Airline Travel Tools

AirplaneIt’s that time of the year again for us to buy tickets for our trip back home to visit Manila. Its especially stressful because there is so much variation on what you would pay and what service you would get based on the time and the method you use in booking your tickets. So its especially important to reasearch so you can get the best deals possible.

I’ve been using these websites to help me decide on what to do when booking flights:

This is the best place to get advice and figure out what’s going on with your preferred airline or with the industry in particular. People post their experiences booking, flying, dealing with agents, etc. so it really helps for you to make that informed decision. The main part of the forum is divided into the different airlines so you can just pick which one you are a frequent flier of and let that be your starting point.

The forums will also allow you to be up-to-date on the different deals and promotions going around. Most airline deals require registration prior to booking the flight, so if you did not know about the promotions, you can potentially miss out on savings or perks.

This is a paid site so the usefulness and the value is dependent really on your flying needs. This site lets you search information on the availability of seats, awards, fares, etc. This is especially useful if you are trying to get that hard to find award seat on an airline. One of its best functions is the ability to create alerts based on what you are looking for. If a seat or an award opens up, Expertflyer can send you an email so you can act quickly.

Expertflyer was useful to us this time around because we were trying to use some certificates to upgrade our class of service on our flight home. We needed a certain fare class to open up which will allow us to use the upgrade certificate on a particular flight. After receiving the alert, we immediately booked the ticket and used the certificates.

There are a lot of travel search engine sites out there but Kayak is the most reliable and the easiest to use. There are a lot of sorting functions which you can use when searching for a flight that makes it easy to pick an airline or a destination. It even allows you to search alternative airports close to your location or destination which might have cheaper airfare.

Safe travels!