Carefree in the clouds
When it comes to air travel, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love the thrill of accelerating down the runway and cruising at 30,000 feet above the earth, and those who find it a nerve-wracking, unpleasant necessity for getting from A to B. But what these two groups do have in common is that they both want a convenient, uncomplicated experience when booking their flight and checking in at the airport. And neither of them wants to pay more than they have to for the tickets. Fortunately there are 10 simple tricks that can help to save money on airline tickets and make the experience at the airport a lot less stressful.
1. Save money during booking by deleting cookies
Most websites for booking flights and vacations use so-called “cookies” which save and analyze our internet browsing behavior. This can result in a flight that cost only $100 yesterday now costing $112 today. You can circumvent this “dynamic pricing system” simply by deleting all of the cookies on your computer before you start searching for flights. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can find out how here.
2. Use the monthly overview to find the best prices
Is your vacation schedule flexible? If so, you could save some money. Depending on the time of year, air travel can be a lot more expensive. In some countries flights can be several times more expensive during school vacation periods. And no matter where you live, there are always peak travel times that should be avoided if possible. That’s why it’s always good to look at the “big picture” and compare flight prices throughout the entire year (or at least over a few months). Services such as Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo and GoogleFlights can be a big help with this.
3. Take a picture of your parking space
If you drive to the airport and leave your car there, it’s always a good idea to take a photo of the parking space. Airport parking lots are infamously huge and hard to navigate; after a long, relaxing vacation it might be a bit difficult to remember where you parked a few weeks earlier. A quick photo is an easy way to solve this problem. Just make sure to use a wide enough angle so you have some signs or landmarks to help guide your way.
4. Take a picture of your luggage
How often have you heard about someone’s luggage going missing during a flight? Or maybe you’ve experienced this yourself? If so, you’ll know how important it is to be able to describe the bags in detail. In this case, a picture is really worth a thousand words and could be very helpful in reuniting you with your luggage.
5. Charge your phone in airplane mode
On most flights you’re not allowed to use your smartphone in online mode. These days a warning to shut phones off or switch them to “airplane mode” is included in the typical pre-flight announcement made by the cabin crew. In airplane mode you can still use all of the features on your phone, you just can’t make calls or surf the internet. The good thing about this mode is that it actually uses a lot less of your battery than online mode and charging in this mode goes a lot faster.
6. If you have a fear of flying, book an early flight
For those afraid of flying (and even for those of us who aren’t), turbulence can send a chill down our spine and leave us gripping the armrests until our knuckles turn white. But although it’s not completely foreseeable, turbulence most often occurs in the afternoon and the evening. Taking a flight that leaves early in the morning greatly reduces the chances of having to deal with this very unpleasant aspect of flying.
7. Always carry an empty water bottle
Modern security measures prevent us from taking fluids onto a flight. It’s a good rule that helps to keep us safe, but it doesn’t mean that we have to board the flight empty-handed (or empty-bottled in this case). If you pack a water bottle in your carry-on, you can always fill it after you have passed through the security check. Most airports have drinking fountains or water coolers where passengers can rehydrate. Simply fill up your bottle and you won’t get stuck paying for overpriced drinks on your flight.
8. Ask about a free upgrade to business class when checking in
Many flights aren’t fully booked and that means there are seats in business class and first class that are empty. If you’re in the mood for a bit more leg room and service, simply ask at the check-in counter if a free upgrade is possible. The service attendants won’t exactly advertise these kinds of things, but it doesn’t mean they won’t do it. Asking can’t hurt and you’ll be surprised at how often it works!
9. If your flight gets cancelled, you have a right to compensation
It’s every traveller’s worst nightmare: you look at the flight information board and see “CANCELLED” or “DELAYED” in big letters beside your flight listing. But in these cases there’s actually no need to get upset. When flights are delayed or cancelled, airlines will usually provide a timely alternative and even refund the ticket price if they can’t. The form and amount of compensation depends on the airline, but always remember to ask for it. Even though most airlines offer compensation, they won’t offer it automatically.
10. Take pictures of your personal documents before the flight
Sometimes vacations just don’t go as planned and bad things end up happening. Unfortunately, one of the most common of these bad things is losing your travel documents or having them stolen. Having pictures of your passport, tickets, booking reservations etc. on your smartphone can help you through these kinds of situations and makes it easier to get them replaced.
These tricks seem almost obvious when you think about it, but not many know about them. Share them with all the globetrotters in your life and help make the friendly skies even friendlier!