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Cheap tickets tricks for huge saving potential
May 19th, 2014 by elisa

Easyjet Flexifare screenshot

Easyjet Flexifare screenshot

Lowest fare guides and flexible dates options are really helpful in finding the lowest travel fares, but sometimes the cost of a flight or train when you want it is still too expensive.

Moneysavingexpert.com founder, Martin Lewis has just revealed a way to ‘trick’ Easyjet’s booking system to get the cheapest possible fare.

“The idea is to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time, then switch to the dates you originally wanted. It’s not the easiest trick in the book, but if it works it could save £100s,” is says on the website.

It’s a bit of a risk as you need to know that your dates will still be available to switch to. The website provides a step by step guide on how to do this, which includes beginning a booking for 20 people on your desired flight to see if that many seats are available and therefore not likely to sell out so quickly.

One customer is quoted as saving £700 on flights to Lanzarote. The online posting said: “When we went on the Easyjet website the flights were over £1,500 including bags. We then booked the flexi flights, which were £848 – a saving of £700. A bit nerve-wracking for the 24 hours, but we know it works. There must be availability obviously on the dates you are changing to.”

A spokesperson for Easyjet said: “EasyJet’s aim is to provide easy and affordable fares for everyone which is why we provide a number of tools on our website to help customers identify the best flight for their budget.

“Our recently launched ‘low fare finder’ makes it easier than ever to find the lowest fares available on specific routes without the stress of needlessly changing dates and our Inspire Me tool enables customers to specify their budget and dates and sets out on a map where they can fly to for that budget.

“Flexifares are designed specifically for the business customer and offer the flexibility they require when travelling for business, however there is no guarantee of availability on alternative dates. Most of our passengers travelling during the peak summer understand that the earlier they book the cheaper the fare will be.”

Train fares are another contentious issue when it comes to the different prices for the same routes, often depending on whether you book early enough or use a rail card.

Tickets are grouped into three types: “Advance” for a specific train journey, “anytime” for any train on the route, and “off-peak” restricted to quieter times of travel.

“Anytime” tickets are usually most expensive because of their flexibility, but it can still seem too expensive when booking an “advance” or “off-peak” ticket, and this is where the money-saving trick comes in. If you are travelling on a popular and fairly lengthy journey, then it could be much cheaper to buy tickets for separate parts of the journey in a practice called “ticket splitting”.

For example, a one-way “advance” ticket from Oxford to Leeds will cost £90, calling at Birmingham New Street. However, a one-way “advance” ticket from Oxford to Birmingham New Street costs £33, and then from Birmingham New Street to Leeds another £49 giving a total fare of £82. This is a fairly sizeable percentage saving of the original cost, and can amount to much larger savings on other routes. National Rail allows ticket splitting (essentially travelling on the same train) as long as the train stops at the station you’re splitting the tickets for.

Another trick I found when trying to book an “anytime” ticket on thetrainline.com was that I still had to provisionally select a journey time to allow me to buy the ticket, but the price of the “anytime” ticket fluctuated depending on the time I was searching for. I selected a time later in the day to halve the price of the ticket at the time I was considering travelling, but could still use it at any point that day.

There are lots more possible money saving methods to cut the cost of travel. Let us know what your tips and tricks are in the comments section below.

 

 

BA best airline but outranked in value for money
May 5th, 2014 by elisa

Good news for British Airways, which has been ranked best airline in almost every category except value by a Skyscanner survey.

BA came first for its food and drink, onboard experience, its style and customer service in short-haul flights, but ranked third in ‘best value for money’. It was beaten by Easyjet in second place, and little-known airline, Norwegian, in first place.

Norwegian was a surprise contender and fared extremely well in the survey, biting at BA’s heels in second place for most of the categories.

Skyscanner’s Mary Porter said: “Being a Superbrand and one which Brits are very proud of, it’s perhaps not surprising that British Airways has scooped the top spot in our survey.

“However it is particularly interesting to see such strong results for a far less well-known airline, with Norwegian taking second place and goes to show that low cost does not necessarily mean an inferior product or service.”

The survey was of 4,000 British travellers, surveyed on their opinion of airlines’ short-haul flights from the UK.

Rudest flight attendants
May 2nd, 2014 by elisa

We tend to expect the attendants on our flights to be the epitome of cheeriness and professionalism; but a recent survey of 14 North American airlines assessed the rudeness rating of flight attendants, with some surprising results.

The Airfarewatchdog commissioned survey found flight attendants at Spirit Airlines to be the rudest at 26%, with Air Canada second at 11%, and perhaps rather surprisingly in fourth position, Virgin America with 9% of the votes.

The Virgin America ranking is a surprise considering it came out on top in an Airline Quality Rating study just weeks earlier.

Least rude were Alaska Airlines and Southwest, both receiving only 1% of the vote.

3,400 frequent fliers were asked to choose from the 14 airlines, with the results weighted by number of passengers flown by each airline to account for the fact that larger airlines would have a bigger response.

Full results:

Spirit — 26%

Air Canada — 14%

Frontier — 11%

Virgin America — 9%

Allegiant — 8%

United — 7%

US Airways — 7%

American — 5%

AirTran — 3%

Delta — 2%

Hawaiian — 3%

JetBlue — 3%

Alaska — 1%

Southwest — 1%

£240 million in unclaimed travel compensation
May 1st, 2014 by elisa

Compensation for delayed or cancelled flights totalling around £240 million was failed to be claimed by passengers last year, according to passenger rights specialist refund.me.

Although the figure seems large, it’s much lower than the £355 million left unclaimed in 2012 and is due in part to improvements made by airlines to keep delays under the limits that would trigger compensation payments, plus more passengers being aware of their rights.

The no win, no fee firm helps eligible passengers fight for compensation under EU Regulation EC 261. Since 2004, passengers have been entitled to claim compensation of up to £490 for late cancellations or flights or delays of more than three hours, other than due to circumstances beyond airline’s control.

Refund.me founder and CEO Eve Buechner commended improvements made by airlines: “After nearly a decade of citing poorly justified “extraordinary circumstances” to avoid compensation payments, airlines appear to have turned the corner on both service and post-service quality,”

“Some airlines now have more aircraft on standby or move to pre-emptively smooth things over with passengers by offering vouchers, miles and accommodation more willingly.”

However, Buechner warned that all this progress could be put in jeopardy when a planned review of EC 261 by the European Parliament considers whether passengers should not be entitled to compensation of less than five, seven or 12 hours.

“This would effectively nullify the progress made in the last few years and set passenger rights back to their standards of 10 years ago,” she said.

“The airline industry has made significant progress in improving passenger rights in the last two years. Passengers are more aware of their rights and airlines have become more compliant and offer better service as a result. It would be disappointing to undo this progress. It would lead to more delays, more cancellations and more stranded passengers.”

Refund.me processed more than 10,000 compensation claims last year, totalling more than £3.3 million, and claimed a 94% success rate.

Stowaway survives flight in plane wheel well
Apr 25th, 2014 by elisa

A 16-year-old boy survived a five hour flight across the Pacific Ocean hidden in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane.

Flying at heights of around 38,000 feet in temperatures of 75 or 80 degrees below zero, it’s amazing that he survived.

“For somebody to survive multiple hours with that lack of oxygen and that cold is just miraculous,” airline analyst Peter Forman told CNN affiliate KHON in Honolulu.

The boy had apparently run away from home after an argument with his family, and decided to sneak onto the tarmac at Santa Clara Airport, California. He then crawled into the wheel well of the aircraft bound for Hawaii.

He was discovered wandering around in a disorientated state at Honolulu airport. The FBI questioned the boy in order to piece together details of the incredible journey, then handed him over to child protective services.

“He doesn’t even remember the flight and it’s amazing he survived it,” said FBI spokesman Tom Simon.

No charges have been brought against the boy.

Swarm of bees grounds plane
Apr 21st, 2014 by elisa

A flight was grounded after a massive swarm of bees clouded the plane’s windshields and were sucked into its engines. 

The Allegiant Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Dululth, Minnesota, was forced to turn around and land back at McCarran International Airport when it was struck by the swarm.

Passengers reported a burning smell that filled the cabin, causing some passengers to panic.

“We thought [the pilot] was joking when he said ,’I’ve never had that happen before. We hit thousands of bees,’ ” passenger Cassandra Rogers told WDIO news.

Bees grounding flights might sound unusual, but there have been many incidents in which they have caused flight delays, although the swarms are most common on the ground rather than in the air.

Beekeeper Stephen Repasky told KDKA-TV that swarms form when colonies become too large and the queen takes half the bees with her to find a new home.

BA to use fuel converted from waste
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

British Airways has announced the site for the GreenSky fuel plant in Thurrock, Essex.

BA has joined forces with Solena Fuels for the project that will convert landfill waste into airline fuel. The airline will purchase all 50,000 tonnes of the jet fuel produced each year, for 11 years, at market competitive rates.

The airline says approximately 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, will be converted into 120,000 tonnes of fuels using Solena’s patented high temperature plasma gasification technology.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said: “The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”

Due to be completed in 2017 the facility will create up to 150 permanent jobs.

The UK’s most punctual airport
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

The UK’s most punctual airport is London City, according to the latest figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Across the 10 airports monitored last year, 80% of flights were on time. At London City, however, 89% were on time. Heathrow is at the bottom of the list with 24% of flights delayed.

The average delay of all scheduled flights monitored in the last quarter was the same as last year, at 12 minutes.

Iain Osborne, group director for regulatory policy at the CAA, said: “Whilst it is pleasing to see the majority of passengers arrived at their destination in good time at the end of last year, our figures show that too many people still had their flights disrupted by delays.

“We also know there were a number of cancellations during December that will have disrupted other passengers.

“Some severe weather clearly played a part in this, but there is still room for improvement. Airports, airlines and air traffic control service providers all have a role to play in delivering that improvement and it is vital they work together to make sure fewer passengers have their journeys disrupted by delays and cancellations”.

Easyjet passengers allowed to use gadgets on flights
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

Easyjet passengers are now allowed to use personal electronic devices throughout their whole flight, including during take-off and landing.

Gadgets such as laptops, tablets and mobiles must be placed in ‘flight mode’ and mobiles cannot be used to make or receive calls or texts.

The move follows recent recommendations from the European Aviation Safety Agency, which have allowed for restrictions on the use of gadgets onboard aircraft to be relaxed.

Peter Duffy, Easyjet’s group commercial director, customer, product and marketing said: “We know that portable devices are an important part of our customers’ journey with us so we are pleased they can now use their electronic devices onboard in ‘Flight mode’ for the duration of their flight with us – we think this will be a popular change.”

Three more airlines sign up for inflight wi-fi
Apr 10th, 2014 by elisa

Three further airlines have signed up to OnAir, an IT system that allows for an inflight phone connection and wi-fi.

Kuwait Airways will fit 12 new aircraft and its fleet upgrades with Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir delivered from December. TAAG Angola Airlines will introduce the technology on its new fleet, and Sri Lankan Airlines, which is also due to join the oneworld alliance on 1st May, is installing the system on six new aircraft as it renews its long-haul fleet.

OnAir, which is owned by SITA, the IT solutions provider to air transport, has regulatory approvals from over 100 countries as well as more than 375 roaming agreements.

Passengers will be able to use wi-fi, as well as phone, text, email and use their apps as usual from their phone. For Internet OnAir, passengers will log on and enter their credit card details before surfing the Internet just as they would at a wi-fi hotspot on the ground. Passengers using Mobile OnAir will have charges included in their monthly phone bill, as they would if they were using international roaming.

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