What you need to know before you book your next flight…..
I would recommend that you carefully research consider all your available flight options and airlines before booking. A quick and easy way to do this is to use any number of flight comparison sites that are out there such as Skyscanner. If you find a great deal, then its then worth checking with the airline directly to see if you can the ticker cheaper or get any additional benefits when booking directly with them.
As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper tickets offered by most airlines tend to leave at the most unsociable hours. The compromise, however, is almost always a cheaper airfare, so if you and your family are early risers or late to bedders then this could be perfect.
Long haul options on the more popular routes generally have a better selection of options and departure times, that said your flying long haul so what’s also important to consider is the overall length of the journey your preparing to take and what your prepared to compromise on.
Unless you have an unlimited budget and can fly first class in comfort, then you need to consider any number of these factors and decide what is most important to you.
Flight departure & arrival times – Does it leave early or arrive late? If so what are your transport options at each end? The last thing you need after a long haul flight is to be dumped in the middle of nowhere with limited options. Almost certainly you’re going to want to eat, drink and have a shower as soon as possible. A good compromise in this regard could be to take a cheaper unsocial flight time but stay in a nearby airport hotel to soften the blow.
Travel to and from the airport – Do you live miles out of town? will it be peak rush hour traffic when you depart or arrive? Again, very important when with children who’ve been travelling for 20+ hours. Adding another hour stuck in traffic can make a good journey turn bad very quickly.
Airport Options – Can you keep yourself and the kids entertained whilst at the airport? Aside from the stress of having to pass through immigration and security, does the airport have any child-friendly options such as dedicated child facilities? If you’ve never been to Singapore’s Changi Airport for example, then I can only say you’re missing out.
Airline Quality – Is the airline you’re flying with renowned for great service? What are the flight entertainment options? Does the airline have a good safety record? How good are the food options? No idea?? Then I suggest you should check out Skytrax or Airline Ratings.
Aircraft – What type of aircraft is it? Newer aircraft have come on leaps and bounds with improved air quality, acoustics, ergonomic seating, high definition screens. I will almost always look for the type and age of the aircraft used, for example, we booked a flight to Bangkok on the new A350XWB aircraft which dramatically improved the quality of our journey. Another good tip is to pick your seats in advance. What are the seat configurations 3-3-3 for example, does this mean will one of you be sat alone? A good resource to use to check this is Seat Guru.
Does the airline offer any type of Economy upgrades such as Premium Economy, leg room upgrades or unique options such as Air New Zealand’s Skycouch. Sometimes paying that little bit extra makes all the difference.
Lounge Access – Are you a member of a frequent flyer programme or credit card programme that allows you access to the Airlines or Airline partners lounge. This is very useful when it comes to having some quiet time as some airline lounges have spaces for children to play, and the free food & drink options make it easier for you to relax and enjoy the time before you depart.
By considering all these aspects, it will ensure you’ve made the best possible choices for your next trip domestically or overseas.