Cheaper Airfares Part 3 - Advanced Techniques
Not getting the savings you're looking for on normal searches? Time to up the ante. Open jaw flights have given me some of my best savings. It's where you start your journey in one location and end it in another. If you start an intercontinental journey in the UK a significant part of your ticket price is a long haul air passenger duty tax. If your ticket starts in continental Europe instead, you can often make big savings. Here's an example:
London, UK to Lima, Peru. The going rate for a scheduled return to a lot of South American cities is normally around the GBP £600 mark. I bought an open jaw last Easter with a routing that started in Milan, Italy and went via Sao Paulo, Brazil to Lima. The return leg came back via Sao Paulo too, but then direct back to London. Perfect. Yes, I needed to get a separate low cost ticket to Milan, but the total flight cost for this trip was around GBP £250. The saving paid for my visit to this rather famous old place, can you recognise it?
Let me caveat it though. This isn't for everyone. There's no such thing as a guarantee in life, and if I hadn't managed to arrive in Milan in time for my first flight, it could have cost me even more than the normal fare. Minimise the chances of something going wrong. If you have the time, the best way is to fly the day before you need to arrive. Get some cheap accommodation and relax. Your savings will probably have bought you dinner and a city tour too. Failing that, travel as early as you can on the day, and use an airline that has multiple flights there. That way if there's a problem with your flight, you've still got a great chance of getting there on time.
Still not hardcore enough for you? The highest risk is the error fare ticket. These are more difficult to find, but there are a number of websites and online forums where like minded souls post their findings. You'll stumble across these sometimes on normal booking sites too. Error fares normally mean that there are taxes, or the fare itself missing from the overall cost due to glitches with reservation systems. If you come across one, whatever you do, don't make any other travel plans until you have full confirmation and an e-ticket has been issued. Even then it *could* be a risk. Airlines often cancel the ticket and provide an automatic refund. Not always though, I've had a few where the tickets were honoured. Like I said in my earlier post, sometimes you need a bit of luck. And it may get you to places that you normally only dream of visiting. Like Bora Bora:
Don't forget to use your CabinZero for the trip. It's no use finding a cheap flight and then having to pay to check your bag. Life's an adventure, right? Now, time to start planning my next trip...
Here is a list of sites Brian uses to find his cheap flights:
Flight search engines:
traveldealz.de (in German)
europelowcost.co.uk/airlines/all (low cost airline directory)