Undoubtedly, this is the perfect time to travel around the world. As promoted by Airasia – NOW EVERYONE CAN FLY. With the birth of several budget airlines like AirAsia, Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways, the competition to get more passengers had forced most major airlines to come up with more promotions. Consequently the hotel and tours packages were affected as well. Airfare was reduced by 10 % to 30 % in almost every country. Let’s have a look on the following tips that can help you to minimize the travel expenses further.

1. Research for the possible routes:

Depending on your location and the destination, there are probably a dozen way to get to the desired destination. Some may involved more transiting and some may even involved other means of transportation such as train.

For example, a trip to Shanghai from Penang can be in the following ways. First choice, you can fly with Cathay Pacific from Penang to Hong Kong, then Hong Kong to Shanghai. The ticket is around RM1800. The second option is to fly with Airasia from Penang to Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur to Hang Zhou, then take the 45 minutes train from Hang Zhou to Shanghai. You will have to stop more times because of the transits but it only costs RM1500 (return trip). These are just two options outlined.

Do a 20-30 minutes research, you may find the most suitable way to travel considering the travelling time and cost involved.

2. Check with travel agents:

As more people are booking the tickets online, don’t overlook the possibility of getting cheap ticket through travel agents. Some full fare airlines give special rates to their ticket agents. Especially when you buy more than one ticket, or travelling in group, there is a high possibility to get a discounted airfare compared to the price shown online on the airline’s website.

Furthermore, travel agents also provide related services such as arranging your hotel stay, supplying travel insurance, and helping you to do the VISA application. As they are competing with budget airlines to get more passengers, you’ll be surprised by the extra stuff you will be getting from travel agents. As a result, you may be only paying “a little bit extra” for “a lot of extras”!

3. Make the Booking Immediately as You Plan to Travel:

You can enjoy great discounts just by following a general principle of making advance bookings. This rule of thumb has been found effective even during recession or epidemics that make the airfare trends more unpredictable. Generally, different airlines offer some discounts exclusively for some specific routes at various occasions.

Therefore, it is strongly suggested to make your bookings immediately as you plan to travel in a certain route. Don’t waste a lot of time just searching for the best deal and expecting any surprising offer to pop up.

You also have to be firm on your travelling dates because when you are forced to change the travelling date later due to unforeseen circumstances, there are usually extra fees imposed for the alternation especially when you buy tickets from budget airlines.

4. Be Aware of Fuel Prices:

Fuel cost is the airlines’ second largest expense, after the labour cost. It is evident that fuel prices have a great impact on the airfare. As we have noticed that almost every airlines reduced their airfares with the cut down in fuel prices globally. On the other hand, we have seen some eminent airlines imposing additional surcharges as the fuel prices go up.

Of course it is best to travel when the fuel price is low. But the market is hardly predictable. But when the fuel price is affordable, you will more likely to spot better deals of air tickets.

5. Keep Your Eyes Open to Grab the Best Offer:

Every airline has its own schedule of announcing promotional fares. It is important to have an idea about the schedule of declarations which will enable you to have more option on destinations and the date of travel as well. Most of the airlines prefer midnight to commence such a promotional campaign. Website of an airline is the most convenient source of information where you can find details on the promotions.

For example, Malaysia Airlines offers its most attractive low fare package called “Everyday Low Fares” which is generally announced on Monday and the selling starts just at 12:01 AM. But you have to purchase the ticket before 30 days of your travel date.

‘Last minute deal’ is a commonly used term in aviation business. Both the passengers and the airlines are benefited in such a deal. Passengers are benefited as they have to pay a very small amount in comparison to the regular airfare. On the other hand the airlines are benefited in a sense that these deals help them to minimize losses due to passenger shortage. There are some airlines which are very desperate to sell all of their unsold seats before the flight takes off. So, don’t get worried if you have failed to book your tickets in time. Don’t get surprised if you find yourself travelling at a cheaper fare than the person sitting beside you at the flight. Though there is always a great risk involved in last minute deals, yet it is a pleasant experience to save up to 75 % on airfare.

Personally I think this is somehow unfair to the customers who make the early moves to purchase tickets. But airlines do what benefits their businesses the most, or at least they do what they believe make more financial sense.

6. Make Sure to Have Sufficient Information Before Making a Choice:

Nowadays it is very easy to have comparative reports regarding airfares of different airlines. This is very helpful in choosing a low fare airline when someone plans to travel to any part of the globe. Websites like www.momondo.com, www.orbitz.com, www.expedia.com or even travel.yahoo.com are very useful in getting the most competitive airline and hotel fares.

Momondo which mainly covers budget airlines like Europe’s easyjet.co.uk and ryanair.co.uk, can help you save hundreds of US dollars. If you are planning to travel within the United States then Orbitz will be the best option for you. Whereas, Expedia could be the best website when you are planning to make a trip to Europe, Middle East or Africa. Though Yahoo! Travel has some limitations, yet it can provide you information on lowest airfare with a range of dates.

At the same time, you need to be aware of some specific problems associated with these websites. A general problem with almost all these sites is that the fares on these sites fluctuate very frequently. This problem is acute with Expedia. Another problem with Expedia is that it charges the airfare at the time you fill up your credit card details.

As a matter of fact the comparison websites might not always help you to find out the cheapest deal. In that case it is recommended to have a look on the airline’s or hotel’s website directly to have knowledge of their best deals available. Some airlines such as Etihad, SIA and Emirates don’t assign any travel agent. As such the official websites of these airlines are the best place where you can find out their best offers.

7. Don’t Miss the Frequent Flyer Program:

The more you fly, the more you get the opportunity to get attractive discounts on frequent flyer redemptions or add more points which can ensure your future discounts. This is a great option especially for those who have to make a large number of business trips. By taking part in frequent flyer programs, you can earn bonus points or frequent flyer miles, which can later be converted into discounts or even free flights (bonus flights). If your employers pay for the airfare, it is wise to stick to one airline to accumulate the frequent flyer points whenever possible.

During the period while US Economy was going through a bad time, we have noticed mileage “sales” at some of the airlines. Recently the United Airlines have announced an attractive frequent flyer program which includes a waiver of last minute fees and a 20% discount on its flyer awards.

Recently, we have noticed some modifications in Malaysia Airline’s frequent flyer program which is known as “Enrich Miles”. This revision is made with a view to make it convenient for members to add more “miles” to their accounts. Miles on low fare are also counted in this program. But for redemption, discounted fares are not applicable. In such case Malaysia Airlines offer discounted Enrich Miles redemption rates of up to 50% on some specific routes from time to time.

8. Keep in Touch to be Informed about Rescheduling:

Rescheduling of flights is a common phenomenon in the aviation industry. Like other businesses, aviation sector has to be confronted with some bad situations when the demand is relatively low. With a view to overcome this problem, the airlines adopt some strategies which includes cutting down the number of flights, delaying or even cancelling them. Normally, passengers get surprised when they are notified regarding any change in prescheduled flights.

The airline carriers that have good reputation in terms of customer satisfaction taka this matter very seriously and try to provide alternative flights or get the passengers informed at least two weeks before the flight date.
In aviation business, companies need to be strategic to face some challenging situations. Rescheduling of flights can be an integral part of such strategy. For example, Malaysia Airlines reduced their capacity by 11% during the first three months of this year due to the fall in the demand. At the same time they increased the number of flights in some high demanding and profitable routes.

9. Subscribe to E-newsletter or Sign Up as a Member:

Most of the airlines give a chance for the people to sign up as a member or subscribe to their e-newsletter at their websites generally at free of cost. This is really a great opportunity for the subscribers / members to get quick updates on special previews, special deals designed only for the members, first-choice picks and so on.

If you are looking for low price deals, you can subscribe to JetMail which is a special database of Jetstar. Jetstar uses this database to get people informed regarding their special and exclusive offers. Last year on Aug 07, Jetstar offered such an exciting deal called ‘Friday Fare Frenzy’, a very low fare deal to fly to some specific destinations.

You may want to bookmark this page on your browser so that you can refer to it when planning to travel.

Reference: Personal Money Magazine

By the way, have fun flying!
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KCLau
KCLau

Personal finance author and trainer

    17 replies to "Fly at a Low Airfare: The 9 Most Effective Tips"

    • Faridah

      Excellent tips! Thank you

    • stewart tan

      yes must do some search & survey before booking a trip, sometime western & middle east airlines are cheaper & better…. last few months took Lufthansa airlines from Bgk to KL …. one way fare about the same with AA but i got bigger plane, comfortable seat, in flight ent, meals ie wine, 23kg baggage all these w/o incur additional costs…. & hassles , time consuming of low cost flight…. so no cheap is not necessary good….

    • johan raslan

      The mas enrich program is a total mess. Even its recently launched enrich online redemption website has either been down or error prone. After many arguments with mas officials on missing enrich miles, i realised that MAS will never change its way. The best solution is just to switch to krisflyer!!!

    • ANJELLA Ratu

      HELLO KC LAU ,,,, IM STILL IN CHINA ,, & TRAVELLING THESE SAYS IS TAKING A TOLL ON ME WITH THE ABSURD “STYLE” OF TICKETING.

      I HAVE NEVER BEEN A TRAVELLER OF “FIXED DATES” FOR RETURNING FROM MY TRAVELLING & WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS BUSINESS OF BEING LOCKED IN FOR DATES OF RETURN. IN THIS ERA ,,, ALL THIS WAS MADE IMPOSSIBLE FOR TRAVELLERS LIKE ME WHO JUST DO NOT WANT TO BE TIED DOWN TO FIXED SCHEDULE SO THIS MEANS HAVING TO PAY HIGH FARES FOR SUCH TICKETS.

      AIR ASIA IS TOTALLY NOT FOR ME & TO HAVE TO PAY FOR “CHEAP FLIGHTS” WITH ALL THE RIDICULOUS FEES & INCONVENIENCE ,,, IS A NO,,NO!! MEALS TO PAY,,, BOARDING FIRST ,,, IS ALL STUPID AMERICAN STYLE FOR MORE $$$$$ TO MAKE ,, KNOWN AS “HIDDEN COST” TO BE MADE FROM IGNORANT FOLKS THINKING ITS CHEAP FLIGHTS BUT HAVING TO PAY FOR JUST EVERYTHING IS PURE STUPIDITY.

      TODAY, THE SURVEY HAS BEEN RELEASED ,,, AMERICAN AIRLINES HAVE MADE IN TOTAL ,, WELL OVER $5 BILLION IN SUCH FEES ,, MAINLY FROM EXCESS BAGGAGE & ENTERING THE CRAFT EARLIER!!!

      NOW THE PEOPLE ARE UP IN ARMS OVER THESE FEES ,, WHICH INITIALLY STARTED OUT DUE TO HIGH COST OF FUEL SO THEY MADE IT UP WITH ALL THESE SILLY BAGGAGE FEES ,,, NOW ITS “FAT OOF’S” TO PAY FOR 2 SEATS ,,,

    • Belinda

      Do consider best fare of western airlines instead of all about Asian airlines. I took Dutch airways KLM from Bangkok to Holland (direct flight) in May with only RM3200+ round trip, and I had booked Finland Finnair to Germany for this coming Sept for RM3400+. Most Asian airlines offer at least RM4000+ for the destinations.

      • KCLau

        Good tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • ahkumar

      nice post…i like to travel with low cost flights

    • kiran

      A very useful tip……. I have done it and save some money, thanks to you……

      Hope to get more money saving tips from you…….. every tip is a savings to me…..

      Thanks
      Kiran

    • nagen

      very valuable .

    • Eddie Tang

      The nine tips you mentioned are very informative and useful as they give us at the fingertips the various ways to minimise our travelling costs and getting the best deals.To minimise travelling costs, one need to have proper planning.For example, if you need to travel in two months time and the day of travelling is already fixed, then it is advisable to book immediately as some airlines give discounts for early bookings.Then, you have to consider whether you want to go on a ‘full fare’ flight or ‘cheap flight’.Besides the difference in prices between ‘full fare’ and ‘cheap flights’,there are other pros and cons like meals included or ‘no frills’.

      • Kc Lau

        Eddie,

        Congratulations! You are the winner of this book.
        Please contact me through the contact form (find the tab on the top) and provide your mailing address.

        Thanks to everyone who participated!

    • Caca

      Great tips that I can learn especially the suggestion on taking train 45 mins from Hangzou to Shanghai can save us extra money. While doing this kind of research we can bump into others attractive tourist packages or tickets to parks, train tickets n etc which can save us more money. It’s most fruitful when we can spend our money the best out of it and the smartest way.

    • renaye

      Thanks for the sharing. It’s actually common sense but sometimes laziness makes people tend not to do more research, thus buying upon stumbling the first option.

      I’m now trying to get air tickets to Sydney for a seminar in 2012. Though I have missed the MAS global airfare sales (was informed all tickets were sold) on Monday by a travelling agent, I’m still in the midst of doing research in getting the best price.

      I’m now looking forward to Matta fair, maybe the agents there have better price to offer.

    • Patricia

      I will be going for a vacation end of this year, so this comes in handy for me….thanks 🙂

    • Lee | IvalueNews

      Great tips sharing and I always keep my eyes on the best deals either offered by AirAsia or Mas Airlines. Nowadays, Firefly airlines also offers lots of good flight deals.

    • Aster

      Very informative and useful for travellers.

    • Spring

      Thanks for sharing these tips! ^^

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