Flying is the most preferred mode of transportation for most long distance travelers. Flying however comes at a price. It is therefore important that those who wish to fly look for the most affordable tickets on the market. Below are some tips on how to book cheap flights.
- Get a Kulula credit card if you spend less than R30,000 a month, a Nedbank American Express card and join the Greenbacks program if you spend from R30,000 to R50,000 a month on your card.There is also a Diners Club card linked to the SAA/British Airways frequent flyer program and a SBSA card linked to the British Airways Executive Club.
- Where airlines have frequent flyer programmes sign up for them. Use your SAA Voyager miles to discount Mango flights on the cheap routes and to discount South African airways on the expensive routes.
- Subscribe to the SouthAfrica. To mailing list which will alert you to flight specials and to give you a feel for prices.
- When booking domestic flights,book your outbound and return flight separately, looking for the best deal on each individually (an exception may be where an airline offers a special which is contingent on you booking a return flight as well, which Mango Airlines used to do). When booking your international flight, book your outbound and return tickets together with the same airline (it almost always works out more expensive to book the legs separately on international flights).
-Keep track of the petrol price or the rand price of oil. Depending on airlines’ pricing power, these will filter through into prices. So if there’s been sharp falls in Rand oil prices in the last week, you may want to delay your purchase a bit, but if there’s been a sharp increase in the Rand price of oil you may want to accelerate the purchase of your ticket.
-If possible be flexible with your leaving and return dates. For domestic flights Saturday afternoon travel is generally cheaper. For international flights leaving South Africa on Sundays to Thursdays and returning Tuesday to Thursday is generally cheaper. Avoid booking on Fridays, Sunday Evenings, on the days before public holidays, and before the start or at the end of school holidays.
-When needing to change a booking check what the costs are of doing it on the internet versus doing it telephonically. It’s usually cheaper to make changes on the internet.
-Use the pay later option as a “hedge-bet”. It gives you 24-48 hours to look for a better rate and eliminates post purchase dissonance if an airline decides to run a special.