Tag Archives: airlines

Discount Travel Airlines – Make Your Travel Dreams Come True

Lots of people dream about traveling to exotic destinations they’ve only read about in books, venturing from place to place and seeing the sights and sounds of the world.

Unfortunately, most people never embrace their inner nomad, fearing the high costs of travel. But not every flight hurts the wallet. The most experienced travelers are the ones who took their time and found dirt cheap airline tickets.

A bigger commercial airline is not the first thing an inexperienced traveler will think about. Indeed, for many people there are no airlines other than the major companies that control the sky traffic. But many other smaller airlines exist that give customers the same safe quality flights. These cheap flights have gone largely unnoticed by new travelers.

Miracles of the Information Age

Fortunately, the Internet has made new things possible. The large advertising advantage that large airliners have over their smaller competitors has vanished with the help of this new medium. Even the best television campaign in the world is no match for a company that knows how to work its web presence. The seismic changes brought about by the Web have encouraged innovation, and smaller airlines are embracing it.

But how can smaller airlines give you the cheapest airline tickets when the bigger airlines charge big bucks? Common sense would suggest that large airlines got to where they are now because they give customers the best deals. That isn’t always the case.

Larger airline means large overhead. Large airlines have to keep up appearances and maintain their status through enormous advertising budgets. These large airlines are in the top spot because they spend a lot of money to get there and pass the bill on to the passengers.

By contrast, small companies are quite capable of giving out cheap air fare. Many of these small companies have already established a reputation for excellence, but only in their region of the country. For years they’ve been content to dominate smaller markets, but the Internet has brought to the spotlight.

Whether they’ll take advantage of this new attention or not remains to be seen. For many, their close-to-home business model is too good to fiddle with. Others view themselves as entrepreneurs in a new travel market that makes the process easier than ever for the customers, and respond accordingly. This close interaction lets them respond quickly to requests, and smaller airlines often offer airline discounts.

Other Options, More Savings

That’s not the only innovation that the Web has brought to the travel scene. Potential travelers can now purchase cheap tickets online that come directly from frequent travelers and airline brokers. Many times people will have airline tickets for a trip that doesn’t pan out. They need to do something with these tickets, and selling them as discount airfare still gives them a profit they otherwise wouldn’t be earning.


Last Minute Flight Deals – Is it Possible to Get Cheap Last Minute Travel Deals?

Most of the time when you’re going on a vacation or taking a trip you’re not looking for last-minute flight deals because, optimally, you have made your travel plans well in advance. But sometimes for whatever reason you may find yourself needing to take a trip at the last minute and hence you find yourself looking for a great price on a spur of the moment ticket.

A lot of people will tell you that it is impossible to find cheap plane tickets if you wait until just before the flight. In most cases that is true. But sometimes, with a little digging, you can come up with a great deal.

Your first stop should be the Internet. You can find us about any deal you need online. First check out the online travel agencies like Travelocity and see what kind of prices come up. Most likely they will be pretty high. If you don’t find anything at any of these sites then go ahead and check with the website of the airlines themselves. Sometimes you can find a discounted fare that you can pick up in the last day or two before your planned trip.

If you have no luck at either of those sites, the best thing to do is pick up the phone and call the airlines. If you are wanting to travel within the next 24 hours, you can often find some rock-bottom prices and here’s why. The airlines ultimately want to fill all the seats on their flights. Of course they would like to fill them at the higher-cost prices, but if they see the time of the flight drawing near and they don’t have a full plane, they are more than likely to heavily discount the fares right about that time.

But the key is you must call and speak to someone. If you don’t have any success with one airline, try another. And then wait a few hours and try again. The closer to the time of the flight, the more likely you are to find a cheap fare right at the last minute.


How to Find Cheap Travel

Student travel has come a long way in the past few decades. It is no longer considered a rarity. Gap years, student electives abroad and cheap summer holidays in distant places, have become part of the generally life-enriching experience that is now considered synonymous with the student status. (Frost F et al., 1999)

The current financial climate, with many students having to rely on student loans, parental support, holiday jobs or personal savings for their financial fluidity, largely dictates and limits just what can be achieved in this regard and there are a number of ploys and strategies that are commonly used to make the money go further or, to look at it another way, to allow the same money let the student go further! (Reisinger Y et al., 2004)

We can start by taking an overview of the situation and dividing up the travel costs into those that are necessary to arrive at a destination and those that are necessarily incurred to move around once the student has arrived.

Generally speaking, the preferred way to travel is by flying. It is often the quickest way to travel long distances and in these days of competitive pricing strategies, many of the no-frills and budget airlines are offering very cheap flights across mainland Europe. The unwary student should note that the eye-catching prices quoted are invariably exclusive of taxes and fuel surcharges which can add between £30-£200 onto the quoted cost (depending on destination and distance).

As a general rule, the cheaper the flight, the greater the sacrifice of both flexibility and conditions. A flight that arrives or leaves in the early hours of the morning, does not supply food, has minimal in-flight entertainment and a strict baggage allowance, is clearly going to cost less than one that has additional amenities. A word of caution also for these flights as there are generally strict terms and conditions, limited changeability and minimal prospect of refund if there’s a problem.

Cheap flights are at the other end of the spectrum from cheap holidays. With holidays the greatest savings are made by those who are willing to book at the last minute. With flights, the converse is true. As flights get booked up, the prices tend to rise. (Bernstein J et al., 1999)

Two of the most commonly used mechanisms for obtaining cheap flights are flight-brokers and screen scrapers. The flight brokers make their money by selling you a flight that gives them a commission. There is therefore a balance between the amount of commission that an airline pays them to fill their seats and the requirements of the student. The screen scrapers are web-based tools such as TravelSupermarket, TravelJungle, and SkyScanner. You effectively enter your requirements and these sites send the details to dozens of airlines (and some brokers) and display their findings with the cheapest first. (Sheth A et al., 2002)

There are variations on this process with sites like Expedia and Travelocity specialising in long-haul flights and Expedia and Opodo allowing flights to one airport then leaving from another. Flights Direct will specifically examine the charter market for occasional bargains.

If you intend to fly on certain dates a few months in the future, it is well worth signing up to the e-mail lists of the appropriate airlines. They will send out details of short-term sales so that you can snap them up at the right moment if they come up. British Airways, Opodo, American Airlines and KLM are particularly good for this type of approach.

Once at the destination, the student has to consider the best way of travelling around. Rather like the airlines, one pays for convenience, accessibility and comfort – the cheapest forms of travel generally being the slowest and least luxurious. It is clearly impossible to generalise throughout the world, but hitch-hiking, which might have once been considered the cheapest way to travel, has a distinct risk element of personal safety and clearly is inappropriate for the lone female traveller. Many of the commercially available insurance policies specifically forbid such practices. (Cullinane S, 2002)

Public transport is often the most reliable of the cheaper options. Either the local busses, the long-haul coaches or the train services being generally safe and reliable. Many of the more developed countries offer student travel cards (or a variant) to reduce the costs of repeated journeys and some bus companies (Australia travel being a notable example) will sell an open ticket between two specified destinations which can be used with different segments of the journey being undertaken over a period of several weeks.

There are other considerations relating to travel such as how best to deal with money. The time-honoured way of carrying travellers cheques may no longer be popular, with many students electing for the convenience of “plastic” money and credit cards. One should note that Mastercard will generally convert foreign exchange transactions at about the best commercially available rate, but will then add about 2.75%. This does vary between cards and therefore should be individually checked. Overseas cash withdrawals are also usually subject to a 2% additional fee (minimum charge £2) on both credit and debit cards. In addition to all of this, some credit card companies will also add a transaction fee on foreign transactions. (Halifax is currently the worst, levying £1.75 on each transaction.) For the student, the Post Office or Nationwide credit cards appear to be the best option. They have no levy on overseas purchases but they do charge interest on all cash withdrawals.

As with all travel, insurance is not essential, but only the most foolhardy student would travel without it. The annual multi-trip insurance is seldom competitive except for the USA where it may work out cheaper than individual trip cover (mainly because of the medical expense element applicable to the USA). Most will require you to be staying at pre-booked venues which may not be appropriate for the student traveller.

Decide what cover you need, what excess you need (the first part of each claim that you have to pay yourself) and then shop around. The classic insurance selling line is “why not upgrade to our platinum policy, with £30 million worth of medical cover etc.” In real terms, the chances of you ever needing more than £2 million of medical cover or repatriation to the UK is virtually negligible and therefore perhaps best avoided. A good plan is to include a personal liability cover of £1 million and also cover for “cancellations and curtailments” together with cover for lost or delayed baggage and cash.

You should note that Europe-only cover is cheaper than further afield and therefore only select wider cover if it is appropriate. Lastly, ensure that the company you are dealing with is covered by FSA regulated underwriters.