When it comes to air travel, many things can go wrong and maybe the only reason is you. Starting from packing carelessly, purchasing a cheeseburger on board, to eventually hitting your wallet hard!
You might even think that you are too wise to make any of these 7 mistakes, but my guess is that you will be surprised at how many of them you’ve made.
1. Not Considering Other Airports
The most common mistake we all somehow do when booking a flight is not considering the choices we could possibly have in other different airports. Therefore, we end up hitting our savings very hard.
Did you know that you can save up to $50 to $100 per ticket? Don’t be surprised as according to Travelzoo, you definitely can if only you look a little bit farther than your nose. If you are living in a mid-sized city, for instance, do consider the rates in airports of larger cities.
Small cities usually have just one airport, therefore you don’t have multiple choices. However, in major metropolises, you can at least have the chance to compare the prices and choose the most suitable for your wallet.
Chicago, New York, and the Bay Area are good examples of metropolitan areas with more than one airport. Still, don’t forget to undertake a research and collect all the information needed as some carriers only fly into some particular airports.
Of course, before taking the decision to book a flight in an airport which is not located in your city, make sure that transportation to your destination from the alternate airport doesn’t override your savings. The objective is to save money and not the opposite. So a calculation of the total cost of the trip before booking the ticket is a wise idea.
Travel zoo adds that the amount of saving also lies on your point of origin. For example, if you have decided to book a flight in Jet Blue which flies into both Los Angeles International (LAX) and Long Beach, but you are willing to land at the latter. Then you would have saved yourself the aforementioned amount of money.
2. Only Booking Nonstop Flights
My confession? Every time I’m willing to travel somewhere, I bring my laptop and start the research process. Nonstop flights always seem very tempting to ignore. There are easier, quicker, and I eventually end up booking them. Where is the mistake? Well, the mistake that many people including myself make is losing an opportunity of gold when not passing on nonstop flights.
According to Travelzoo, sitting in an airport on a layover is actually a blessing in disguise. It can reduce the cost of your ticket and save you some extra beneficial money that you can spend at your destination. This might be from $100 to $200 per ticket.
Imagine if you are a family of four traveling on vacation, this could even save you up to $800, which is really amazing. You can even pamper yourself and enjoy one or two more days on vacation. Think positively about it, consider yourself living an adventure, and you will see how enjoyable it will be.
And if you are worried about your luggage, then you might want to know that U.S Department of Transportation states that the number of lost bags in February 2016 had decreased in February 2017. During the latter, only 2.16 instances of mishandled bags per 1,000 travelers were reported to be lost while in the last year about 2.64 instances.
3. Not Picking the right Travel Date
Avoid booking a flight ticket in Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays unless it’s an emergency. According to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney, travelers can save 10 to 40 percent per ticket if they avoid these days and book in other days of the week instead.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are cheaper and the traffic is less heavy. Therefore the traveler can benefit from the cheaper rates that the airlines are offering during these days with lower traffic.
Let’s take an example to make it clearer. According to a recent search, prices for a round trip from Los Angeles to New York in the month of July can get as low as $222 from LAX to LaGuardia on Tuesday, July 18, and the same for the return trip on Wednesday, July 26, totaling $443.55.
Let’s suppose you take the same trip with the same airlines but you booked the ticket on different days. The surprise is that the ticket will cost a total of about $593.96. this shows that the cheapest ticket you can ever find on Monday, July 17 from LAX to LaGuardia is actually about $297, and to fly back Friday, July 21, you will need to pay another $297.
Now, that you have seen how you can save $150, be smart and pick the right day!
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. based carriers have collected more than $4.1 billion in baggage fees during the year 2016. It sounds crazy but it’s true. People fall in the mistake of overpacking thinking that they can get two free checked bags.
This can be possible in case you‘re flying to the southwest. But here, the situation is different, especially if you are traveling with major airlines like American Airlines, Delta, and United. The latter airlines can charge you a $25 to check your first bag and another $35 for your domestic travel bag.
And in case you have two bags, be ready to pay $120 round trip just for your bags to fly with you in the airplane and about $480 if you are a family of four and everyone packed two bags. Now you must have realized why it’s important to pack light and pack only the things you need into a single carry on bag. It’s safer for you and your pocket too.
According to the Bureau of Transportation and Statistics, American Airlines topped the list and collected $1.1 million in revenue from baggage fees, followed by Delta with more than $800 million and United at more than $690 million.
5. Purchasing Airplane Food
Unlike the old days, today your flight ticket rarely does cover your meal. So, make sure you take something with you to eat on board to avoid paying the sky-high markup airplane menu.
Purchasing airplane food is one of the silliest mistakes we all do and we end up paying too much money on nothing. So, it would be smart if you take a trip to Wal Mart Supercenter before you hop on the plane. At least there you can buy yummy things at affordable prices.
So instead of spending $5.99 just for Chobani Greek yogurt and fresh fruit or another $11.99 only for a cheeseburger on select United flights, you can buy an entire loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly for less than $6, and here you have a nice and delicious lunch.
6. Not Creating Frequent Flyer Miles for Your Children
Paying for what you can get for free is certainly a dumb mistake. Yes, if you would have created a frequent flyer account for your kids, you would have profited from the program and didn’t have to pay for your children tickets.
Frequent flyer program is a loyalty program offered by an airline to encourage its loyal customers to accumulate points. Delta airline may require you to fill in a special form in order to create a loyalty program for your kids. Other carriers like JetBlue may even offer you a Family Pooling account, which makes it even easier and faster to earn points.
This program is really worth it. It’s true it can be sometimes crazy and hard to track the numbers, especially if you are not loyal to one particular airline, still, it is really worth it!
Collecting points depends on how much you travel and having enough points means free tickets for your kids and quite good extra money saved in your pocket. In fact, you can even save about $700 as an average domestic round trip in the U.S is about $349, so imagine if you have two kids and enough points, isn’t it amazing!
7. Paying for In-flight Entertainment
One can get really bored when on an air flight. The time seems to stand still and you feel like you really need some entertainment. No worries, some carriers have thought about you and are offering complimentary in-flight entertainment but not for free, still, there are always some exceptions. American Airlines is a good example, as all its in-flight entertainment is for free.
You can also keep yourself entertained by downloading movies and television shows from Google Play on your personal device before you even leave your home. Or maybe grab a magazine from the airport terminal, and why not use Kindle to check books available out of your local library for free and spend your flight enjoying a great read.