We all are watching our budgets and trying to stretch those dollars as much as we can, given the current economic environment that we all have been enduring! Don’t despair, boomer patrol is but a click away and here I will share with you the secrets for unlocking that treasure chest where you will find great deals on air travel, despite all the fees the carriers keep” packing” on day after day!
1. Pre-plan and try to book your ticket in advance – at least three weeks (21 day advance). It is still the same ole same ole as the air lines have been suggesting for years … advance booking equals great deals. Of course if you are a travel junkie and get those tweets and emails from carriers who at the last minute have some give away ticket prices, so be it. But for most of us, we prefer a more casual approach to our booking and instead of waiting for that last minute tweet we would prefer to swish that birdie on the golf course!
2. Always pay for your tickets with a credit card, preferably American Express. (Believe me I do not work for American Express!) However, when it comes to making financial adjustments and when you are disputing a ticket with the airline, American Express generally accommodates you by extending you the credit until your dispute is resolved. I do not know of any other credit card company that is that accommodating!
3. If you are not a risk taker, best bet is to pay the additional fees so that you can easily change your ticket with no penalties. This I often recommend since we tend to book our flights well in advance and this will give you peace of mind for just a few more pennies!
4. Cheapest any time of year: Believe it or not, but Tuesday’s child is “full of grace.” Tuesday is best day to travel at 3pm Eastern Time. Also if your biorhythm is in sync, take a peek at evening flights, especially the trans-cons when you are traveling from coast to coast as loads are less and cheaper seats generally available.
5. What are “dead zones”? These are timeframes when travel generally is wide open. Keep in mind that during the winter months, airlines do cut back their flights, especially from coast to coast. Saturdays are the worst day to travel due to such cutbacks. Also pay attention to flight schedules during the week. Often flights that have same destination will be cut back to a full schedule only three days a week. Days and months will vary.
6. Peak travel times when travel is most expensive and there are less deals:
Summer from middle June to late August (school schedules)
Spring Break (varies but generally from middle of February through April)
Winter with Thanksgiving & Xmas Holidays always very busy. Airlines in winter cut back flights so traveling over winter holidays there will be more crowds and less flights!
During these times best to use your mile upgrades for exit row seating (though seat back does not recline) but leg room is larger and more comfortable.
With these secret keys in hand, good luck in booking your flight. Of course we all try to book with the various websites on the internet, but oftentimes, if you are a patient person and can wait for a real live person to speak with, booking with the airline rep can be just as productive, especially when you are trying to negotiate a lower price. Just have your research in hand and oftentimes they will meet your price.
Just be aware that with the discounted fares on the internet, by the time you factor in the taxes and fees they generally can run higher than getting the price direct from the air line website or representative.
As boomers we are good planners, so in your initial blueprint be sure to factor in the fares first against the temperature and weather factors to determine what time of year you will be venturing out. If you have the flexibility in planning your travels, do so when others are not traveling! That of course is the optimum for you will realize great prices and less crowds to contend with … something we all put as a top priority I am sure!
June 29, 2013