No Free Flights

How often do you see a cruise or tour advertised as ‘Fly Free’?

That’s Bulldust! . . . It should really say just say ‘Flights included’

Stay Longer

If we are travelling long haul we would much rather stop longer than the packaged length of the holiday.

If you arrive the day before the tour starts you are probably in a trance for the first day.

If your luggage gets delayed will it ever catch up?

Going to Europe we typically want to visit friends and relatives in Britain before the tour starts.

We may also want to use our frequent flyer points to book business class travel.

Our Experience

We generally find that as soon as we ask for the package without the ‘Free Flights we get a significant discount.

The discount is likely to a little less than the cost of booking the flights yourself, but for us it’s still worthwhile.

Extra Travel Hack

If you are booking a “free flight’ You might find the fare class you have been booked on doesn’t include airline points!

Cheaper Flights? or Convenience?

It really depends on your situation.

Days to Avoid

The days to avoid are the days when there is the biggest demand for seats.

That’s when business travellers and leisure travellers are wanting the same flight

Typically Fridays are bad with people setting off for holidays at the same time as business people returning to their home base.

Sundays is similar with people returning from their holidays and weekly commuters returning to be ready to start on Monday morning.

When I worked full time I used to be be caught in this trap when travelling for leisure as I wanted to get the most use out of the limited leave available.

That meant including as much of the weekend in the holiday as possible.

Convenience was more important than cost!

Cheapest Days

Generally the cheapest days tend to be midweek, typically Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Thursday and Saturdays are normally not too bad.

Now I am retired I like to take advantage of the midweek lower fares.

When we book cruises, or tours we now look to go a couple of days earlier and stop on a couple of days afterwards.

Not only do take advantage of lower fares, but if a flight is delayed we don’t risk missing the start of the cruise.

In this case cost can equal convenience!

Status Runs

Some frequent flyers take additional flights to make sure they maintain their frequent flyer status. . . . . . these are often referred to as ‘Status Runs’.

What’s the Point?

There are several benefits of a high status, particularly gold or above.

These include:

  • Free lounge access, for you, and a 2nd traveller.
  • Additional points from flights (up to 75%).
  • Better access to reward seats, especially for business class.
  • Better chance of free upgrades.
  • Several other ‘nice to have’ benefits such as priority boarding

When I used to travel 2-3 times a month as a gold frequent flyer I would estimate those benefits were worth $1,000 – $2,000 a year to me.

Types of Status Runs

Additional Trips: Taking a trip with the main purpose of collecting additional status points.

Extending Trips: This involves planning your flights to get additional points. For example rather than flying Melbourne to Cairns direct If you choose to fly via Sydney and Brisbane you could get up to 50% more points.

Is it Worth It

It really depends on how much the benefits are worth to you.

When you fly often you aren’t keen to fly if you don’t need to. . . . but if I was just a couple of flights away from gold status it might be worth a ‘Status Run’.

Time and Jet Lag

Flying long haul I used to change my watch to the destination time when I got on the plane, which does help with jet lag.

These days I take a different approach.

Use the World Clock Function

At least a day before I travel I make sure that the time for my destination is in on my world clock page.

I can then start planning my sleep patterns based on the destination time.

If the best fit is to sleep on the early part of the journey I will aim to be as tired as possible when I get on the plane.

If its best to sleep until just before I arrive I will aim to be wide awake when I start the journey.

This doesn’t get rid of jetlag . . . . but does help.

Transit Airport Time Are Important

An additional ‘Travel Hack’ is to include any transit airport time zones on your world clock page.

After travelling for 12 or more hours its easy to get confused about the time at your transit airport.

You don’t want to miss your connecting flight by making a mistake about the time!

Seat Etiquette

So what are some of the etiquette rules for economy travel?

Arm Rests

As far as I am concerned the person in the center seat always gets priority for both armrests.

Window seat has the advantage of being able to lean on the side of the plane which gives them more room and they have full use of one arm rest.

Aisle seat has a bit more room on the Aisle side and its easier for them to get up and move around, they also have full use of one arm rest.

For a more direct explanation see what Jim Jefferies has to say.

Hair

Keep your hair on your side of the headrest, not over the back.

Feet

I don’t have any problem if people take their shoes off as long as they keep them on the floor.

I won’t be happy if you then put them on the seat next to me or push them through to the seat in front of you.

Travel Hack – Put your shoes back on if you go to the toilet, that wet patch on the floor isn’t water.

Speeding through Security

No one likes airport security, but if it makes travel safer I’m happy to put up with some inconvenience.

Here are my travel hacks to make security as easy as possible.

  • Give yourself plenty of time so you don’t stress:
  • Wear a jacket or waistcoat with enough zipped pockets for, coins, mobile phones and anything else metal then you can just put the jacket in the tray for X-ray;
  • If they have body scanners, rather than a metal detector you will also need to put you wallet in your jacket pocket as well;
  • If you wear a belt get one with a plastic buckle;
  • Slip on shoes, or elastic sided footwear (in USA only);
  • Have liquids in a zip lock bag in an external pocket of your carry on;
  • Have your lap top/tablet in a easily accessed place;
  • Put your hat in the tray (many hats have steel stiffeners)

If you are travelling a lot around the USA it is worth getting TSA pre-clearance.