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Is Getting The Cheapest Air Fares Everything To A Traveller?

Aug 17, 2007
We have seen all the cheap air fares advertisements from the airlines and travel agencies, touting their cheapest air fares around the world. But is getting the very cheapest of air fares everything?

Well, despite the glorious-sounding name, as a smart traveller, you should be contented with getting those cheap air fares within the confines and limits of your own requirement.

This obviously does not mean that you should not be searching for the cheapest air fares but rather one that fits your own limitations in terms of time, convenience, comfort, etc.

In other words, once you are fairly satisfied with a cheap air fare ticket (sourced through smart strategies), it's best to book and pay for the ticket immediately.

It's probably not worth spending days and days to try to look for that elusive cheapest air fare ticket. In other words, there is no thrill in such chase for the cheapest air fares (if there is one) in the market.

Why so?

A cheapest air fare ticket is perhaps misleading, as there are no such tickets per se.

There are so many permutations to getting an airfare ticket from one destination to another (in terms of route, seating, airlines, flying time, etc) especially on international flights that no travel agency nor any airline could actually guarantee that you are getting the cheapest airfares to the destination.

Coupled this with the limitations of computerised reservation systems (CRS) used currently by the airline industry and also the lack of complete access to all their options even by the best travel agents, the cheapest airfares that you think you are getting probably means the cheapest fares within what the airlines or travel agencies would like to offer you.

Remember that travel agencies do have to pay per-inquiry fees for access to airlines' CRS and are likely to limit your airfare options as it would be too costly for them to explore all the thousands of air fare options available, cheap or not.

As such, within the cost and time limitation, getting the cheapest air fares would probably mean getting the best air fares that fits your travelling requirement and preference.

Even then, travellers should still strive to get these best air fares, as it would still be probably 40%-60% cheaper than the published cheap air fares of airlines on most international routes.

It's just that one should not worry to death whether they are really getting the best or cheapest airfare available. In fact, you should only seek the cheapest available airfare that you could possibly get and get on with it.

What could possibly be the cheapest airfares to you within your own requirements? Here are some factors that you may want to consider when you decide on the those cheap airfare tickets that you come across:

a) Travel schedule

These include your travel dates and time. For example, you are not likely to get cheap airfares during the peak season or peak time of the day but some travellers are willing to fly in earlier and endure the wait and accommodation cost if they can get away with getting a 50% discount of their airfares.

The same goes for the time of departure and arrival. If you could endure a night flight, by all means do it as cheap air fares are typically for night time flying to most destinations, all things equal.

b) Travel speed and convenience

Make sure your travel agents give you the options on the travel route especially on whether it will be a non-stop flight or otherwise when you ask for the air fare prices. If you could endure changing planes and taking a longer route and the time sacrifice that goes with them, you are likely to get much cheaper air fares.

c) Type of travellers

Don't assume that your travel agent knows the purpose of the trip. If you are travelling for leisure, there are much more options available to get cheap air fares as you are likely able to stretch your limitations above such as time and convenience than a typical business traveller would.

d) Preference for airlines/airports

Some travellers would not mind the type of airlines quality they get but most would. However, note that some of the cheapest airfares are offered by foreign airlines or the national airlines of less-developed countries.

Most of these airlines actually have the same level of comfort minus the pricing but the very worst of them may not. Its best not to go for the very cheapest airlines if you have any doubt on security or quality.

Many large cities worldwide especially in the US and Europe are served by more than one airport.

These cities typically already have a network of established public transport infrastructure such as bus, train or cab and it may be cheaper to fly in to a less congested but further away airport and take the local transportation to get to your destination. Your air fare ticket prices to these less congested airports are likely to be much lower.

Your time and inconvenience could be compensated by the lower air fares you could get.

The above are some of the major factors that you could possibly encounter as you decide on the best air fares that you could get to your destination.

Always research all your available options to get the cheapest air fares that fits in only with your travel preference.

Whether that is the cheapest air fare you could possibly get to your destination is not so relevant In fact, given the difference in travellers' preference and all the constraints mentioned earlier in this article, nobody is likely to find such cheapest airfares so don't be deceived by such advertisements.

But at the very least, you now know what to ask your travel agent for that cheap fares option and the sacrifices you have to make on it.
About the Author
Steven Liew
Travel Research
Cheap Air Travel Club (CATC)

#The CATC club is comprised of like-minded free and fun travellers who just love to save on airfares and holiday bills. For more free tips and strategies on cheap air fares, just join us at http://www.cheapairtravelclub.com
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