Many first time fliers jump onto the internet expecting it to be a quick, easy, and cheap way to book transportation to their children's summer hockey camps. However, in reality, booking a flight is rarely both cheap and easy. Often you will have to sacrifice more time to find a cheap flight. To prevent you from having to spend days on the internet or in travel agency offices looking for the right flight, we've compiled these tips on booking flights for beginners.
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The more flexible you are with your vacation dates the better the deal you will be able to get because you can find and book during the airline's off-peak times to save money. The more people who want to fly during a given season (such as Christmas or Spring Break) the more expensive the flight will be. Even if you're booking the flight to go to a aircraft maintenance software conference, consider staying in the city a few extra days to take advantage of cheaper weekday flights.
Use an Agency
It can be frustrating and time consuming to comb though thirty airlines worth of flight schedules looking for the cheapest flight, so use a travel agency instead. There are online agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity that you can use from home and in person ones in your local mall that you can visit in person. Not only does the agency have access to all flight schedules but they are often given deal packages and vouchers for bonus days at Niagara Falls hotels that are not available to regular airline customers.
Wait for Seat Sales
Sign up for the mailing lists of the airlines that serve your local airport so that when seat sales happen, you're the first to know. Seat sales occur when airlines are looking to fill up a flight that's at a bad time or on a bad day, or when there are a few seats left on a flight that the airline wants to fill so the plane doesn't have to leave partly empty. Some seat sales will require you to drop everything and take an airport limousine to the terminal, but the inconvenience is worth the savings.
Don't Forget the Taxes
When shopping for flights, don't be fooled by TV and newspaper ads that offer flights for less than $100. You will not be able to put the other $900 that the flight usually costs toward your cottage house plans because it will actually be eaten up in various hidden fees and taxes, such as the fuel surcharge and the airport improvement fee. These cheaply advertised flights are in reality no cheaper than the regular priced flights once you read the fine print.