7 Tips You Must Know Before Buying Cheap Airfares Online

It is a problem that most air travellers face – how and where to buy those cheap airfares online and what are the benefits in savings and drawbacks compared to buying the cheap airfares from the travel agent down the road.

If you travel by air, you would already know that airfares cost typically forms the dominant chunk of your travel bill be it leisure or holiday. And the savings can add up a lot i.e. if you know where to really get those cheap airfares.

But in the current world where there are a proliferation of travel agencies, sites and even airlines themselves advertising all sort of cheap airfares, if you buy those airfares online yourself and cut out the middlemen, the travel agents, then things could get confusing fast.

Without some guidance and understanding of how one of the world’s largest industry works (air travel), travellers are likely to find themselves short-changed for the more expensive airfares tickets or buying something they may not need that had already been built into the airfare prices.

Of course, every traveller would love it if they could just get those cheapest airfares or at least bragged to their relatives or friends how they managed to get those cheap airfares at 30%-50% cheaper than the next guy sitting on the plane. Is this possible actually?

Yes, you can do all these online yourselves but here are 7 important tips you have to know before buying those airfares online or searching for the best cheap airfare deal:

1) Know your priority first.
If cheap airfare price is everything and you can settle for some minor restrictions, then you are always better to go for the cheap consolidators’ airfares rather than that of the airlines’ own published airfares themselves.

On domestic US routes, some of the big online air travel consolidators you could check out are Onetravel.com, Hotwire.com, Priceline.com, etc.

On the other hand, if airfare price is not your top consideration (for example, you have this worry about foreign airlines reliability or security), you should then monitor your favourite airline’s own cheap airfare sales, which they have periodically every two to three months.

Or try to look for a complete package tour (which is likely cheaper in airfare ticket prices than just buying the airfare ticket alone) from the big published Internet travel agencies like Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, etc.

2) Do not waste time checking sites which have the same sources of cheap airfares.
For example, these sites may rely on the same computerised reservation system (CSR) that gives you options from the same set of published air fares.

There are less than 8 major CSR systems in the industry (you can check the sites on which CSRs are they using or ask their customer help desk) and it is better if you get your options from most or all of them to get the cheapest airfares.

Note that some sites may just be a portal or gateways to other main sites so it will be a waste of time to check your options on these sites together for your cheap airfare search.

3) Get the full itineraries available
Remember that airfare pricing are determined by a variety of factors such as dates, seating, routes (direct flights, stopovers or connecting flights for example), and their rules for cancellations, refunds or changes to the tickets.

You may find that the cheapest airfare tickets tend to have a lot of restrictions that may not be suitable to you.

For example, if you are on a rushed vacation where there are too many stopovers or connecting flights, these are likely to eat into your vacation time. Always check the fine prints before paying for any cheap airfares as there are tradeoffs to be made.

4) Always book and pay quickly on a good deal
Do not waste your time searching endlessly for the best cheap airfares deal. They don’t likely exist as airfare pricing are determined by many things as noted from above and the cheapest airfare tickets may not be suitable after all for your requirements.

If you do see a good cheap airfare deal, book and pay for it quickly.

Airlines typically may offer a few crash-down cheap airfare deals to pull in demands on limited seat availability and what you see in the advertisements may not be available to you in a few days or even the next hour unless you book and pay for those cheap seats quickly.

Keeping an eye open and putting yourself on the e-mail list of notifications by the airlines or travel agencies are a good way of spotting these cheap airfare deals.

5) There is no magical place or site to look, just the best comparison
Despite what some may claim, there are no one airline or travel site that will offer you the best available cheap airfare deal as it all depends on your requirements and travel preferences.

There are actually thousands of permutations of flights routes, prices, type of flights, seatings, timing, etc for any possible trip especially for those long-distance, lengthy, round-the-world (RTW)trips.

Hence, it is always wise to do comparison between airlines or travel agencies at all time for their cheap airfare claims or offers. Of course, just do not be a cheap airfare fanatic until you miss the forest for the trees.

6) Never assume anything on cheap airfares
The best advice is never to assume anything on the airfares that you have to pay as what is cheap could be obscured by hidden charges.

Make sure that the net cheap airfare price you have to pay have factored in other charges like airport taxes, surcharges, agencies charges, etc. before you pay or make a like-for-like comparison with other sites.

Also never assume that online airfare prices will be cheaper. Always check offline for example with the consolidators’ cheap airfares.

Also never assume that those cheapest airfares flight search function on any travel websites will actually get you the ever lowest discount fares.

They won’t as search robots are actually not exactly built that way and are quite rigid. For example, they may not disclose another cheaper airfare alternative say if you vary your destination or stopover a little bit, which brings us to a last point.

7) You need to invest some patience and efforts
Ultimately, to find those bargain cheap airfares, you still need to invest the time and effort to find them.

There are always different sites, tactics and sources to find the best possible cheap airfares (note not necessarily the cheapest) for any trips.

If you are unable to do so yourself, you could still find a trustworthy and reliable travel agent to search out those cheap airfare options for you for a small fee.

Just be sure that you ask all the relevant questions in this case as some agents may not likely be as helpful as you want them to be, to search for the lowest airfares or best itineraries for you.

In the end still, nothing beats a little time and effort to plan your trip yourself and get the best out of it at the least cost.

Cheap Flights Guide

General information on low cost airlines

Low cost airlines and their fares deeply changed the flight sector. A low cost (or no frills, or low fares) is an airline company that offers flights at very competitive prices (Cheap Flights) by not offering or by selling most of passenger services (like on-board meals, seats bookings, etc.). Cheap flights were born in USA in 1971 with Southwest Airlines, and started spreading in Europe at the beginning of the ’90s with Ireland’s Ryanair.

Statistics and history in brief

To point out the strong growth of low cost flights we will show a few stats: in 1994 about 3 million passengers flew low cost, most of them with Ryanair, and in 1995 they reached 17,5 million.

In 1995 British Airways founded their cheap flights division named Go, operating from London Stanstead airport in 1998. The same year Go started operating form London Luton as well. In the year 2000, Go was sold to EasyJet.com with an operational loss of over 21 million Pounds. In 2000 KLM also entered the low cost world with Buzz, which was bought over by Ryanair in 2003 with very high losses. Currently EasyJet.com and Ryanair are among the most successful European low cost airlines, and operate over several hundred routes.

Today’s market situation sees a strong and constant growth of the cheap flights sector, new routes being opened every day by all main airlines, In the future a strong growth of low cost companies it is foreseen also in the long range flights segments.

Why low cost flights are such

Low cost airlines are very flexible and efficient organizations with a cost structure that is very different from the one of traditional airlines. Cutting many costs allows them to offer very competitive prices.

Costs are optimized mainly in the following areas:

– Tickets sales are direct, Internet being the main channel. By shortening the intermediation chain, costs can be deeply reduced.

– Smaller and cheaper airports are used, that are also less jammed by traffic.

– On-board services and crews. No meals are served. Fewer crew members are used, and airplanes need less cleaning.

– Full usage of aircraft capacity. Airplanes always fly full charge and fly more often to amortize costs. They have faster load/download times (25/35 minutes vs. 2 hours of traditional companies).

– Newer and all equal aircraft. Low cost companies fleets are made all of the same make of planes, all new ones and easy to service, in order to have them all at maximum efficiency.

Characteristics of low cost companies

To operate cheap flights, airlines must have specific characteristics to allow them to keep prices as low as possible. The basic ones are:

– A single passenger class, with free choice of the seating place.

– A single airplane make (in order to optimize service costs), such as Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s (for instance: Ryanair uses Boeing 737 series, EasyJet favors both Boeing 737s and Airbus A319s).

– Airplanes have more seats (for instance, Lufthansa’s Boeing 737s carry 132 passengers, EasyJet’s ones carry 148).

– Lower weight allowance for both hand carried and stored luggage.

– No free meals or beverages are served on board, but they are available to buy.

– Crew members fulfill multiple tasks (mainly stewardesses and stewards).

– Intensive use of airfleets. For instance, EasyJet flies an average of 10.7 hours a day, while British Airways flies 7.1 hours. Airport stops are shorter (with a faster turnover, usually 25 minutes between flights), and flights are shorter too.

– Connections are made using convenient secondary airfields, often far away from town centers, without slot restrictions, little air traffic and lower airstrip fares.

– Straight peer-to-peer connections without luggage transfers to other coincident flights (separate check-in and check-out), no coordinate flight plans with other airlines.

– Expenditure savings trough direct ticket sales, especially trough the Internet and outsourced call centers, automated check-ins and, occasionally service fees.

– Certain offers (as low as 0.99?) are only valid for in-advance bookings or are limited offers, for a relatively low number of seats.

– Lean management (savings on staff). For instance, Germanwings in Cologne employs no more than 50 people.

It isn’t easy to be low cost: flops

There were new low cost companies that flew only a few months, or even only a few days, like Ireland’s JetGreen Airways, that stopped all activities in May 2004 after only one week without paying back about 40.000 already sold tickets.

– V Bird flew from October 23, 2003 to October 8, 2004 from Düsseldorf.

– VolareWeb, low cost daughter of Italy’s Volare went bankrupt on November 23, 2004. On October 30, 2004 they stopped at once their flights between Germany and Italy. In June 2005 they started to fly again, mainly to domestic destinations and a few European ones.

Several more or less known flops were: Minerva, Gandalf, Azzurra, Air Sicilia, ItalAir, Air Libertè.

When to book

It is usually better to book your cheap flights in large advance, at least 15 days before leaving. Better offers are for departures from Mondays to Thursdays: Better to avoid leaving on week ends. Always buy return tickets and be ready to take off at unusual times (early mornings or late evenings).

Canceling or modifying bookings

Before booking read thoroughly the company’s regulations about cancelling or modifying bookings! Usually cheap flights tickets not used on the booked flight are not payed back as recession rights for long distance travel do not apply to this kind of sales. About changing departure dates, every company have different regulations, which you better always check on the company’s site. Usually changing dates is not convenient. It is better to loose your old ticket and buy a new one.

How to pay

To shorten intermediation chains, thus offering competitive prices, low cost airlines use favor Internet and call canters (these may apply a small overcharge). Therefore be ready to pay via credit card (payments are secure, to verify be sure that Internet addresses change form http: to https:).

Cheap Flights Confirmation and check in

If you book on line, you will receive a confirmation mail at the e-mail address you specified. For telephone bookings at a call center, you will receive confirmation via fax, e-mail or, eventually by regular mail. In the last case, certain companies ask for a small overcharge if sending via messenger mail. If you are e-booking, that means if you buy your ticker on line, you receive confirmation via e-mail. It is enough to print it out and to show it at the booking counter at the airport.

Secure on line payments

On line payments are preferred by low cost airlines. To guarantee discretion in data transfer on the web, credit cards use the most advanced SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology. When paying, if your browser uses SSL you just select Protected Mode and your data will be protected. If the browser has limitations, you can use Unprotected Mode. We recommend to get hold of the latest version to be able to carry out without problems all transactions.

Watch out for taxes and extras

Unfortunately, in offers of may low cost airlines there is a not yet regulated very bad habit of give only a partial price, not including overcharges and extras. So don’t be fooled by offers at 0.01 cents, always calculate global prices including taxes, overcharges and fuel costs. Sometimes there are huge differences in price.

Get organized for transportation

Low cost companies usually fly from secondary airfields that can be very far from final destinations (there are almost 70 miles from Stanstead to London), so make sure you know your way out (costs, timings and transportation time) and get organized to reach your destination.

Your luggage

Luggage transport is another point to pay attention to when flying low cost to avoid spending more on extra allowances than on tickets. Extra payload is usually very expensive and companies are very strict about it. So pay extreme attention to luggage overweight regulations and “weigh well” your suitcases.

This article is brought to you by http://en.europelowcost.com

EL AL is Best Choice for LA Flights to Israel

About El Al
El Al is Israel’s national airline. The airline was founded in 1948, shortly after the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel. Today, El Al and its Star of David logo have become synonymous with flights to Israel, high levels of in-flight and pre-flight security, and warm Israeli hospitality. These factors combine to make traveling with El Al a particularly relaxing and enjoyable experience. Passengers traveling on El Al flights can relax in their seats and enjoy the flight, knowing that their personal safety and comfort are being extremely well cared for.

El Al flies to over forty destinations: from Beijing in China, to Johannesburg in South Africa, and St. Petersburg in Russia. El Al is the only airline to operate direct LA flights to Israel. Other North American departure points for direct flights to Tel Aviv include New York, Toronto, and Miami.

El Al is also known for the spontaneous applause and sometimes singing that erupts in the passenger cabin upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

LA Flights to Israel with El Al
Direct LA flights to Israel with El Al commenced in July 2006. It is an extremely popular route, and currently there are five weekly flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Ben Gurion International Airport. The flight time is approximately 15 hours. The route is served by the new Boeing 777-200 and the Boeing 747. Passengers on these flights can choose between three levels of seating: economy, business and first class.

In June 2008, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa arrived in Israel on an El AL flight to Tel Aviv. Mayor Villaraigosa was scheduled to meet EL Al Chairman Prof. Israel Borovich, and El Al President Haim Romano. There has been some discussion about the possibility of adding additional scheduled flights between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.

New Aircraft at El Al
In 2007, El Al purchased two new Boeing 777-200 airliners. The 777-200 is the largest twin engine aircraft in the world, and has improved fuel economy. The purchase represents the company’s strategy of growth, and its commitment to the long-haul destinations, such as the LA flights to Tel Aviv. One of the aircrafts has been named Sderot, after the southern Israeli city that is under constant rocket and mortar shell fire from the nearby Gaza Strip. During his recent mission, Mayor Villaraigosa traveled to Sderot in order to show his solidarity with its residents.

El Al Security
El Al Israel Airlines is famed for its security, which over the years has evolved into one that is envied though no never equaled by other major airlines. The security envelope includes both pre-flight and in-flight measures, all of which make passengers on flights to Tel Aviv feel that their personal safety is paramount.