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Australia: how to fly for less

07 February 2016 by News Desk

travel_sunset1If you’re planning to travel to Australia here’s a few practical tips to help you get a better deal and a more comfortable flight.

Many airlines release seats and take flight bookings up to eleven months before scheduled flight time and cheapest seats are first to go. Book your flight well in advance to save a lot of money.

To keep track of lowest available ticket prices, try ITA Matrix Airfare Search. Add your route and last-possible dates for your outward and return flights. Then check the ‘see calendar of lowest fares’ box and you will get details showing the cheapest fares available every day within your time frame.

If you’re willing to be flexible you can often get a cheaper flight. Midweek flights in the middle of the day are often the cheapest. Use a flight search engine like Momondo that will give you day-by-day prices – or Kayak, that will send you an alert if the ticket price changes.

You don’t have to pay for your ticket all at once. Once you’ve chosen a flight, you can fix the price of your ticket, pay a deposit and pay the remaining balance later.

With STA Travel’s Airfare Deposit Program, you can pay a non-refundable deposit of $300 then pay the balance seven days before your flight. Qantas offers a Book Now, Pay Later service where you pay a $25 deposit to secure your seat, but this does not apply to all seats on all flights, and the final price may change if there is an increase in taxes, fees or Qantas’ charges.

If you’re seeking a more comfortable flight, Singapore Airlines’ economy class preferred seats have extra leg-room and the airline offers some of the cheapest exit row seats available. The airline charges $55 for a preferred seat on a Singapore to Australia flight, while another $20 or so will get you the same on a flight from Singapore to Europe.

If you’re looking for an Upgrade, Optiontown sells unsold business class seats aboard Air Asia and several other international carriers at a huge discount. Upgrades are more successful when booked individually rather than as a group or family. Be aware that you’ll often have to wait until you’re in the queue at the check-in desk to receive confirmation of an upgrade, which is usually dependant on the number of empty seats available.

If you’re flying long-haul it can often be cheaper to break your journey rather than buy a single ticket on a single flight to your chosen destination. Downside is you’ll often have to pass through different customs and immigration, collect your bags from one flight and check in on another. So remember to give yourself plenty of time between connecting flights.

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