rupees. Beware of cashback offers which take months to materialize and need you to spend even more to avail the cashback amount.

7. Check for nearby airports.
If your destination airport is not very popular, flying in into a secondary airport might be cheaper. For example, to go to Bikaner, Rajasthan Jodhpur is the nearest airport. But you will find more flights and cheaper flights to state capital Jaipur than Jodhpur. So if you’re fine with another 100 kms extra road journey, select Jaipur and save some money.

8. Co-branded credit cards: 
If you are frequently using a particular airline or portal, a co-branded credit card might help you get some rewards/better deals in the long run.

9. Always check for fare with 1 passenger. 
If you check with say 2 passengers and say only 1 seat is available at 5000 and second seat is available at 7000, you will see total fare as 14000 and not 12000. In such cases, book two separate tickets to save Rs 2000.

10. Do not book for friends with your money. While we plan for a trip, many friends show interest, but only few end up actually joining the trip. If you offer to book for them with your own money, many will say Yes, but then you will have trouble recovering money from them or will have to bear cancellation charge if they don’t show up. Use caution- better to let everyone book their own tickets.

2017 has many long weekends. Start planning your flight bookings/hotel reservations and have a nice trip.

3 comments:

Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.