Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Booking Your Flight

Finding a flight: Booking a flight is the most crucial part of your trip. If you can’t get there, how are you going to have any fun?

You can do this in one of two ways: through a travel agency or on your own. If you decide on the latter, read on.

• If possible, avoid traveling on “peak days” which tend to be more crowded and more expensive due to demand. Instead, opt for the lesser traveled days like Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

• More connections equal a lower price. If you don’t mind, it can save you a couple of hundred dollars.

• Check travel comparison sites like Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com, Yahoo! Travel, and Hotwire.com which can check several airlines at once for the lowest fare.

• Note that most airfare is non-refundable unless clearly mentioned (more expensive tickets usually have flexibility).

Once you have decided on a flight, most airlines will let you select a seat. Most airlines have three seats in each section so your options are an aisle, middle, or a window seat. Aisles and windows both have their advantages and disadvantages: window seats can get cold due to the location but allow for one to sleep against the plane’s window pane if desired; aisles have easy in and out access but then you have to deal with the beverage carts coming down the aisle. There are also some other seats which are not as well known:

Exit-row seats
: Located on all aircrafts, these rows have additional space in between the seat in from of them due to their purpose as an escape route. This creates a great amount of leg room for taller girls! Please note, that you must be 16 years of age or older to sit here per FAA regulations.

Bulk-head seats
: These seats are the ones that have a wall in front of them versus another row of seats. The advantage to this is that you can be confident that no one will recline their seat as you are enjoying your meal and you have a little more room for your feet. The downside is that all your carry-ons must be stowed in the overhead compartment during take-off and landing per FAA regulations. You are usually able to hold a small purse or bag in your lap.

Business and First Class
: If you have the extra money, Business and First Class can be a great addition to your trip. With amenities such as lounge access at the airport, seats that recline to a bed, and complete five-course meal service, you will hardily notice a ten hour flight! Check the airline’s website for information on specific features.

Premium Economy
: A relatively new development, premium economy can be an economical way to travel in style. Typically, you will enjoy premium check-in and boarding and have a seat that is a little larger and roomier than that of coach. If you have the extra money, it can make getting there a little more enjoyable.

In the very back rows
: For most travelers, the back of the plane is the least desirable location. It can be noisy because you’re right on top of the jets, you’re first on when boarding, but last off once you arrive. You’re also near the gallery where the flight crew prepares your meals. For the savvy traveler, it’s the next best thing, if you play your cards right, to First Class!

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