Hidden secrets of flight booking

A lot of us are familiar with online travel booking or booking through travel agents. However, in this article I would like to explain some hidden secrets of air travel booking which can help you plan your holiday as well as save some money

First let us start with flight booking. Booking one way flight or return for domestic sector is easy. But there are some tricks you can apply for international travel which will help you save money. Lets say you are planning a holiday to Europe and you want to start from Paris and end at Rome covering Zurich and Geneva on the way. You could choose the multi city option in flight and select “departure from” as Paris and “departure to” as Rome. Select “All airports” for both cities since you may not know which airport has the cheapest fare. The thumb rule is if you select the same airline or partner airlines for onward and return, you will get the benefit of price. This may not be always true. There are some options you could check as below:

  • Option 1: Try “destination from” as Rome and “destination to” as Paris if you are flexible
  • Option 2: Try one way from Mumbai to Paris and one way from Rome to Mumbai as two separate flights
  • Option 3: Try “destination from” as Zurich and “destination to” as Geneva. In this case, your routing would be Zurich -> Paris -> Rome -> Geneva. While this may look like a longer route, it may be cheaper. This option also has the benefit of you taking an overnight train from Paris to Rome and save on hotel cost.
  • Option 4: Try “destination from” as Zurich and “destination to” as Zurich. In this case, your routing would be Zurich -> Paris -> Geneva -> Rome -> Zurich
  • Option 5: I will explain this with the below example

When I went to Helsinki in November 2019 from Mumbai, the cheapest round trip fare was coming to 900 USD (or INR 65000) on Finnair for 1 stop flight. There was an event in Helsinki and hence all flights were expensive. Since I was visiting only one city, I tried option 2 mentioned above. Still the cheapest option available was for 800 USD (or approx INR 58000).

I tried one more option. The onward flight from Mumbai to Helsinki was cheapest via Istanbul for USD 300 (approx. INR 23000) on Turkish airlines. Then I checked one way flight from Helsinki to Dubai (since Dubai was closer to India). There was one more reason to select Dubai. Dubai is a popular airport and has many flights operating from Dubai to India. When there are many flights, you will most likely get a good deal. The Helsinki to Dubai flight was just USD 100 (approx INR 7500) and then I checked a separate flight from Dubai to Mumbai which was just USD 80 (approx INR 6000). This is because there are 5 flights from Dubai to Mumbai and hence airfares are generally reasonable. Now my total came to USD 300 + 100 + 80 = USD 480. But there is a catch here. Since I am taking 2 different flights, I need a visa for Dubai. This I knew was around USD 80 (approx INR 6000) and I knew it would take just 2 days to get the visa without visiting the embassy. So now my total came to USD 480 + 80 = USD 560. This was a saving of approx 40%. Since, I was travelling alone, I was ok with this option.

The options mentioned above are taking into consideration how airlines price their fares. What option works for you will be an individual’s choice. Hope the above article was useful and you end up saving money on your next trip.

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