Archive for April 16, 2012

Secrets That Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About

Last week we wrote a post on how to save money on international travel. To continue on the topic, we want to share some secrets that airline companies don’t want you know. You can use them to get a better seat, a free meal, free upgrade, etc.

Waive Penalty Fees
It is very common you need to change your airline tickets. When something comes up – your kid may get sick and your mom may come to visit, you have to call your airline company to reschedule your flights. You will be hit with the penalty fees, often well over $100 per ticket – AA charges $150 per ticket! There is something you probably don’t know: the penalty fee is negotiable! The agent may deny it, – you have to make up a good story and ask for it nicely. If rejected, ask to speak to the supervisor. You should at least get the fees partially waived.

Don’t Settle for The First Bump Offer
When the airline is overbooked, the gate agents will offer a nice coupon for the future flight if you agree to take another flight. But don’t accept the first offer. Last Christmas, when I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to New York City, the speaker anounced that 5 volunteers needed to take the next flight. The first offer is $200 coupon for each passenger, the second attempt is $400, the third time is $600, while the one way ticket was only sold at about $500. Someone actually made some money from it! Don’t forget to ask for a free meal while you are waiting if you have been bumped from a flight.

Best Time To Get Last Minute Airfares
The price of non-seasonal airfares remains relative constant up to about 21 days before the flight takes off. Then it start to change constantly with time, but usually hits highest around 2 weeks before the flight is set to take off. Then it starts to drop, and hits the lowest 48 hours to 72 hours before the flight takes off. That is when you should start to look for the last minute deals!

Upgrade Your Seats For Free
It is nealy impossible to cash in your frequent flier miles or buy tickets. But you can use them to upgrade your coach seats to business or first class at no extra cost. You can do that at the gate, but it is better to call the airline a few hours before the flight takes off.

Get a Better Seat
Please don’t let anyone know that I told you this trick. You can “accidently” spill something onto your seat and complain it to air hostess. As long as there is another open seat available, you will be moved, or even moved to a business class. Please make sure there is another seat available before you do so, otherwise you have sit on your own wet seat!