BAGGING yourself a cut-price flight to France can be a bit of a challenge.
When you have to pick between supposed free tickets, where you pay just taxes and charges, or special deals that can only be booked during a certain period, the risk of making a mistake is high.
But the people behind WhichBudget.com have come up with some useful advice and offer some valuable tips to ensure you bag a bargain.
Firstly if you know where you want to go, but can’t be flexible on dates, then book one to three months in advance on a low-cost airline.
If you are flexible, either wait until an airline offers a special deal, for example, Ryanair's 1p plus taxes tickets, or check charter airlines for a last-minute departure.
Midweek flights are generally cheaper than those at the weekend. Also bear in mind the time of day that you fly.
If you are willing to get out of bed before dawn, travel around midday or happy to arrive at your destination late at night, then there is a good chance the price will be considerably lower, though remember transportation to or from the airport can be more expensive, or non-existent, at these times.
Once you have found a bargain, book it. Even if you change your mind later, it may be just a few pounds you loose. Of course, you can always change the dates later, but be aware that rebooking can cost around £30 in admin fees, plus the difference in price of your newly chosen flight.
Booking online costs less than booking over the phone. Most of the airlines have call centres, however by booking online not only will you avoid the call centre wait times, but will save an average of £5 per return ticket.
Keep your eyes open for extra fees and charges especially when paying with a credit card as users face supplementary charges of up to £4 per transaction. Regular debit cards are often a cheaper option.
One of the biggest risks when using a budget airline is if you book connecting flights, as most operate only point-to-point.
This means that they offer no transfer of luggage from one flight to another, so for every leg of your journey you must go through the whole check-in process again. There are a few exceptions to this, namely the German budget airlines such as Air Berlin, Condor and DBA, which use German airports as hubs.
For safety’s sake leave two to three hours between connecting flights, to cover any delays and checking in.
If delays occur and you miss check-in for your connecting flight it will be seen as entirely your responsibility, even if you are carrying on with the same airline. For this reason, it’s advisable to get yourself proper travel insurance.
What tips would you pass on to others to get a good deal on a flight to France? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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