The sight of a plane makes my heart start pounding with excitement as it means I’m off on a new adventure into the unknown! I love to fly, and have been doing it since I was quite little, although without Flight Hacks it can be a costly and timely exercise. The joys of flying have somewhat diminished over the last decade, however. This is due to increased prices, smaller seats, and additional charges. Not to mention, the whole ordeal of checking in, going through security and waiting to board.
I was recently browsing through flights to my next destination and had a price watch on one of the booking sites Kayak. They email me to let me know when prices were dropping. Over the past 12 months of continuous travel I have read so many articles on the secrets to cheap and stress free flying. Now I thought I knew quite a bit about traveling stress free, the advantages to get the lowest prices and best seats. However, once I started digging into it, my life changed, travel become so much easier. What I found was so good it was hard not to share some tips with you all on how to make your next flight an easier, more comfortable one.
My current location is America, so most of what I read was based on the airlines here. Yet it applies across the entire world as I have found out.
Since the 1980’s approximately 25 airline companies were bought out and merged into 4 main companies in America. These mergers have caused competition to be practically non-existent. Therefore, meaning an increase in prices overall. This is something that has been seen worldwide with increases in prices and many other changes.
Over the last few decades’ seats have also shrunk going from around 18.5-20 inches to an average of 17 inches. So that pinched feeling you get when you sit down in your seat it is not hard to tell why. The pitch of the seats has also gotten smaller from around 33 inches to about 30 inches. By making seats smaller and closer together airlines have been able to squish more people in. Then charge additional prices for those that would like more space.
Now if you’re a seasoned traveler you would have your own tricks for getting those lower priced seats without compromising on space and comfort. I, myself have done quite well I think with how I have booked my flights over the last year. But here is a couple of tips we can all use.
Some of you may know of the trick of clearing your history and ‘cookies’ in your web browser before searching for flights. This trick is one that I personally use every time I am looking at flights. I have found a significant difference in price compared to the pre-clearing of my history. When searching, be sure to check several different booking sites. As you will find a range of prices across the board as well. Also don’t forget to check the airlines actual site as they may have their own deals available.
If you aren’t pressed for time, then don’t book flights straight away. Quite a few booking sites have price alerts now where you can get an email when the prices drop. Plus prices vary considerably over a couple of weeks of checking so you are more likely to get a bargain. Be flexible with your flights, you may find a considerably lower price just by changing the date, the airport you are traveling from or whether you have a stopover or not. Check different routes and mix it up if need be.
One more tip you may not have heard of is to keep shopping even after you bought your tickets. You can legally cancel your booking without penalty up to 24 hours after booking. So keep checking the prices the next day to see if there has been any drastic change.
Cash Back and the fine print
A cool site I found just recently as well is Ebates which gives you cash back on your bookings. Included in this cash back deal is some booking agents such as Expedia. Check it out before you book and you may find yourself saving even more!
A trick that wasn’t included but I feel is important is to also check the baggage policies of the airlines offering flights. They may charge you quite heavily once you get to the airport, whereas you could get the ticket that costs 20 bucks more with all baggage inclusive of the price. Airlines are getting sneakier with the additional charges they add on to everything. Do a bit of research first and you will save yourself a lot of hassle later.
Use Flight Apps
Apps make the world go around these days they are our clocks, and our connection to our friends and family. They notify us of world news and there are some that are very handy for traveling.
One such app is called SeatGuru and it can help you choose the best seat for your upcoming flight. About 72 hours before departure, check the seats available for your flight and SeatGuru will tell you which ones are they best in terms of space, proximity to the toilet etc.
Whereas the apps GateGuru and FlySmart have terminal maps for all major airports. This allows you to find a connecting gate with ease. I have found myself in very large airports before with no clue on finding my next gate. These apps can help you find areas of the airports quickly and know the layout before you even arrive.
To check departure and arrival times you can get the app FlightBoard. Unfortunately this app costs about $4 but it gives you up to date times for more than 4000 airports around the globe.
An app that helps you chill out before your flight is what LoungeBuddy is all about. This app spits out information on any lounge areas near you whether you have a membership or not. Some lounges even sell day passes to the lounge such as Plaza Premium Lounge, No. 1 Lounge and The Club Airport Lounge. The cost is usually between $30-$59 each person, so you can avoid the crowded areas while getting some refreshments and chilling out before your flight.
Take your time and chill
I always find it funny that when a section of the plane gets called to board everyone gets up and rushes to the line. They then have to wait for everyone in front to board just to get to the same seat they are assigned. When we fly, we wait until the last few people are almost through before getting up. This means that we can chill out without standing in line and we are more relaxed when boarding. You also want to maximize your comfort when in transit by making sure your warm and have plenty to keep you entertained. Sitting in a cramped space for long periods of time can cause health risks. So it is recommended to get up and moving every 4 hours while flying to prevent blood clots from forming.
If you’re not flying direct, then connecting flights may be your torment. A few ways to make those connecting flights easier is by lengthening the layover you have between each flight. This ensures that you’re not rushing and minimizes the potential of missing your next flight. If all runs smoothly then you can kill those few hours of waiting in one of the airport lounges. Work those apps that you have gotten from above to get to your gate quickly and easily. When you book your seats on SeatGuru try to sit near the front of the plane. This can easily save you 15 minutes in deplaning so you get to your next flight quicker as well.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing about it. Your travels have just become a lot easier, see you on the beaches of the world!
I would love to get in to traveling and seeing the world some. I’m not young anymore. I’m not old old, but not nearly as quick and as healthy as I use to be. How fast paced is this? Can we do it at our leisure, or does it have to be at a fast pace? Do you travel with other people or what? How exactly does all this work?
Hey Pamela, You can travel at any pace you wish. Some people like to travel fast and others like to travel slowly, completely up to you. Like with the pace of travel, you can travel alone or with other people. If you want to travel with other people, there are options like doing tours etc. There is no specific formula for travel, you can do it any way you like.