Air travel tips...air travel is still a very popular way of transportation... but the rules on how to save money are changing and you need to change with the times if you want to get the most bang for your air travel dollar.
Saving money on air travel used to be fairly simple and straightforward... you went online to the big clearinghouse travel sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia...now this is a good place to start but airlines are constantly finding ways to add to their bottom line and eliminating paying the fee to companies like the above are one of the ways the airlines are increasing their profits.
The airline pictured above is Allegiant Airlines, a airline company that serves smaller airports at what can be big savings... but it seems everything has a price.
Later this week my wife and I are flying from the Mesa Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, airport nonstop to Springfield Missouri to visit a relative.
We are using Allegiant air which does not advertise on the big travel websites... you have to go to their airport or their website.
We are using Allegiant air because it is cheap and because it is nonstop which saves us about five hours by not having to go through Denver or Dallas to change planes.
So first of all check and see if Allegiant or other small carriers serve your area...and of course Southwest airlines has always used their own reservation system and has the now important benefit of not charging for two bags a person... a huge income generator for the airlines... estimates as high as $5 billion a year.
Let's take a look at the breakdown of how my wife and I are getting round-trip from Phoenix to Springfield Missouri for a total of $365 for the two of us.
The airfare itself was $217... federal taxes were $30... 9/11 security fees $10...airline facility fees $18... using the web to make our reservation $40... we paid for one bag, 40 pound limit, $50.
Most of those fees cannot be avoided, we may not sit together, but big deal it would cost us $60 additional for reserved seats.
Use Southwest airlines... You have to go to there own site southwest.com... as you won't find them on Expedia, Priceline or any the other sites that compare airline prices.
The number one reason is that they do not charge you for baggage... A big plus if you're like my wife and I and take a lot of cruises... We've literally save hundreds of dollars using Southwest flight from Phoenix to Fort Lauderdale on baggage charges alone.
They also do not charge you an arm and a leg if your travel plans change... They don't charge anything, compare that to some of the major US airlines that will charge you up to $200 a person to change your ticket.
You will also find that Southwest has some of the friendliest personnel outside and in the plane of any airline… It is in fact these people enjoy their job and make flying fun.
Flexibility and free bags, try them once and you'll know what I mean.
Since 9/11, air travel due to the security constraints has become a pain in the posterior.
Make sure you put in your checked bags any liquid or paste container more than 3 ounces and anything at all that could be considered a weapon.
In the past two years we have had two wine openers confiscated, some spices confiscated because the bottle was 3.2 ounces, two nail files, and a small pocket knife that belonged to my father-in-law.
Do not look for sympathy or common sense from TSA personnel, or for that matter most federal agencies that have been given a mandate.
But if you know upfront to try and place as much as possible in your checked bags you have less and less chance of running afoul of the 9/11 security issues.
Two years ago we flew in and out of the only commercial airport in Israel, probably the tightest security in the world, and were not asked to take off our shoes... they profile... which of course is not politically correct in our society.
Maybe we could learn something from our Israeli firends.
Hope you picked up a tip or two and enjoyed reading Air travel tips.