Where Should You Book Your Airline Tickets?
(Note: This blog was updated December 2018.)
Back in the day, you could call a good travel agent to book your flights. She would take notes, search for flights, call you back, book your flights, and print out your tickets. When the airlines deregulated in the 1980s, this precious service all-but disappeared. Now, it’s a free-for-all on when/how/where to book tickets. Here are three tips to booking your airline tickets.
Figure Out Where to Go
This may be obvious, but figure out where you want to go. Then, do a little research on the three digit airport code for the obvious airport and also the surrounding airports. Do a quick search on how much it costs to get from the airport to your hotel and compare it to the surrounding airports. Add the totals and then determine which airport will be the cheapest overall.
Also keep note of the three digit airport code. You can use these codes quickly on the airline websites, making your experience go more quickly.
For example, you may fly into LAX to get to Balboa Island, but your cab fare or public transit could be obnoxious. It’d be good to also look at BUR, ANA or possibly even SAN. This strategy also works great if you’re renting a car. Double check the car rental prices. If you’re going to be driving, extra gas for the extra distance may be far cheaper than a perfect pickup location.
Visit the Large Travel Sites
Next, go to the large travel sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, CheapOAir and others. Get a rough idea for how much tickets cost and what any extra fees might be. Write down the flight numbers and any connections. See which airlines fly which routes. Write those down, too. For the discount airlines like RyanAir, Southwest, and others, you may have to visit their sites directly as their fares often don’t show up on the major travel agent sites.
Book Your Flights at the Airline Website
Finally, as your third tip, book the flights on the actual airline sites. Why? If something goes wrong while on the road, it’s difficult to get help at the airport counter or on the phone. The airlines dictate that you must go to your travel agent (the online vendor) to resolve an issue. When you’re in Europe or abroad elsewhere with no cell phone that works nor a knowledge of an international number to dial, you’re in for a world of headache. Plus, the airlines almost always have at least the same prices, if not better. Luggage rules are clear, and you can easily add your frequent flyer number to your tickets.
Book Your Flights
So now that you know how to book flights, where are you going to book your airline tickets and to where? Tell me your details!