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2500 Flights per day
Did you know that Atlanta, Georgia USA is the current record holder as it has approximately 2500 flights per day? With this volume of flights to choose from it’d be beneficial have an idea of what to know when booking a flight online.
Even if you’re not flying out of Atlanta but you’re departing from Memphis, Melbourne or Manchester, there are still so many flights to choose from. Why not make things a little easier and help yourself to minimise costly errors when booking a flight online.
As we know, time is money so understanding the basics of the industry will benefit. Also, finding what suits you will lessen the possibility of getting caught somewhere; literally or financially.
The key focus is to work less on the secondary tasks of your business to get you back working on your business niche. The less time you spend on this task the better it is.
The arrival city airport
From the booking aspect, it’s important to be aware that the arrival city airport may share its name with another city somewhere else in the world.
For Example: Did you know that there are approximately 100 towns/cities that have the name of Newcastle in one language or another? It seems that our forebearers weren’t a very original lot. 😊
Also, Brisbane and Melbourne Australia share their name with 2 places in the USA. Oh, there’s also a Sydney in Canada and quite often it has caught the unwary new Travel Consultants.
So, based on this, double check which city has come up in your flight search before locking it in.
When booking a flight online selecting the wrong city code could have you standing at the airport scratching your head or at the least contending with another secondary task – attempting a refund.
From the travelling point of view, check how many terminals the arrival airport has and if you’re transiting check how long will it take to get to the next terminal.
A recent Dubai (one of the world’s busiest airports) ‘excursion’ took me, from my arrival gate approximately 20 minutes in total to walk, then train and walk again to get to the ‘point of no return’ departure gate in another terminal.
There goes the leisurely duty-free shopping i intended to do while I was waiting.
With airport security being a priority, allow plenty of time to check-in as many are extensive and lengthy.
My recent check-in for a flight Toronto/Brisbane via LAX trip, had me arriving to my departure gate 20 minutes to spare. Great timing Right?
I began queuing to check-in 3.5 hours earlier with the intention to settle down and do some work while waiting. Not only were there delays in relation to the airline staff but USA customs was extremely busy.
TIP: Quite a lot of domestic airports are just as busy as the Internationals, so it’s strongly recommended to arrive 3 hours prior to departure as well. My story of flying from Los Angeles to Miami for a 7 am flight was proof of that. Had we’ve not opted to arrive at the airport at 4am we might have missed the flight. It was extremely busy!
TIP: If you have choices with airports consider using the quieter one. There also the possibility that flights might be slightly cheaper.
TIP: To save time for everyone, be aware of the rules make sure all liquids and sharp instruments are NOT in the carry-on baggage. Debating with security to keep something just slows down the process.
Never assume that the airport that you’ll be landing at will have the facilities you need such as airport accommodation or accommodation close to the airport. Also double check if there is a shuttle service for transfers as some airports are well set up but others aren’t.
If you’re ETA is an after hours, check if there are any services open or still operating. If not, research for alternatives during the booking process as it will save time and angst while you’re on the trip.
There is a great saying for those who make assumptions. ‘Never assume because it can make an ASS out of U and ME.’ 😊
When booking a flight online the choice of airline can determine the price and one example is: Loyalty points connected to flights usually come at higher cost.
On the other hand, budget airlines are cheap for a reason. Is the advertised price a starting price where luggage costs still need to be added and does seat allocation cost more plus the food, is it included?
Another reason for cheap fares is because the airline may have a low popularity rating. Is it because they cancel flights regularly?
It’s really important to check reviews.
For me, there are several sayings that come to mind in regards to the price that are relevant to the travel industry.
You only Get What You Pay For.
If it’s Too Good to be True, it Probably is.
Being a believer in ‘Value for Money’, when I see a ‘bargain’ price I usually check for key Terms and Conditions such as the travel dates, the time of the departure and is it direct? Also for international flights: How long is the transit time and what airlines are partnering to give this deal?
But that’s just me after having experienced being caught with my blinkers on, I’ve become savvier when booking a flight online. It’s so easy to miss something.
Taxes and Fees
Each city and airports have their own taxes and fees that are charged to the airline such as noise tax etc. Of course, these charges are then passed on to the passenger’s ticket.
The taxes will vary from city to city so perhaps consider flying into a different airport close by. For example: If your traveling to Cambridge or northern England, instead of landing in Heathrow, why not consider Stanstead?
When booking a flight online some terms are a little confusing. To put it simply, flights that involve landing in a city that is not your final destination will have a ticket that either incorporates a ‘Stopover’ or a ‘transit (layover)’.
A ‘Stopover’ ticket will be more expensive due to extra taxes as opposed to being in ‘Transit’. Well, that’s the theory behind it.
The key differences are:
A ‘Stopover’ ticket includes entry taxes to that specific city and it will have a stop that’s longer than 24 hours. In this case, you will be able to clear customs and be permitted to wander the country freely.
A ‘Transit’ (layover) ticket is defined as; you are still travelling and the flight’s itinerary has the plane landing in a specific airport but as you are NOT at your designated destination and you haven’t paid specific city taxes through your ticket you’re not permitted to clear customs and enter the city/country. NB: This is based on flying internationally.
No mans’ land
So, if you’re happy to fly through with only a short transit (minimum 3 hours is recommended Internationally), all of your time will be spent in the airport terminal in ‘no mans’ land’.
If you have for example, a 9 hour wait between flights, it’s worth considering a stopover ticket if possible to be able to leave the airport to freshen up or have a short rest at a hotel. This is popular in Asian countries as they are central between Australia and the rest of the world.
Direct and Non-Stop
Another confusing piece of terminology when booking flights are: Direct flight and Non-Stop flight.
A Non-stop flight is exactly as described. ‘It does not stop anywhere’.
A Direct flight can touch down for a very short period of time but is not promoted as being in transit. These flight itineraries show up in a search displaying the departure and arrival points only but there will be a ‘1 stop’ usually written in small print.
EG: My flight from Dubai to Brisbane was a direct flight but it did touchdown in Singapore for just 1 hour. All passengers were asked to wait in the vicinity of the gate for re-boarding.
While it added a few extra hours to my trip, I have now realized that 3 x 7-hour sectors on a Europe Australia flight is my preferred. This extra break in the trip allowed more time to walk and exercise. Also, I was fortunate that the 14-hour non-stop sector was at the beginning of my European sojourn. The excitement over-rode the numbness. 😊
When looking at flights, timezones need to be taken into consideration. The time of arrival will always be the time it is at the destination. If there is a ‘+’ sign next to 1 or 2 e.g.: ‘+1’ this indicates to add another day for the ETA which is normally due to crossing the international dateline.
EG: If you’re flight from LAX departs at 23.00 hours 01 January, the approximate ETA into Brisbane will show as 06.00 +2 so the arrival date will be 3 January.
A major confusion for travelers is when a flight is departing early such as 01.30 (e.g.: 10 January). Check-in is 3 hours prior, so passengers arrive at the airport in the evening of the 9th January.
In this scenario, the question is; do you check out of the hotel the day you leave for the airport or pay for a whole night but not sleep there?
Passports, visas & Visa Waiver Programs
The rules regarding passports, visas and visa waiver programs are very strict. There is no flexibility given if the wrong travel document is provided to customs and airline staff.
It’s important to ensure that you allow plenty of time for processing of visas before travel. Sometimes your passport may be required by the consulate before a visa application is approved so this can take up valuable time.
For each country, visas and visa waiver programs vary so it is important to refer to the nationality of your passport’s requirements.
The most popular advice for visa waivers and passports is; if the expiration date is close, consider renewing. Sometimes you can be refused boarding if felt the expiration date is too close.
All in all, while it may sound confusing, I have always found to simply follow the rules. And with detailed itineraries, allow plenty of time to research everything. Just follow the process one step at a time or for peace of mind and time freedom, outsource to Don Jon Journeys.
TIP: Make Google your friend and do the research. ϴ
Too much time and too much to deal with?
As a Small Business Owner or Entrepreneur, it can be too much to deal with because it’s not you niche. I completely understand. (Social Media is my bugbear as it’s not my niche.)
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I believe we could enhance experiences and lessen negative possibilities if we help each other whenever we can. I’d larv you to feel free to contribute your travel encounters or just Tips and Tidbits.
It can be as a guest blogger/writer or just email me with your encounters.
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