Why you should never just pick the cheapest flight ticket
So you’ve found the cheapest flight ticket on Skyscanner or Wego, what’s next? Could there possibly be any regrets with grabbing that ‘best deal’? I’ve learnt it the hard way, that finding the cheapest ticket is only the first step to having an enjoyable/ affordable flight. Here’s a list of 10 things you must check on the flight details, to make sure you won’t be having any regrets with that cheap ticket.
I’ve learnt over the years that the cheapest ticket may not always be the most ideal. Even with a tight budget. Or especially with a tight budget, as overlooked details could end up costing you more for your trip. Or potentially result in lots of stress and fatigue before your long awaited holiday begins. Here’s a quick guide to how to avoid taking these missteps I’ve done in the past by just picking the cheapest flight.
8 flight details you must check to make sure the ‘best deal’ IS the best deal
1. Flight Timings
Are flight departure and arrival timings too early or too late? Traveling at odd hours can save money on the flight, but end up costing more to get to the airport/city (by taxi or private transfer, if public transport services are not running at that hour). Also, many hostels do not provider 24 hour reception so you might end up locked out cold if you arrive in the wee hours.
2. Layover Timing
I generally prefer layovers between 2 to 4 hours. Anything shorter than that is risky as flight delays on the first leg would likely mean missing the flight. Anything more than that might start to get uncomfortable, of course depending on which airport you’re transiting at. Many airports aren’t that comfortable beyond a few hours, unfortunately. You might not want to get stuck in a crowded, humid, noisy and smoky airport for half a day before your well earned vacation.
3. Number of Layovers
Layovers can get tiring, and you wouldn’t want to be exhausted by the time you arrive for your much awaited holiday. Another $50 to shave off a transit in a long haul flight? I’ll take it.
4. Transit Airport
While many airports offer visa free transits, not all provide these and these usually have a time limit. Anything beyond that would require additional visas – more cost, more paperwork. For example, A flight that I was looking for had a very attractive price point for a 13 hour transit in Saudi Arabia. I nearly took it, till I realised an additional visa was required for transits beyond 12 hours. Different countries also have different laws relating to traveling alone or with a partner, and you might not want to get into a tricky situation at any of these more ‘conservative’ countries. Finally, when transiting at a huge airport with poor connections between terminals, you might want to factor in more allowance between flights.
5. Departure/ Arrival Airport
Sometimes flights are cheaper from a more remote airport in a city, but getting there/ back to the city can be more complicated too. If you’re not departing from or arriving at the main airport in that city, make sure you’ve found a viable way to travel between city and airport, without ending up costing more than flying straight to the main airport and taking public transport to the city.
Looking slightly beyond the cheapest price may often unveil better deals. The premium you’ll have to pay for a full service flight over a budget flight may in some cases be less than the amount you’ll need to add for luggage (without mentioning extra legroom, on board meals, entertainment systems), so it does pay to look ahead. If the additional cost for a full service is slightly more than that of a budget flight with luggage, it may still make sense to pay a little more for the extra comforts, especially for long flights. It can make the difference between arriving refreshed and ready to explore, and being totally drained and needing a few days to recover.
7. Credit Card Fees
Sometimes prices are quoted before credit card charges. Sometimes the credit card charges are added to the quote, but different payment fees apply to different payment modes/ cards. These charges are usually not too much, but can add significantly for short flights. On Wego, you can select your preferred/ available payment types before you do a flight search, so that the price quoted are the best you can get for the cards you have. Or just remember to check before paying, as these are usually added late in the transaction process and are occasionally overlooked.
Usually, seasonality is associated with higher prices, but they could be with lower prices too. Especially if the prices for a certain date is significantly lower than on other dates. It may be better to do some homework first, rather than rush to seal the deal. Is that during a local holiday period where all attractions and shops are closed, or a time of the year associated with really bad weather – extreme summers, typhoons, heavy snow, or more? Something might be keeping tourists away, it’s best to make sure. You’d definitely will want to know all of this before entering your credit card details.
So keep these in mind the next time you’re looking for the cheapest ticket, and you’ll soon be on your affordable and enjoyable adventure! No more stress, no more lethargy, and no more hidden costs. Do you have any experience with the above? More tips to share? Let me know in the comments below!