Archive for June, 2009

$511: Los Angeles to Sao Paulo

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Korean Air is not synonymous with Brazilian carnavals or sun-soaked South American beaches, but they appear to be trying. How else do you explain $500 fares from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo on Korean Air? Yes, from now through 9/30/09 for travel between 8/01/09 to 9/30/09. Pay just a little more for travel through 12/11/09.

Historically, these fares would’ve been near the $1,000 mark, so this is a great opportunity to experience Brazil on the cheap. Vacationers and returning expatriates tend to be so passionate about Brazil that the entire plane tends to erupt in cheers and applause upon landing!

If Sao Paulo isn’t your final destination, use GOL to access the rest of South America. Click here to view all the discount routes out of Sao Paulo. Look under “Save More to Sao Paulo”.

$473: New York to Dublin in August

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Ireland, along with Germany, continue to be low-cost welcome mats to Europe. Delta is providing this eye opening opportunity to visit Europe in the heart of the summer for under $500. Purchase by 6/30/09 for this non-stop flight deal. See additional cities on sale.

If Dublin isn’t your final destination, access European low-cost monsters RyanAir or easyJet to access a wide array of destinations, including Amsterdam, Prague and Warsaw.

Click here to view all the discount routes out of Dublin. Look under “Save More to Dublin”.

$209: Las Vegas to Spain

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Having just returned from an 11-day vacation in Japan thanks to this incredible deal on Singapore Airlines, I was floored when I saw that Delta had fares from Los Angeles to Barcelona (or Madrid) for only $299.

Even cheaper was Las Vegas to Barcelona (or Madrid) for only $209. This isn’t one-way, this is round-trip! This is lowest of the low, folks.

So, here I am, in a Kirin Beer hangover haze and sleep deprevation daze about to book Los Angeles to Barcelona for under $300 per person. Done! (See below)

We’re also seeing flights to Zurich, Venice, Rome, Geneva and Athens for under $400. Delta’s gone mad. Jump on these deals quickly, they may not last the night!

Discount Carrier Rip-offs

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

“10 Low-cost Airline Money Grabs, and How to Avoid Them”

Whilst discount carriers are often a cheap way of getting from A to B, they can afford the low prices because they hold many of their passengers to ransom. Faced with paying an extra fee or not travelling, the majority have to dip into their pockets. However, forewarned is forearmed, and the following tips ought to save future heartache.

1. Beware The Change: Many airlines let you alter bookings for what appears a small fee. However, they will also charge the difference between the original and the new rate. Within a couple of days of travel, this difference can be hundreds of dollars.

2. Cabin Carry-On: Don’t refuse to pay in advance for checked baggage, hoping that staff will turn a blind eye to the odd extra kilo in your carry-on. Discount carriers tend to police cabin baggage mercilessly so they can hit passengers with huge excess baggage charges.

3. Have Back-Up Money: Airlines are incredibly quick to take your money and glacially slow to give it back. Should you be in the unusual situation of actually getting a refund, it can take up to 6 weeks. Often the refund will be due to the airline cancelling a flight, so try to have back-up funds to buy a replacement ticket.

4. Take Noise-Cancelling Headphones: To maximise revenue, the aircraft are jammed with as many people as they can legally get away with (in parts of the world, this is open to scary interpretation!). As well as being surrounded by hundreds of strangers, carriers see passengers as a captive audience. Flights are one continuous advertisement for food, drink, lottery tickets, etc. Making things worse, some airlines charge $3/minute for cell phone usage and actively encourage it. Blocking out most of the noise might keep the murderous feelings at bay.

5. Low-Cost Isn’t Necessarily Lowest Price: Discount carriers rely on people assuming they are, by definition, the cheapest option. However, when booked a long time in advance, some full-service airlines are very competitive. There will be restrictions, but the ticket will probably include checked luggage, refreshments and no hidden fees. Definitely worth a look.

6. Connection Crisis: If you are booking a connecting flight, even with the same airline, ensure there is sufficient time to make it. Most discount airlines WILL NOT re-book or refund if they consider a delay to be beyond their control. Their definition of this is vague to say the least.

7. Priority Boarding Bulls**t: For a not-inconsiderate fee, some discount carriers offer you the chance to be first on board the aircraft. Unfortunately, you’ll still be battling with other fee-payers and, if the aircraft isn’t on a jet-bridge, you’ve just paid to be first on the bus!

8. You’re Landing Where?: Several low-cost operators fall just short of committing fraud when they claim to serve a city, and airport operators are just as guilty. Make sure the airport you’re flying to is actually close to the city or you could be hit with the cost of ground transportation too. Frankfurt-Hahn, for example, is 60 miles from the city centre – not exactly a cheap cab ride

9. Seats Apart: Some discount carriers save cash by running a free-seating policy. A boarding card is just that – a bit of plastic that gets you on. As far as they are concerned, your ticket will get you on but they couldn’t care less if you’re separated from your two-year-old. If you have a family, you have two choices. Either go with an airline that assigns seating for free. Or turn up at the airport a day early!

10. E-Theft: This is cropping up more and more. With a lot of low-cost airlines, the only way of booking a ticket is through their website. For this privilege, some of the unscrupulous outfits add on a service charge for electronic payment. There’s no other way of paying, so it’s basically charging an excessive amount of money for nothing. By strange coincidence, this is the dictionary’s definition of extortion.

Of course, these are only ten of the worst offences and the airlines are coming up with new scams almost on a daily basis. But if you only take one bit of advice from this article, let it be this: Always, always, read the terms and conditions. Always.

Then read them again!