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Useful Tips To Consider When Choosing An Airline

Nowadays, people expect to open the newspaper and read about how fuel prices are affecting flight prices. We expect the nightly news to be filled with stories of airlines going “belly up,” mergers, or terrorist attacks. After you see the same story a dozen times, it stops being news. Right? Well, for frequent airline travelers, it’s all news. So, here are a few tips to consider when choosing an airline.

Price is usually the biggest factor in deciding which airline you want to use. However, it pays to be smart about the pricing. Just because the ticket price may be a little higher, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the deal. For example, if you live near a small airport that can transport you to a larger airport for your connections, it may be smarter to pay the extra money to take the smaller plane near home than to drive to the larger one farther away. Will the cheaper price on the larger plane really save you money? How much will you spend to get to the larger airport? How much more aggravation will you have to endure? Is it worth it? If the savings is not substantial, pay the extra money to travel from your hometown airport to the larger one. You will be glad you did.

Flexibility in your scheduling can save you money. If you can travel mid-week instead of on the weekend, you may be more likely to pay a better price for your ticket. Since the weekends – Thursday through Sunday – are the busiest travel days of the week, airlines take advantage of it. Departure flexibility will also allow for a lower priced airfare. Leaving very early is less expensive than leaving mid morning. The more flexible you can be, the better price you will pay for your ticket.

Although discount airlines like Air Tran and Jet Blue are usually cheaper, there isn’t any one airline that always has the lowest prices. In fact, if you catch them right, any airline can have the “best” fare. The best time to do this is on Tuesday night between midnight and 1 a.m. This is when every airline computer changes its fares. The fares are then made available to the public.

On-time flights is another factor to consider when deciding on an airline. Make sure you check each airline’s statistics to find out what their on-time percentage rates are. Since these may change considerably over time, you should check regularly. Since flights can – and often are – delayed, it may be better to drive than take the chance of being stuck on a delayed flight. This is something to think about if the trip is relatively close.

Lost luggage is yet another factor to consider. No one wants to have their luggage sent to Mayberry when their trip is in Cancun. Carry-on luggage has therefore become more popular with travelers. It’s easier to keep your personal belongings with you to be sure they’re safe and secure than to have to wait at the luggage carousel to see if it happens to come around. These statistics should also be checked on a regular basis, especially if you cannot put all of your gear on a carry-on.

Just one more thing to check before you make your purchase. Check for “overbooking.” This is happening more and more, and people are being denied access to the flight that they have purchased.

So, which is the better airline? To find out, research.
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