Most Common Mistakes While Booking a Flight
The first thing that most of us do while planning a holiday or even a business trip is to book our flight tickets. This usually comes even before we make hotel reservations and book tour packages. Sometimes, confirmed flight tickets are mandatory for visa applications. Booking flight tickets is easier with so many booking portals. Still, people make several

common mistakes while booking a flight ticket

. This happens even with those who are frequent travelers. These mistakes can cause you to lose money. Hence, it is important to avoid them. Here are some of the most common mistakes that you may be making while booking flight tickets, even without realizing.

1. Not clearing your cookies

A mistake as miniscule as this may cost you quite a few bucks. We all know that most websites use cookies to know your style of surfing the net, i.e., your choices, preferences etc. These cookies track your buying habits, and many companies use this to show you high fares. Many travel experts are of the opinion that airlines are nowadays using cookies to show potentially high airfare to prospective buyers, especially on routes that are searched more often.

2. Not checking out the alternate airports


We are so used to the known information that when it comes to booking flights, we hardly checkout options. For many of the important airports, there exist a few alternate airports that allow you to save quite a few bucks on your ticket prices and won’t make much of a difference on the overall journey. For e.g., a reasonable alternative option for the Los Angeles airport could be San – Diego, which is hardly a 1.5 hour’s drive from LA. Similarly, for your Dubai tours, you can opt for Sharjah airport instead of Dubai which is just 34 km away from the entertainment hub.

3. Not checking out the multiple websites before booking

Do you still book from the airline’s personal website? If yes, you really need to browse and see how much the world has changed around you. There are just too many comparison websites that employ advanced search algorithms as well as flight times and combinations that can results are lower flight prices and better experiences, most of the time.

4. Not taking the in-flight experience into consideration


In most cases, while booking there are some flight fares that can be very close. Instead of blindly choosing the least, checkout which airline offers a better in- flight experience. These include the leg room, improved meal service, a good seat layout and timing as well. These criteria may not seem important at the time of booking but sure make a difference during the flight.

5. Not avoiding the busy days and timings

For most airlines, Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays are busy days, and fares are usually higher than other days. However, there are a few places where the busy days differ. For e.g., many Middle Eastern countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc., observe Sunday as a weekday and Friday and Saturday as weekends. Hence, the cheap days for Dubai flights are Tuesdays and Wednesdays mostly. However, this is not a rule. It’s more like a trial-and-error game. But the important part is to keep a tab on the higher fare days, especially if you are a frequent flyer.

The other aspect that most flyers tend to ignore is the time of booking the flight. Flight fares are generally cheaper when booked at night rather than in the day.

6. Not taking into account the ‘hidden extra costs’

There’s a tendency to get carried away with the ‘last few seats left’ and ‘hurry limited time pricing’ tags by the airlines (which many times are just a marketing strategy). In this, we forget to pay attention to the extra costs that these low-cost airlines levy. These extra costs include luggage and excessive transfer fees, and the charges can actually negate your happiness of booking a cheap flight. In many flights, the extra luggage rates are also high which makes you more vulnerable for extra luggage charges.

7. Not carefully differentiating between direct and non-stop flights

Yes, they both are similar sounding terms but there’s a difference which can make your travel unpleasant. If you are taking a non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Newark, it will start from LA and stop directly at Newark, whereas if you have a direct flight ticket, the flight may halt at stops like Chicago or Denver to drop off and pick up passengers. You would not be required to get off the plane, but the journey will have stops along the way. The direct flights are usually cheaper than the non-stop flights as they charge the convenience of no stops in between and considerably less amount of time taken for travel.

8. Not being flexible with our choices

If you do not find a nonstop flight to your destination, you either opt for a late night flight that disrupts the whole schedule or book the flight with transfer, which will take additional time. But if you look carefully, you will find other options as well, provided you are flexible enough to try them. For example, you can opt for an alternate airport if nonstop flight is what you really want. Also, when you have your itinerary planned well ahead, it is better to book your tickets in advance when the prices are lower. This can be beneficial, especially if the day you want to travel is a busy day. Sometimes, when the difference is too much, it is ok to let go of your favorite airline and try other carriers too.

9. Paying Using Digital Wallets or Net Banking

Most of us find it easy to pay for our flight tickets using net banking or digital wallets. While this is a safe method, you are likely to get discounts and deals if you use credit cards and debit cards to make your payment. Most credit cards and debit cards are tied up with airlines and even booking portals. When you use a particular credit card or debit card through a specific airline or booking website, you may get special deals or discounts. You can also use these cards for accessing the lounge at a minimum rate. So, next time you want to book a flight ticket, check out if the website offers special offers for credit/debit card holders of your bank.

10. Not Booking Tickets Early


If you are sure about your travel plans, it is important to book your tickets months ahead. Many people delay booking flight tickets for some or other reason. Some feel that they might get good last-minute deals and save some money. But this is rare. In most cases, you will have to pay an extra load of money to get your tickets. It is best to book your tickets as early as possible to avoid this. You must book your tickets months in advance, i.e., as soon as you have finalized your travel plans. This is especially necessary if you are traveling during peak holiday season.

11. Not Checking Your Passport Expiration Date

Planning an international holiday is exciting. But some may forget to check their passport expiration date in the excitement. Most international destinations require the visitor’s passport to have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of returning from the country. If you book your flight tickets and later realize that your passport does not have enough validity, you may have to cancel or postpone your tickets, causing you to lose money. Hence, always check the validity of your passport before booking your tickets.

12. Not Checking In-Flight Experiences

In the haste of booking your flight ticket at a lower price, you may not focus on the in-flight details or experiences. Imagine, you have a 6-hour flight where the seats are uncomfortable, there is minimum leg space, and there is no in-flight entertainment system. Your journey is likely to become unpleasant and boring. Hence, check the in-flight details and some customer reviews so that you book the right flight for your journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it best to book flight tickets through the airline?

Airlines do offer special deals and discounts on flight tickets from time to time. But it is best to check booking portals before deciding. Compare the prices on multiple websites. It is possible that you will find a better rate on a flight booking website.

2. What is the ideal time to book a flight ticket?

You must book as early as possible to get the best deals. You must book at least 1-3 months before for a domestic flight and 4-8 months before for an international flight.

Frequent flyers know what it is like to live life out of a suitcase. At least by ensuring that flight booking is done in an intelligent way, you don’t have to get frustrated because of the known circumstances. When you know flying is an unavoidable part of the business or leisure, why not make it as comfortable as you can.

Aanchal is a writer by profession and an avid foodie. She loves travelling, exploring and adding cherished experiences to the book of life.

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