For frequent travelers, booking flights and other modes of transportation often becomes second nature. In the haste to get plans in place, it is possible to overlook certain matters and make basic errors. There are certain things that you should always double-check before booking your flight.
1. Date and Time of Travel
Especially with flights just after midnight, double-check the date and time of your flight departure. Flights in the early hours of the morning can make getting to the airport a hassle. You might also book extra nights in accommodations that you don’t need.
There’s also the possibility that you mix up your AMs and PMs and miss your flight altogether. Check the date and time carefully before booking your flight; check again a couple of days before you’re due to fly.
2. Flight Arrival Time
As with the departure time, ensure that the arrival time makes getting to your next destination as painless as possible. You don’t want to find yourself at a fairly remote airport and at the mercy of potentially unscrupulous taxi drivers because public transport has finished for the day.
Even worse, you could find yourself stuck outside of a smaller airport that’s due to close for the night.
3. Ticket Price
The fare is often a major consideration for many people, especially backpackers and budget travelers. Check that the price on the screen is the final price that you’ll pay. Some booking systems make it quite easy for you to see one price but you actually end up paying a higher price than you thought.
This can lead to unpleasant surprises when you check your bank statement or get your credit card bill. The initial quote may not have included taxes. It may have included add-ons that you don’t need or want. With various cheap flights available, search elsewhere, if your initial bargain isn’t so appealing when it comes to entering your card details.
4. Baggage Allowances
Some carriers provide an inclusive baggage allowance as standard. Others only include a carry-on limit. Have a rough idea of what you’ll be taking with you before booking your flight so that you can factor in any costs for extra baggage. Adding extra baggage allowances can significantly bump up the price of your ticket, especially if you don’t realize until you reach the airport.
5. Layovers, Visas and Vaccinations
With many comparison tools creating combinations to help travelers find the best deals on flights, it is especially important that you check for any layovers. A long layover can be an irritation. But, depending on your passport and the layover destination, it may mean that you are unable to board your flight.
If your layover involves an airport that closes for the night, for example, or has no transit area and it’s in a country for which you need a visa, you won’t be allowed to board the flight.
In cities that have multiple airports, ensure that you also fly in and out of the same airport. Or, you have adequate time to make your way between the two airports, that you don’t need a transit visa, and that transportation won’t be an issue.
Layover countries can also mean you need vaccinations that you didn’t know about previously, especially if passing through a yellow fever zone.
6. In-Flight Meals
Knowing whether a ticket includes a free in-flight meal can help to swing the deal if there are two or more similarly priced tickets on the table. If meals are included, don’t forget to make any special requests ahead of time. If meals aren’t included, plan what you’re going to eat if you’ll be in the air for a considerable amount of time.
Plus, if free seat selection is available, remember to choose your preferred seat after booking your flight for a more comfortable journey. Tray tables up, armrests down, window blinds up, seats in an upright position, buckle up and have a pleasant flight!