PLANNING YOUR FLIGHT
Air Booking considerations:
Movement of flights on day of travel
Priority check in
Increase of carryon allowance
Checked in baggage
- Wikivoyage – Air Travel on a Budget – http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Air_travel_on_a_budget
- Wikivoyage – Planning your Flight – http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Planning_your_flight
Booking your flight
Google incognito – helps avoid geolocation for flights
Flights – Agencies / Services
– Some have a price beat guarantee or offering. Can be proactive and ask if they price beat or match.
Escape Travel – Australia – http://www.escapetravel.com.au/flights/cheap-flights/australian-flights
Escape Travel – International – http://www.escapetravel.com.au/flights/cheap-flights/international-flights
Escape travel – Escape fare (Cheapest promotional fares) – http://www.escapetravel.com.au/promotions/escape-fares
Flight Fox (Cheap flight procurement services) – https://flightfox.com/
Hello world – http://www.helloworld.com.au/flights/
STA Travel – Cheap flights – http://www.statravel.com.au/cheap_flights.htm
STA Travel – Blue ticket fares (Student and youth fares) – http://www.statravel.com.au/blue-ticket.htm
STA Travel – Flights sorted by carrier – http://www.statravel.com.au/airlines.htm
Student flights – Flights – http://www.studentflights.com.au/flights
Student flights – Specials – http://www.studentflights.com.au/specials/overview
Student flights – Black market flights – youth and student fares – http://www.studentflights.com.au/blackmarket
Deals – General Holiday deals
** Fly4free ** sign up to newsletter alerts** (Flight deals – International flights and also Advises on occasional cheap flights from U.S.) – http://www.fly4free.com/ and http://www.fly4free.com/deal/ and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/fly4free.cheap.flights
*** – Fly4free – Australia and Oceania flight deals – http://www.fly4free.com/cheap-flights/deals/australia-and-oceania/
Mighty Travels (Flight deals – Advises on occasional cheap flights from U.S.) – http://www.mightytravels.com/
Travel bay (Travel agent) – http://www.travelbay.com.au
Flights– Search Engines / Databases
– For travel agency/organisation flight offerings, refer to the links on the “Travel Agencies / Trade“ page
** Adioso (*Subscribe to flight alerts*) – http://adioso.com/ and http://adioso.com/deals/
– Deals ex Melbourne – http://adioso.com/deals/melbourne-au
– Newsletter subscriptions – http://adioso.com/my/subscriptions
Airfare Watchdog (US Flights) – http://www.airfarewatchdog.com
Airtickets – http://www.airtickets.com
Air tickets 24 – https://www.airtickets24.com/
Amadeus (flights booking and deals – Used by Travel trade) – https://www.amadeus.net/home/guide/flights
Aunty Betty (By flight centre) – http://www.auntbetty.com.au/
Cheap Flights – Australia – http://www.cheapflights.com.au/
Cheapoair – http://www.cheapoair.com/
Cheaptickets – http://www.cheaptickets.com
Clever Layover (Looks for various stopover routings to save money) – http://cleverlayover.com/
Edreams – http://www.edreams.com.au/flights/
Fareness (Flexible flight portal) – http://www.fareness.com/
Flight deal – US based -http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/
Flight Network – https://www.flightnetwork.com/
Fly.com – http://www.fly.com
* Google – Flights – https://www.google.com/flights or type “fly to” in a google search which picks up your destination and where you want to fly, with pricing.
– Includes price watch, best fight selection, price predictions
Google – Flights – Explore – https://www.google.com/flights/explore/
Go to gate – http://au.gotogate.com/
Go Euro – Europe oriented flight portal – http://www.goeuro.com/flights/
Hack the flight – Summary of flight deals – https://hacktheflight.net/
*** Hopper (Trends and forecast of when to fly and buy, current sale fares, airfare fee breakdown calculator, cheapest times of the year when to fly, best days of the week to fly on, demand and prices trends, flight booking [links to travelocity] and more) – (Flight route data either from just the selected home airport or also between two selected destinations) – http://www.hopper.com/ and flights from Melbourne Map (interactive map with prices to domestic and international flight price guides) – http://www.hopper.com/flights/from-MEL/map
Hotwire (US Based) – https://www.hotwire.com/
Ita matrix airfare software portal (System which picks up the base airfares from airlines – no booking functionality) – http://matrix.itasoftware.com/
** Iwantthatflight.com.au (*Subscribe to flight alerts*) – http://iwantthatflight.com.au/ and (See how far you can travel) http://iwantthatflight.com.au/world.aspx?oc=MEL
– Travel factory – Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/travelfactory/
– I want that flight – Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IWantThatFlight/
Just the flight – http://www.justtheflight.co.uk/
Kayak – Flights – Price alert and price forecast –
http://www.kayak.com.au/ and Explore: http://www.kayak.com/explore/
*** Kiwi(Online flight search portal – includes budget flights) (Used to be Skypicker) – https://kiwi.com/
Round about travel – Round the world flight deals –
** Route Happy (Flight quality, conditions and price analysis) External booking – https://www.routehappy.com
*** Secret Flying (Cheap flight deals and error fares) – http://www.secretflying.com/
– Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/secretflying/
– Blog – http://www.secretflying.com/blog/
– Fuel dumping flights – Explained – http://www.secretflying.com/2016/fuel-dumping-basics/
– Fuel dumping flights tool – http://www.secretflying.com/fd/
Skiddoo – http://www.skiddoo.com.au/
– Flight explorer – https://www.skiddoo.com.au/flights
Skiplagged (Hidden city ticketing) – https://skiplagged.com/
Skyscanner – http://www.skyscanner.com.au/
** Skypicker – https://en.skypicker.com/
Smarter Travel – Flight deals (US Oriented) – https://www.smartertravel.com/deals/
Thrifty traveller – US based – http://www.thriftytraveler.com/
Travel free – Europe based – http://travelfree.info/ and https://www.facebook.com/travelfree/
Travel Genio – http://au.travelgenio.com/
Travel pirates – US based deals – https://www.travelpirates.com/
Traveller Australia – Flight reviews – http://www.traveller.com.au/search?text=flight+test
Traveller Australia – Flight deals – http://www.traveller.com.au/travel-deals/flight-deals
Travelocity – https://www.travelocity.com/
Traveloka (Asian and Australia based flight search portal) – http://www.traveloka.com/en/
Tripadvisor – Cheap Flights – http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/CheapFlightsHome
Webjet – International Sales – http://www.webjet.com.au/flights/specials/
Which Airline – http://www.whichairline.com
Which budget – http://www.whichbudget.com/
Wotif – Flights – https://www.wotif.com/Flights
Zuji – Flights – http://www.zuji.com.au/specials/
– Cheap flights – https://www.zuji.com.au/cheap-flights
Airline sale types –
Birthday, Customer, milestone, new destination, seasonal.
Flights, pricing and booking considerations
Frequency of flight on carriers from destinations (determines volume)
Airline availability to airport lounges (Only for business or First class passengers? or available to other classes for frequent travellers or additional fee?)
Book a Flight
Fees and surcharges (Look at Schedule of fees)
Hold this price
Interactive Route Map
Interline and Codeshare Journeys
Conditions of carriage (Rights and conditons)
RSS Feed fare updates
- Codeshare – two or more airlines share the same flight number. A seat can be purchased by either carrier, but the flight will be operated by one airline.
Stop over – scheduled break between flights lasting longer than 24 hours
Layover – ticket to a final destination, which has an enforced or predetermined stop. This is to swap aircraft or refuel. Eg Sydney to New york via los angeles.
Open jaw ticket – fly into one destination and return to the original departure point from a different location
– Eg self drive holiday or one way cruise
Double dip fare– flight intinery allowing travellers to stop off at two destinations before returning to the orginal point of deoparture.
Multistop – Round the world or Multi stop fares – tailored flight itinerary allowing travellers to stop off and on multiple continents or destinations, all while flying in one direction around the globe and returning to their original departure point
Fifth freedom flights – Flights between two foreign locations by an airline carrier, outside their home base – thhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedoms_of_the_air#Fifth_freedom
– List of fifth freedom flights – https://www.flypointyend.com/5th-freedom-flights/
Mixed class fare – fly in different airline classes on different flights. Eg fly to asia in economy and then asia to Europe on Business class.
Can combine economy, business or first class fares.
International airpass – special fares by certain cariers or airline alliances in specific regions or countries. Allow flexibility to travel around a country, region or continent. This includes a set number of flights segments and set maximum timeframes
Fare price buckets
Seats in an aircraft are divided into buckets with a particular price and airfare rules attached. Once the lowest fare bucket is sold, the next price bucket is offered until flight is sold out.
Price increases if the seats don’t sell as fast, then they may add in a lower fare bucket or a sale fare. On the other hand, if there is high demand, the airline would add in higher fare buckets.
Hold My fare / Hold airfare price Functionality
Online airfare booking option which allows you to hold the sale, discounted or attractive booking fare option/s for 24 hours or more without proceeding to formal booking or payment for the moment. In a sense, this is like the raincheck facility you often find in retailers.
Currently offered by Emirates, Vueling and more.
International Short Haul
International Long Haul
Fees and Surcharges Fees and Surcharges
International Short Haul
International Long Haul
Fare Change rules and Overview
(e.g. how much to allow for)
After you have done all your shopping, you may face the prospect of having excess luggage. But how do you know how much luggage (weight and sizing) is allowed on your carrier for your class? Its best to pre-empt your spending habits as best as possible and when booking your return flights, if you are planning to buy a lot then you can pre book a higher scale of weight for your luggage (this is much cheaper than turning up at the airport and being slammed by inflated excess luggage prices). Taking the example of Thailand, I anticipated that I would be buying suits, clothing and other goods, so I pre booked on my flight the maximum allowance (in my case I flew Jetstar which allowed 40kg checked in – over two bags – and 10kg of carryon luggage).
Whilst you are packing for your return trip to your home country, always first check by calling the carrier, looking at your booking or on the carriers’ website the allowances. Then using your portable luggage scale (or hotel scales if you don’t have the portable one), you can ensure that when you turn up at the airport, there won’t be any nasty surprises. You don’t want to be that person who has to open their belongings in the terminal to transfer some of your checked in weight to your carryon – it’s not a good look and is very inconvenient.
If you do exceed your luggage allowance, you can always arrange parcels to be sent back home with an ‘excess luggage’ provider (see the links under ‘Luggage/Packing’). The price they charge can be quite hefty, but compared to the airline’s excess luggage, it’s definitely the better option.
More information on airline luggage allowances and general baggage guidelines can be found here:
- Baggage Allowance (Wikipedia – General Information) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baggage_allowance
- Flight Centre (Airline profiles and luggage restrictions – per airline) – http://www.flightcentre.com.au/airlines
- Flight centre (Baggage Guide) – http://www.flightcentre.com.au/flights/planning-your-flight/baggage-guide
- Seat Guru – Airline Guides to Luggage Allowances – http://www.seatguru.com/
Seat Plans (Limited destination coverage) – http://www.seatplans.com/
- Skyscanner – Airline Guides to Luggage Allowances – http://www.skyscanner.net/airline/
- Webjet – Airline baggage allowances – http://www.webjet.com/travel-toolbox/airline-baggage-allowances/
Also refer to the individual airline carriers’ website by searching ‘luggage’ or ‘checked in baggage’ for information on their Luggage and carry on guidelines.
Usually confirmation of the amount of luggage you have booked (whether the standard option or if you paid for extra tiered kilograms) and also permitted hand luggage are provided with e-ticket documentation after a booking is made with the airline.
Alternatively, you can google search the airline carriers’ name and a term along the lines of “baggage restrictions”.
Other luggage / baggage considerations
Baggage claim (Carousel pick up)
Casa – Australian aviation authority – Travelling safely with batteries – https://www.casa.gov.au/standard-page/travelling-safely-batteries
Delayed damaged and lost baggage
Unchecked (Including claims procedures and forms)
Oversized and Fragile Items
Travelling with Airline Partners
– not always checked through if made separate bookings. Need to enter the country, collect luggage and depart
Air travel considerations
Codeshare / interline agreements
– eg Air france – Melbourne to hong kong on Cathay Pacific then connecting to European carriers.
Fifth freedom flights
When it comes to the aviation world, fifth freedom is the right for an airline to fly between two foreign countries without entering its home country. In other words, if Airline 1 from Country X has permission to fly a route from Country Y to Country Z, that is considered a fifth freedom route.
Flight cancellation and delay
AT THE AIRPORT – Arrivals, Departures and Transit
Flight Centre – Checking in Guide (Including required check in times) – http://www.flightcentre.com.au/flights/planning-your-flight/checkin-guide
Wikivoyage – At the Airport – http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/At_the_airport
Missed, Cancelled and delayed flights
Airports can be a maze to navigate and a bundle of fun if you miss your flight – which is the worst moment a traveller could face in their plans. If you miss your flight, depending on where you are in the airport and the stage you are up to, the best place to start is your airline representatives/counters.
At the boarding gate this would be the counter by the side of the doors and also beforehand the check in desks (usually they have one desk designated for ad-hoc matters and queries). The airline will help you to arrange the next available flight, but this is where your travel insurance will come in handy as they will ask for payment of the new flight.
You can always claim back the coast of the flight upon your return home – sufficing that it meets the insurance payout conditions. With this in mind you may also face the prospect of spending hours or even overnight in or accommodated near the hotel for the next flight.
If your flight has been delayed or cancelled, then the airline (if a full service carrier) has the obligation to arrange the next flight for you and if required temporary accommodation until such time. If it’s a low-cost carrier, as terms of their carriage it usually means that you will have to pay for the next flight out of pocket. This is why it’s important to pick a low coast carrier with a record of reliability and low cancellations.
If your flight is cancelled, seek guidance from the check in staff, contact the airline’s ticketing phone number (applicable for the country you are in) or make contact with the ‘Airport services manager’ in the airport who represents the specific airline you have booked with.
More information on what to do when you have missed your flight, delays or cancellations can be found here: Cope with flight delays and cancellations (Wikihow) – http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-with-Flight-Delays-and-Cancellations.
Also describing the many myths and happenings at the airport are described in this great article: About air travel – Air myths – http://airtravel.about.com/od/travelindustrynews/a/airmyth.htm
Causes of Airline disruptions / delays
– Weather or Natural conditions: Volanic ash, Snow, Storm, Flood,
– Airport congestion
– Closed runway (Maintenance or safety concern)
– Airport technology faults (Ticketing or general operations)
– Security breaches (Includes terrorism)
– Airline suspension of flights (due to operational matters – includes safety or financial difficulties)
– Cancellation of airline routes
Passenger rights websites:
Airline Customer Advocate (Australia) – http://www.airlinecustomeradvocate.com.au/General/Default.aspx
Choice Australia – Flight delays and cancellations information – compensation schemes – https://www.choice.com.au/travel/on-holidays/airlines/articles/flight-delays-and-cancellations-compensation
EU – Europe Passenger rights – Air – http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm
USA Travel consumer rights – http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer
Twitter – Utilise twitter and the airline twitter accounts (Often specific assistance accounts separate than the main airline account) for help. They will reply and handle your query – http://www.twitter.com
Navigating the airport.
Not all airports are created equally and some may be a nightmare. Refer to the airport maps and guides here: https://lifettlens.com/airportairlines/ – to familiarise yourself with the airport you are travelling to. Some airports such as Zurich take 45 minutes from the check in to the boarding gate. If you don’t leave enough time then you could be caught short.
More information about common mistakes which can cause you to miss your flight can be found here: Huffington post -Common mistakes travelers make – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/smartertravel/common-mistakes-that-will_b_3307730.html
Departure Security procedures
Each guest is permitted to carry liquids, aerosols, and/or gels (with caps) in containers with a maximum capacity of 100ml each. All containers must fit comfortably inside a single one litre transparent resealable plastic bag, which must be completely sealed. This bag must be presented separately at the security screening point.
These restrictions apply to (but are not limited to) the following items:
o Beverages and food (in sauce/liquid form);
o Shampoo and soap;
o Perfume and deodorant;
o Cream, lotion and oil;
o Paste, including toothpaste;
o Lip balm, lip gloss and lip stick;
So you may have the fun of being stuck at the airport for an extended amount of time, but not to worry as many worldwide airports have an assortment of essential and luxurious features to keep the weary traveller refreshed. Think Singapore with their gardens and day spas and Hong Kong with their high tech terminal. To know what’s in store at your airport check out here for the links of the worldwide listing of each airport and facilities within each. Also gives the link to the actual airport page which is a wealth of information – such as maps and even important information such as construction works and changes. the links can be found on the ‘Airline / Airport Services page’
Within each airport it will list the facilities such as showers, toilets and transport available from each. In regards to staying fresh, if the airport offers showering facilities (even for a small fee) take it! Just make sure you have footwear (such as thong/flip flops) as the shower would have been frequented by many people prior. Handy tip if not available or for anywhere else in fact is to carry around handy wet wipes, so that you can keep yourself clean and fresh wherever you may be.
If you are game and if the airport is open 24hrs, you can try your luck at sleeping in the airport. Some airports have actual hotels within or adjoining where they charge per hour for your stay. If you fancy going DIY and sleeping on the seating in the airport or as they say ‘roughing it’, then the ’Sleeping in Airports’ website provides handy tips and ways to do this: http://www.sleepinginairports.net/tips.htm .
As a point of security, if you actually wish to sleep (especially if travelling solo) then airport hotels are the way to go, as if you are sleeping in airport seating you may wake up to find your belonging compromised or in many case stolen. Other than that, go for it.
– Various airlines may offer a ‘pay for use’ airport lounge access.
– Airport lounge access purchase
– Alternatively you can use 3rd party ‘pay for use of airport lounges’ services available online.
– Premium exclusive lounges – Invitation only – such as Qantas chairmans lounge – access via secret private entry door.
Lounge Buddy – http://www.loungebuddy.com/
Lounge pass (Pay for use lounge portal) – http://www.loungepass.com
Priority Pass (Pay for use lounge portal)- https://www.prioritypass.com/
Sleeping in Airports – Guide to airport lounges – http://www.sleepinginairports.net/airport-lounges/
World airport unique facilities:
- AIRPORT CHAPLAIN SERVICES IN WORLDWIDE AIRPORTS – IACAC.
Special Needs and Assistance Special Needs and Assistance
– Note: Flight specific health matters are outlined on the ‘General Travel health’ page.
Children Travelling Alone
Independent Travel Criteria
Meet and Assist
Travelling with a Service Dog
Vision and Hearing Impairments
Conditions of flight tickets to consider
– Luggage (if included in price and how many kgs)
– Fuel surcharge
– Ability to change or modify a flight
– Comfort kit
– New routes – Airline press releases and media centres
– Airline cabin upgrades / features
– Airline service inclusions
Cabin Classes – Includes Premium economy
Electronic Devices (Restrictions on use)
Note: Airline entertainment – download airline entertainment app on electronic device and utilise inflight wifi
– WiFi on plane
– Powerplugs on plane
Onboard Menu and Food
Seating – Layout, Seat pitch, Seat design)
Quiet Zone area (Selected airlines only)
Flat bed (Premium Economy) such as Skycouch (Air New Zealand)
Premium additions (such as)
– Flight flexi (Ability to change flights
– Express boarding
– Inflight meal
– Luggage allowance
– Express baggage (first out)
– Seat selection fee
– Premium counter / Express checkin
– Fast track immigration
Inflight safety videos:
ARRIVING BY PLANE
Wikivoyage – Arriving by Plane – http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Arriving_by_plane
Difference between changing from international to domestic flight (same flight or different flight)
Same flight number, but clearing customs at the pit stop destination
Passengers travelling to New York on QF11 will have already cleared immigration and customs formalities at Los Angeles International Airport on arrival in the United States. There are no further formalities to be completed on arrival in New York
In airline terminology, a direct flight is a flight under the same flight number, which may or may not be a non-stop flight – Qantas’ New York services are generally direct flights, but obviously for technical reasons they require a stop in LAX
CUSTOMS, IMMIGRATION AND BORDER SECURITY MATTERS
Arrival card (Landing card)
Passport – Electronic / enhanced security chips
Passport – Validity
– Many countries require travellers 6 months
USA Specific Customs and security checks
– Transport Security Administration (TSA) Pre-Check – Clearance from departing international airports.
– Visa Waiver program
– SSSS code – Subject to security and customs checks
ON THE AIRCRAFT
Wikivoyage – On the Plane – http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/On_the_plane
Airline Carrier Selection
The airline industry is very diverse and for the intrepid traveller offers choice from Low cost carriers to the full service carriers (and everything in between). When looking for an airline to travel with the most important aspect is the carriers history of safety.
Yes you may say that price is important but that is secondary to safety. Never compromise on cost for safety. This is common in Asia where lower cost airlines with a less than impressive safety record are offering discounted fares to lure foreigners. Do your homework as in many cases it could save your life.
To see the carriers to/from the region your plan to travel to see here: ‘Airline / Airport Services page’. On this page is links to official and non official websites which provide a wealth of information to choices on offer.
Airline route selection and options
If you are an economist, you would know that the theory of economies of scale mean that if an airport is frequented by many carriers and passengers, fares would be cheaper. Take the example of flying to Europe from Australia. If your destination is Madrid, but you find a flight to London for example at a much cheaper price – take it!
What often happens is that airline fares within each region are quite cheap and then you can travel from your landing airport to your intended destination via another train, bus or flight. In this case you would find a low-cost carrier from London to Madrid, which is heavily, frequented meaning very cheap.
In short – If you find a flight into a neighbouring country for significantly cheaper than your planned destination, consider taking that flight, then move around using one of the other budget airlines that fly between capital cities in the region.
The same principal doesn’t only apply for your destination, but also the choices of your departure city. In the case of Australia, in some instances it may be cheaper to travel to secondary destinations in Asia or the Middle east via low-cost airlines and connect with another carrier to the final destination. Low cost airlines offer cheap fares to airport hubs, such as Singapore and Bangkok for as little as $200 aud one way, where then carriers which don’t offer services to Australia will be available.
From there, destinations in Europe, America and even Africa are available, with many Asian carriers expanding their long haul services into new markets. Often these connections can be booked as one trip, utilising codeshare services from Australia. This can also provide a handy stop over for some shopping or sightseeing, in transit locations you may not have considered.
But as always, do your homework to ensure the cost savings are in comparison with the flight times. If the savings are only $200 aud and your flight itinerary is substantially longer, it is often wise to be balanced and not always selected the cheapest – instead find the best options evaluating both factors. The flight search service ‘Adioso’ utilises these factors in evaluating the best routing for your travels.
Stop over promotions
– Includes Country visa free entry (Certain hours)
– Holiday packages and hotel deals
– Day country tours
Notable stop over initiatives –
KLM – Airline stop over initiative – https://layoverwithalocal.klm.com/
Keeping healthy on the plane
Flying long distances can be a bit daunting, especially if you have been flying for over 20 hours or have had a short transit time. But there are ways to remain relatively fresh and balanced upon your arrival to your destination. Number one tip is to keep hydrated and take advantage of the water on offer during the flight.
This can be complemented by bringing a roll up drink bottle (Google ‘Vapur’ water bottles), which will meet customs and airline safety regulations – proper water bottles and vessels get confiscated at customs due to the liquids limit imposed on flights. Then after passing customs you can fill up your roll up water bottle at the many drinking fountains which the airport would have.
– Drink plenty of water (Avoid Alcohol and have tea/coffee in moderation)
– Wear glasses instead of contact lenses (As the cabin air can dry eyes easily)
– Wear more loose clothing (Avoid jeans and tight fitting clothing)
– Regularly move your legs, which encourage blood flow. (By walks down the aisle or leg actions in the seat) – Avoid sleeping for long periods in the same position
– Chewing actions and swallowing movements will help ease ear pressure during ascent and descent – light pain killers before the flight can ease any pain. (For children it is more common and a dummy with liquid pain relief can be beneficial)
More information on staying healthy when flying can be found here: Stay health when traveling by plane (Wikihow) – http://www.wikihow.com/Stay-Healthy-when-Traveling-by-Plane
- Wikipedia – First Class – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_class_(aviation)
- Wikipedia – Business Class – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_class
- Wikivoyage – First and Business Class Travel – http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/First_and_business_class_travel
- Wikipedia – Premium Economy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premium_economy
Common class systems:
Wikipeia – Economy
Unique class offerings:
Air New Zealand – Sky Couch –
Etihad – The residence (Private first class rooms)
Each different airline provides different classing systems and benefits for each class. Also different class names – often airlines cater the name linking in with it’s national culture and identity.
Benefits may include:
– Lounge Access
– Priority boarding
Mixed Class Airfares / Travel
– Travel leg options on Economy VS Premium travel on low cost and full service airlines.
For those wanting to indulge in the experience of Business (or similar levels of comfort airline class travel), many travel agents now offer ‘Mixed class airfares’ – and you can also DIY book your own mix of this type of travel. Mixed class airfares is where your flight itinerary comprises of multiple legs of travel, where part of the journey is travelled on Economy or low cost airlines and then other parts of the journey travelled on Business class or more full service carriers.
A common routing example of this can be travel from Australia to Europe. The first leg travelling in Economy on a full service or low cost carrier from Australia to Asia. Then the other legs on Business class on a full service carrier from Asia to Europe. Airlines often have cheaper prices on business class fares (the basis fare price – no matter the distance) from Asian destinations, could be due to lower demand or other market influences. Using this technique you can still enjoy Business class for the longest part of your journey and save some money at the same time.
Premium Class seats on Low cost carriers
Similarly like the ‘Mixed Class airfare’ options, you can still enjoy premium service when flying for a fraction of the cost by flying low cost carriers. Airlines such as Jetstar and Airasia within the Asia / Pacific region offer Business and other more premium seating classes. Whilst the business class service on Jetstar won’t be as extensive as the service offerings from full carrier airlines, they still offer the essential elements which define the Business class travel category, at a fraction of the cost.
Some airline also offer unique premium seating options, such as Airasia which offer ‘Quiet zone’ seating for travellers who want to guarantee peace and quiet. For extra costs on top of the basic economy fare, this seating area is separated from the rest of the plane and is strictly not available for children (such as babies). The expectation by locating your self in this section is to have all travellers being quiet, so best suits people wanting to sleep compared to those wanting to be actively awake on the plane.
Picking the best plane seat
Picking your ideal seat influences you’re flying experience greatly and your overall wellbeing. If you are an anxious traveller or afraid of heights, the window seat would not be an optimum location for instance. When you are booking your flight (DIY or with a travel agent) you can always request where you wish to be seated within the class you are paying for.
This can even be done prior to booking your flight, as long as you know your aircraft type and airline (as many airlines have different cabin configuration). Many airlines have on their website maps and layouts where you can inspect, but keep in mind your ideal spot may already be taken by another passenger. Some other useful websites where you can look these details and to decide your ideal spot are:
- Expert Flyer (Seat alerts for desired seating which was previously booked out, aircraft change alerts, Fare information, Flight status and more) – http://www.expertflyer.com/
- Seat Guru (Analysis of airline plane seating plans and best seats) – http://www.seatguru.com/
- Seat Maestro – http://www.seatmaestro.com/
- Skytrax – Best seat selection – http://www.airlinequality.com/Experience/SeatChoice.htm
One tip for avid photographers is to not be located direct above the wings of the plane. When flying you can discreetly capture great images of the landscape from above (in my case it was the Swiss alps), as long as you are situated in a window seat and on relatively clear from either side of the wings.
When you consider the price of a business class seat compared to economy class seating, along with the extra amenities and services, its clear why everyone is keen to land a seat upgrade. If you’re clever and savvy, so can you. Usually you will need to make your intentions known at the check in counter, where the airline representative can look at how many spare seats are available in the higher class and they can make a note where if seating is forthcoming to other passengers then you may get preference.
It also helps to be a solo traveller, as single seating is more easily to come by and also would help to dress smartly (definitely not tracksuits and sporting attire).
Information on how to land a seat upgrade can be found here:
- Flight Centre – How to score a flight upgrade – http://www.flightcentre.com.au/travel-news/travel-tips/how-to-score-a-flight-upgrade/
- News.com.au – How to get a flight upgrade – http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/how-to-get-a-flight-upgrade/story-e6frfqfr-1226680489867
Airline safety procedures / Emergencies
It may sound clique, but flight safety is a matter to be taken seriously when travelling. You can view the in-flight safety guides which include safety vest use, evacuation procedures and also DVT health within the seat pocket card and also within the in-flight magazine (if the airline has one). This can also be found on the airlines website. You may be tempted to tune out when the air hostesses do their safety drill, but you may never know when this information may come in use. For more air travel tips refer to the Australian government’s website, which has great tips and important information: Smart Traveller – Australian Government – Air Travel advice – http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/air-travel.html
Also: Airsafe (Safety and security) – http://www.airsafe.com/
Sleeping on the plane
Ask any traveller what they want most on a long haul flight and i’m sure you would find it would be along the lines of comfort and a good sleep. Think after a 15 hour flight and with all the changes in time zones, your body will be a total mess if you don’t take care. The key is to having comfort clothing – in my case I have lounge pants (silky type) with a loose-fitting long sleeve top and the accessories such as inflatable cushions, ear plugs etc.
Even a long black cashmere scarf, acts as a second blanket. All these items I put in a sub travel bag within the carry-on luggage, easily accessible on board. What you can do is before boarding within the airport change into what i call ‘plane attire’ or if you want to remain smartly presentable boarding, then you can change in the cabin toilets after liftoff. Try to avoid jeans and other constrictive clothing (unless you find it comfortable) as it will simply make you fidget and make you overheat.
There are many other in-flight tips which are great to use which can be found here:
- Independent Traveler – Sleeping on planes – http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/travelers-ed/sleeping-on-planes
- Lifehacker – Five tactics for getting sleep on long distance flights – http://lifehacker.com/5565403/five-tactics-for-getting-sleep-on-long+distance-flights
- Wikihow – Sleep on a plane – http://www.wikihow.com/Sleep-on-a-Plane
Especially good is the point about adjusting to the time differences from the departure location to the destination. Travelling westwards (backwards in time – think Australia to Europe) is not much of a drama compared to traveller eastwards (forwards in time – think Europe to Australia).
From experience, eastwards travel can leave you waking up in the early hours of the night and put your body clock and sleeping pattern into disarray. My tip is to allow at least two to three full days after you return home to settle back in. Or before heading home, modify your sleeping pattern to make it reasonably approximate to the timeframes back at home.
Links last checked : / /2015
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