The demand for tickets is off the charts, and as a result so are the prices. A connecting roundtrip flight between Mumbai and Bali is as high as Rs89,000, whereas a nonstop one from Delhi to New York is Rs1,00,000. But if you still wish to travel this summer, there are ways to get around and avoid burning a hole in your pocket. We spoke to travel agents for their top tips and tricks on getting a good bargain on flights this summer:
Check for one-way tickets
Even if you have a return date in mind, check for two one-way tickets instead of a round-trip ticket, suggests Pratim Akash of Elite Tours. Especially when it comes to Europe. “We’ve managed to book tickets for Rs20,000 cheaper. The algorithm tends to pull tickets that are more expensive when you select round-trip tickets, so it’s better to hunt for the right combination yourself,” he says.
Don’t book tickets on weekends
Of course, you have plenty of time on your hands to buy tickets on the weekend. But it could be harsh on your wallet. Due to a surge in demand, flight tickets tend to skyrocket over the weekends, and your chances of finding a good deal are quite low. Look for deals midweek to score cheap tickets. “While you may find great deals on the Internet, you could also find a good offline deal with your travel agent, especially with airlines like British Airways and Singapore Airlines,” says Akash of Elite Tours.
Watch out for deals against your credit card
Choose your website and date of purchase for your tickets depending on the credit card you hold. On every Monday, Cleartrip offers upto Rs7,500 off on flights if your hold an HDFC credit card. MakeMyTrip offers discounts on domestic flights against an ICICI credit card. Every Saturday, GoIbibo offers a flat 12% discount on domestic flights.
If your travel plans are flexible, use Skyscanner
If you are yet to choose a destination, and your calendar is pretty much open, check out Sky Scanner’s ‘cheap flights from everywhere to anywhere’ feature. The search engine helps you find the cheapest flights from your current destination during a time frame chosen by you. When we searched on Monday afternoon, a flight ticket from Mumbai to Dubai on 16 July was Rs15,800 and a direct ticket from Mumbai to Bangkok on 27 July was Rs16,000. Skyscanner could also be helpful to find the best and most economical places to explore in Europe from your base country.
Don’t plug in a specific date and compare on multiple websites
Booking engines like Skyscanner, Kayak and Hopper allow you to compare rates over several days or even a month to find the cheapest travel date and airline.
Now may be the time to encash your Air Miles
Since ticket prices are extremely high, now might be a good time to encash your miles. Booking tickets with miles also allows you great flexibility on tickets. “Most tickets bought with your miles can be postponed at a nominal fee of Rs2000-Rs3,000,” says Nihal Daswani of visa consultancy company EASA.
Research the local airline’s flying dates
Several international airlines fly between India and the country twice or thrice a week. For instance, VietJet’s newly inaugurated flight from Mumbai to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh operates four times a week. If you miss entering the correct date, you might be redirected to another airline that is expensive and offers only connecting flights.
Book flights for a single person
Even if you’re travelling in a group, travel agents suggest booking one ticket at a time. Prices for a single ticket could be way lower than the amount for multiple tickets. This is because there might be only a few tickets available at a low price on a particular flight.
Lastly, not all cheap tickets are good
Some connecting flights could require you to self-transfer your baggage and recheck in at your place of transit. Remember to read the fine print when booking your tickets.
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