Jump to content

  •     

Photo
- - - - -

Airfare Strategies


  • Please log in to reply
58 replies to this topic

#1 paborn

paborn

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 November 2018 - 11:08 PM

I'm hoping this topic will be both helpful and new. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us get to Thailand by air and it's probably the single most expensive element of our travel. So, let's discuss how we go about getting the best fare/service. Do we book directly with airlines, use online travel agencies, apps like Kayak, etc.



#2 forky123

forky123

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 471 posts

Posted 28 November 2018 - 12:44 AM

I usually book through Expedia or similar with a package for a hotel. The combined deal is often heavily discounted and I choose the best discount. I then cancel and get a refund on the hotel part and book the hotel I want.

#3 Scooby

Scooby

    Newbie

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 796 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:33 AM

I'm hoping this topic will be both helpful and new. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us get to Thailand by air and it's probably the single most expensive element of our travel. So, let's discuss how we go about getting the best fare/service. Do we book directly with airlines, use online travel agencies, apps like Kayak, etc.

This is certainly a worthy topic and some might be surprised at fares.

 

But the premise of it being the most expensive part of your visit is certainly variable depending on your length of stay and time of year you visit.  In fact if you are lucky enough to fly from Major cities such as Los Angeles , London and even Sydney the fare could be the smallest part of your budget. 

 

Economy fares have plummeted from those type cities and many times you can find fares for $550 or even as low as $450. Now of course that is not over Xmas, New Years etc but easy to find many other times of year.  Of course if you do not live close to one of those type Major Cities then your connecting flights can raise the fares substantially.

 

I find no reason to use anything but Kayak and never select any of the other possibilities you can add on Kayak. Rarely have I ever seen the fares on Kayak beaten and if they are there is something in the small print that is likely to bring you to the same number or even more.

 

I would agree if your visit is 7 days or less then it may be the biggest part of your budget , but since many members here visit for longer periods, I would guess it has become a smaller and smaller part of overall money spent either on Hotels or Boys or Drinks.



#4 paborn

paborn

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:40 AM

Great point Scooby. Now, I paid, for my January ticket, $1,500 on Emirates from the US. Obviously, high season, but just as obviously I would love to pay less. So, hints like fly Tuesday or Wednesday, avoid this or that. You know all the things we might not think of.

 

Are there really seasons a two-week vacationer might want to avoid, etc. I'm looking to reduce air and come twice a year rather than once.



#5 Scooby

Scooby

    Newbie

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 796 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 02:28 AM

You did not mention your home airport and how early in January. I am suspicious you might be flying Premium Economy on that fare. Fares tend to plummet after the 15th of January .  On balance I have usually found fares lower on Wednesday and Saturday but sometimes there is no ryme or reason in the fares .

 

Low fares are harder during Chinese New Year and of course the farther in advance you plan the more likely you might find a really low fare. Usually the Insurance is well worth the price if you need to cancel without losing much.

 

Also if your departure is from an East Coast city of the USA, I have found you might be better off looking for a low fare to Los Angeles in a separate booking and then take advantage of one of those really low fares especially on a multitude of Chinese Airlines.

 

Of course if you are a USA resident and tend to spend a fair amount on your credit cards then you should explore the multitude of bonus frequent flyer miles available to you for spending a certain amount over a number of months . Then combine those bonus miles with miles earned for free trips.



#6 paborn

paborn

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 03:02 AM

See now, I'm flying from FLL and leaving the 8th of January. I should have checked a week or so later. I'll add this to my list to do in the future.



#7 z909

z909

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,711 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 03:54 AM

I do the flight search on something like Kayak AND one competitor site.

 

If there is an outrageously low fare by some company I have never heard of, I check out their reputation for customer service.   Then decide not to use them.   I have SOMETIMES booked via one of the reputable agencies, but mostly I book directly with the airline (always EVA) on line.

Even if it is up to £10~15 more expensive, I prefer to book directly as the chances of my special meal request getting cocked up are much reduced.

I have always flown out in early December and back in Early January, to avoid the peak prices over Christmas.   This time the return date is much later, but I'm not seeing much benefit in prices.

 

I'm flying Premium Economy and it is costing £884.

Up until about 3 years ago, I flew in economy always, taking great care to get the emergency exit seats (at least 80% of the time).  However getting these became more difficult, so I have gone premium.

 

Due to the prospect of more frequent long haul travel, I may revert to economy, if I could figure out how to more reliably get the economy exit seat. 

 

For London-BKK, I flew EVA on the first trip and like them, so I have used them on that route every time since. 

 

I don't think I've even flown on a Thai Ari branded plane, despite having been to at least 9 airports in Thailand.



#8 vinapu

vinapu

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,744 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 04:45 AM

Thinking about my strategies I realized that one I employ  depends on destination but OP mentioned Thailand so it simplifies things a bit. Like Scooby I start with Kayak and in most cases this is where I find what I’m looking for.

 

Sometimes airlines I used in the past are sending some offers by e-mail but rarely they are better than ones found on Kayak.

At times I check Expedia as well.

 

There were few trips I did not really plan but because shockingly low fare I decided to  utilize it.

 

I don’t shop much , if I see fare which is attractive or acceptable and fits my plans I go for it without spending much time comparison shopping . Learned that lesson years ago when few offers were  gone before I made my mind.  Collecting miles is by-product and it not influences my flight decisions when flying to Thailand ( I already said there are destination specific strategies for me) . If I get them fine, if I don’t , not much worse.

 

Outbound I like long first leg ,  from home city straight to Asia  and having connections there.

 

Other than price I’m looking at total, door to door travelling time so I’d be bypassing cheap fare if it requires say , overnight in Shanghai or Tokyo  but would go for long connection during daytime as it allows  me to do some sightseeing, some airports like Incheon are offering free tours for long connections.

 

I prefer to arrive in BKK before noon so would pay up to 100 $ premium for such connection but no more.

Yes, being close to major airport gives much more options – and with it comes competition and lower prices . Is nice to have choice of 8 long haul non-stop  flights to various Asian airports.

 

What may be overlooked is fact that thanks to budget airlines it may be economical  to buy last leg separately with one of Asian budget options. At last three times  ( going to Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia )  it turned cheaper  to buy long haul ticket to Bangkok and then Air Asia from there to final destination . I’m not talking about 10$ savings but at least 100 or so.  Option to visit few bars or massages in Bangkok while connecting   was fully utilized each time.



#9 TMax

TMax

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 591 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mandurah West Australia
  • Interests:Sex, motor bikes, travel, sex, cars, gardening, sex, movies, reading and sex

Posted 28 November 2018 - 05:39 AM

I must fly out from the dark side of the moon, I always now book direct with the airline, reason for this is that everytime I checked with travel agents or the online booking sites the only cheap fares were with obscure airlines I've never heard of or airlines that require multiple stops. Others just charge like wounded bulls and are what I would refer to as price gouging. Flying Thai Airways to Thailand I get a direct flight of about 7hrs be it to either Bangkok or Phuket (not flown direct to Phuket for several years though). I also like to try and get a seat close to the front of economy, that costs a bit more but it also cuts back on the chances of me getting stuck next to or very near screaming kids, they drive me crazy on planes. Avoiding school holiday times helps but doesn't solve that issue completely. Likewise I also deal direct with hotels.

I once got ripped off on the cost of a visa to the Philippines by a travel agent so decided there and then to avoid them where possible, at that time I was living far out in the country and had to deal with travel agents. A friend of mine used to always book with Expedia but when he needed to make changes to his flight booking he found it very difficult, granted this was a while back and may be different now but I hate hassles when on holidays.

#10 dellboy

dellboy

    Contributor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:01 AM

I usually book through Expedia or similar with a package for a hotel. The combined deal is often heavily discounted and I choose the best discount. I then cancel and get a refund on the hotel part and book the hotel I want.

hi forky , thats an interesting way to get a deal . 

can you give an example ??
 

Ta 



#11 fedssocr

fedssocr

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 648 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:33 AM

I always use frequent flier miles for my flights so it is one of my smaller budget items. My miles come almost totally from credit card bonuses and spending. I also will sometimes buy miles when there is a good deal. Avianca frequently will offer 140% or 150% bonus on bought miles...so you can buy 100K miles for $3300 or so and get 250K miles total. That will get you first class from the US to SE Asia roundtrip with about 50,000 miles leftover (for example). For my next trip in February I am flying Korean Airlines first class on the way there (something like 95,000 Korean miles plus $130 taxes) and ANA business class on the way back (78,000 Avianca miles plus a small amount of taxes). 

 

Google Flights is a good tool for looking for fares. And it will rank the "best" flight options based on things like flight time, "comfort" etc. And they have a fare calendar that will show you a whole month at a glance...and will also show other nearby airport options if applicable. Since I am based in the Washington, DC area I choose DCA and IAD but for me BWI is too far away so I uncheck that box. I usually book direct with the airline unless there's a special sale elsewhere. That makes it easier to get reaccommodated if something goes wrong. Otherwise they might direct you to the online travel agency who are usually not as easy to reach or as helpful. Often you get stuck in the middle between the two companies passing the buck back and forth instead of helping you.



#12 a447a

a447a

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,160 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:00 AM

Vinapu wrote :

"Learned that lesson years ago when few offers were  gone before I made my mind."

Some (all?) apps use cookies which they store on your computer, so they know that when you log on again, you've already been on their site and are still looking. So the cheap seats magically disappear and the same seats are now offered to you at a higher price.

Try deleting the cookies, or log in on a different computer.

I always book directly with the airline, as it allows me to choose my seat at the time of booking. It also allows me to easily make changes. It usually costs a bit more but for me, convenience is more important than price.

I only travel on certain airlines and now avoid low cost carriers in Asia. There have been times when I've wanted to make a quick trip to Luang Prabang from Thailand but my preferred airlines don't fly there. I'd have to fly down to Singapore and take a flight from there.

#13 paborn

paborn

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:32 AM

Google Flights is a good tool for looking for fares. And it will rank the "best" flight options based on things like flight time, "comfort" etc. And they have a fare calendar that will show you a whole month at a glance...and will also show other nearby airport options if applicable.

 

I never heard of Google Flights. I just tried it and love it- the fare calendar is a fantastic idea. Thanks!

 

By the way, as I search Turkish Airlines keeps coming up with the lowest fares. Does anyone have any idea what they're like?



#14 ggobkk

ggobkk

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 648 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Berkeley USA

Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:52 AM

I use Google Flights to check options for dates and pricing. It’s slightly similar to kayak but seems more useful. That said, I have some level of status on United, which waives charges for luggage, premium economy, lounge access, and early boarding. I’ve become somewhat adept at working both google flights and United sites. From the Bay Area no direct flights, so have a layover going and coming. Airfare for current trip, November 14 to December 1, was $708. Hotel costs definitely higher.

#15 fedssocr

fedssocr

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 648 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:30 AM

I think Turkish gets pretty good reviews. They just opened the new airport in Istanbul which is apparently much nicer than the old one so transfers are probably easier. Seatguru.com is a good tool for seeing reviews of various airlines and their different aircraft



#16 traveller123

traveller123

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 305 posts

Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:23 AM

I have never flown with Turkish Airlines, but like fedssocr I have noticed they get good reviews



#17 Uranus

Uranus

    Associate

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 64 posts

Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:49 PM

Vinapu wrote :

I always book directly with the airline, as it allows me to choose my seat at the time of booking. It also allows me to easily make changes. It usually costs a bit more but for me, convenience is more important than price.


For that very reason, and — if any trouble with the ticket, I deal with the airline and not some crappy agent with a lousy customer service.

Also: when booking hotels I only use Booking.com or Hotels.com, unless it’s a hotel I’ve stayed in many times (like Malaysia in Bangkok). Any disputes are easier to deal with, and believe me, in some countries one can end up in an argument — like if I’m given a room without window, room is half the size as what is advertised, or there is no room at all despite a booking half year earlier. All this has happened to me.

And I stopped using Agoda. Their customer service sucks.

#18 z909

z909

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,711 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 04:05 PM

I think Turkish gets pretty good reviews.

 

 

This is one review site I use:  http://planecrashinfo.com/rates.htm

 

Turkish airlines make it to my non-preferred list, although I did once take a domestic flight with them.

 

Incidentally, I just did a search on Kayak to see what fares are available and their system is increasingly clogged up with what look like "scam" travel offers. 

For example, business class offers from London to BKK for <£500, yet unsurprisingly when I click through, I get to the agency website and no fare is available.   This is just a scam to drive traffic to another website. 

 

In my case, there is zero chance of going any further with that website.



#19 Scooby

Scooby

    Newbie

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 796 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 05:45 PM

All you need to do is scroll down on left side until you get to booking sites and select airlines only and all your complaints disappear! Not only that but when you click on the fare you like, you are transferred directly to the airline site and thus will never have the problem of not purchasing directly from the airline if you have cancellation etc problems.

 

You also get to select a range of preferred departure times as well as your preferred arrival times in BKK.

And the thing I really like is your preferred amount of connection time. I hate short connections as well as long connections. Short means you can miss a connection easily and of course too long adds to much travel time. 2- 3 hours is what I like.

 

All and all a great site that takes a little getting used to , to maximize your searches.



#20 z909

z909

    Connoisseur

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,711 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:34 PM

You also get to select a range of preferred departure times as well as your preferred arrival times in BKK.

And the thing I really like is your preferred amount of connection time. I hate short connections as well as long connections. Short means you can miss a connection easily and of course too long adds to much travel time. 2- 3 hours is what I like.

 

I prefer direct flights, but recognize that this might not be optimum or even available for people living in many locations.

 

At the time of booking my forthcoming direct EVA flight, there was a premium economy option about £150 cheaper with Austrian, however the stopover time on the way out was about 35 minutes.   I rejected this as the probability of a 35 minute delay out of LHR is way too high.

I don't need the stress.  The risk of spending a night in a poxy hotel near Vienna airport & missing a night in Bangkok is not attractive.

 

My last indirect flight was a business trip out to somewhere else in the far east.   The direct flights were all booked, so I had to go indirect.  The flight from London was 1 hour late. After a lot of stress and running I made the connection, but the checked bag did not.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users