How to plan a travel - Flight Booking

So you finally have the holiday dates, the places you want to go to and the accommodation all figured out. If you have not -  kindly click here to go through it again.

By the way as a side note -  you can check with your friends who have been to the same places you intend to visit to check out the local costs, food and stuffs like that. Forgot to add this information in.

Usually when I am planning -  I need the dates first. This helps me to check out the flight schedule and cost and the room availability in the hotel. Hence what I would do is mark out the planned holiday dates in my Google family calendar in color. The rest of the details I would get around to it.

Flight.

These are my criteria when I book a flight for our family holidays:
  • Direct Flight
  • Airlines Safety Records
  • Frequent Miles
  • Cost
  • Promotions

As mentioned above, I look into the above factors when booking a flight. I will plan the trip as early as six months to see if I can get any cheap rates. But then because I book my vacations during the school holidays I can expect the flight cost to be higher than the normal tariff rate, but if booked earlier -  its much much cheaper.

I applied for a credit card affiliated with the KrisFlyer miles -  so as and when I shop, I accumulate points that I can redeem when making a flight booking. In my case, I used this credit card to make the flight booking for my Delhi trip -  which then gave me more miles to redeem the next flight I will book.

In my case I decided that it has to be SQ from day 1.(Sentimental reason) But for other locations that I would plan -  I will check out the cheapest and of course the safety record of the airlines to base my bookings  on.

Usually in SQ wedbsite -  there are 3 tiers to make booking. As soon as you indicate the place and the dates - the system will give you the cheapest cost first.

Flight Timing:

The next thing I do is check the flight time. Usually when we fly, we fly on Friday night after work and school. So we hardly take the flights from Mon - Thur. As such, I look for flight time after 8pm departing Singapore.

But if its arrival to Singapore-  I ensure that its not a Friday morning or afternoon for two reasons. Hubby must go to his Friday prayers at a mosque hence if we are flying in the morning or afternoon -  chances are he will miss his prayers. And also -  I  note that weekend flights cost more. So even if the  website gives you the cheapest cost, the flight timing might not be to your advantage. If you choose other timings -  you will have to pay more. Because I was on a lookout for the flights for quite some time -  I booked the flight 3 months before the actual day to secure the flight for the timing I wanted and at a price was able to afford.

Promotion Fares

I rather not go on promotional ticket prices because there are so many terms and conditions - I get confused very easily and there's a lot of restrictions attached to it. You can't change the dates, you can't change the names, you have to fly within a certain date and return within a certain date and etc.

I need the flexibility to change the dates because of my travel mates. In my case I was flying with mum -  she might get sick and not make it at the last minute and my hubby might have a travel arrangement somewhere. All this has to be kept in mind when making flight booking.

Passport

When making the flight booking -  check with your travel mates if they are comfortable with the flight timing and the price if they are sharing the cost. And most importantly check the expiry date in the passport. Technically you have to have more than 6 months of validity when travelling. Anything close to the 6th month - you will find everyone in the immigration kindly reminding you about it. So ensure you have more than 6 months. Get everyone's passport - or have a scanned copy. When making the bookings, ensure the name is as per the passport. Its a hassle to call the service line, and wait to get them to change the details if you made a mistake during the booking.

Make the booking:

What I like most about booking tickets online is the seating arrangements. I like to select the seats usually towards the door so that when we board the flight, we don't have to walk a long bit behind everyone else tagging along our hand carry in the narrow isle. The moment I walk in, I will like to see where I am seating. Especially when you have a child, or a elderly.

Select the food type -  whatever that works for you. If you rather skip this-  I think you might be given a menu in the flight and choose from there. But you'd get the food a little later than the folks who pre booked I think. Not sure -  never tried.

Usually I will make the booking when I am sure I will not be interrupted. I will check and recheck all the details and then confirm the payment. And when the payment is done -  make a print out -  read and reread all the details again. If you prefer, you can get the insurance from the website -  but I usually arrange my own later- closer to the date I am flying.

I will have a folder with multiple pocket and the flight printout will be in it. Sooner you will have other booking confirmation print out from hotel, insurance, trains and tourist spots. Organize them according to the location you are going. Congrats  and a pat on your back ( usually I do that to myself) for the first part done, the next should be easy peasy -  or so you think.

Await for the follow up article: "How to plan a travel  - Hotel Booking"

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