Guide to Booking A Flight Online
* Bear in mind that flexibility is key to landing a bargain
* Avoid peak travel times in order to avoid over-the-top fares
Things to look out for
* Always know your consumer rights in case of a flight being cancelled
Dates of Travel
Before you set about booking net flights, you should have a rough idea of when you want to travel. Of course, it may be that your dates are inflexible; if this is the case, then it won't be possible to be flexible in order to land a bargain.
However, if you don't have to travel on a specific day there are some simple tricks you can use to get a good deal. Try avoid booking a journey at peak times of the year, such as around Christmas, Easter and the school holidays, as heavy demand tends to push prices up. Additionally, bear in mind mid-week or early morning flights may well be cheaper than those departing at a more-convenient time.
Additionally, according to the Times, it pays to compare flights online at quiet times, with ticket prices often at a premium when a large number of people are itching to get away, for example on Monday lunchtimes or just after the long Christmas break.
Be Flexible with Destinations
As well as being flexible with your travel dates, also consider being open about your destinations. Make use of the internet to determine how cost-effective it is to fly from your nearest airport, or if it would make more financial sense to drive a bit and then depart from a less-popular regional air hub.
Similarly, some low-cost airlines travel into small, regional airports that serve larger cities. So, make use of flight comparison sites to see if a bargain flight to a place you may never have heard of is in fact a cheap gateway to a popular travel destination.
Make Use of Comparison Sites
There are a whole host of websites offering travellers the chance to book flights online and to enjoy a host of other best travel deals. While e they tend to offer similar fares, where they can differ is showing you which airlines fly where and making you aware of special offers. Try and see which sites have the best reputation among professionals working in the travel industry, and ask friends and family for recommendations.
Also, try and make comparison sites do the work for you. Sign up to their e-newsletters and for news of special offers, though never rely on just one site to get you the best price; as with online commerce as a whole, it pays to shop around.
Possible Downsides to Booking a Flight Online
Tough some people may still be wary of booking travel over the internet, for the most part, the typical consumer is all too aware of the benefits to be gained from booking a flight online. That said, some travellers may still feel relatively insecure turning up at the airport without a paper ticket with an established airline's name on it, though this shouldn't be the case if you have done your research and booked through a reputable website. However, in the case of complaints or cancellation, you may have to address the airline itself rather than the price comparison site or booking agent.
Know Your Rights
As such, it pays to know your rights, both as a consumer and as a passenger, before you set about booking a flight online. Make sure you have travel insurance and if you do that it covers flights made over the internet. Also, read up on your rights in the case of being bumped or should you wish to alter a booking.
Learn more about your rights as a passenger either by reading our article on the subject or by visiting the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), while details of the Denied Boarding Regulation can be found on the European Union's website.