Today I’d like to share with you my top flying hacks. Whether it is on how to get the best price, beat the airport queues or make the most of your time in-flight. Here we go!
- When brainstorming your holiday plans, it’s always worth checking out online and print material to determine the best places to visit when you want to go, and at a price you can afford. The golden rule is usually to avoid travel around school and major public holidays; but sometimes you can find a great deal, 2-3 days either side of these periods.
- Use a flight search tool such as Skycanner or Momondo; it’s a great way to quickly search for your perfect deal with live availability from the airlines and online agencies. You are able to filter your results to your preferences (such as budget, stops, airline, and even the time of day you’d prefer to fly.) One that is becoming incredibly popular is Google Flights. Well worth a visit in my opinion.
- Always check directly with the airline for their price too, many will offer a “best price guarantee” which means they promise you won’t find a better fare elsewhere. Be sure to check out the terms and conditions before you fly though, as online-only travel agencies are usually excluded.
- It’s always worth turning on “private browsing” on your internet browser, this makes it harder for airlines to track your searches via cookies… something of which can hike up the price.
- Always take advantage of an airline’s online or mobile check-in service. It’s a great way to ensure you are ready to fly and select your seat free of charge. Most major airlines open this service 24 hours prior to your flights departure, but others do vary. This will also sometimes reduce the risk of you being “bumped off” the flight if someone at the airline hasn’t estimated the overbooking levels correctly.
- Keep an eye out for special “online/mobile check in” lanes at the airport. If you’ve already taken advantage of this service, you might be lucky enough to just walk straight to the counter and drop off your bags, bypassing the masses in the standard bag drop queue. This happened to me last year when I flew from MCO-LGW with Virgin Atlantic. I was standing in the regular queue and noticed a little sign on one of the queue barriers. I quickly opened up the VS app on my phone, utilised the mobile check-in option and once I was at the confirmation screen… I jumped in the other queue. Thank god for the free WiFi!!
- If you’re flying from the UK check out websites like eatdrinkandfly.com; where you might be able to find money-off vouchers for food and beverage outlets at the airport. The money you save in the UK means you’ll have more to spend abroad, or even put it towards your next trip!
- Don’t be late! A lot of people still think that airlines will wait for you at the gate once you’ve checked in. The reality couldn’t be more different. As a rule of thumb, get to the airport early to take advantage of the duty free and dining facilities, then be ready to head to your gate around 60-70 minutes prior to the flights departure time. When you’re at the gate, just find a seat and enjoy surfing the web with the free wifi… don’t clog up the queue to board!
- Linking in with the above; some airlines have now asked airport authorities to deny passengers passing through security when it’s close to the flights departure time. At Heathrow, passengers won’t be able to pass through the automatic gates at the entrance to security screening, and are be directed back to the airline’s ticket desk.
- Try to avoid carbonated drinks when cruising at altitude, you might find this will prevent you from feeling bloated. Not that glamorous I know, but a lot of people always complain about it afterwards. One or two sodas is fine, but I usually stick to fruit juice. A nice glass of wine with the meal is fine, but don’t over-do it.
- Be nice to the crew! They are not just there to serve, but they are actually your fire marshall, police officer, first-aider and concierge amongst other things. I like to say “thanks” by bringing chocolates for the crew. It’s something which isn’t usually loaded with their in-flight meals, but is a great treat to keep their energy levels up.
- Get ahead of the game by researching what’s on the Inflight Entertainment before you fly. Many airlines will update their website with the content at the beginning of each month, so make a list to save wasting time searching for what’s on offer onboard.
- If you liked a particular soundtrack, movie or TV show; a small selection of airlines actually offer passengers the option to have the names of items saved to their “playlist” to be emailed to them after the flight. That way you can easily recall what you enjoyed onboard, and probably go to iTunes or something to download it!
So there are just a handful of my holiday hacks. Do you have any others that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and help share the knowledge, so everyone can make the most of their travels.