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Flight Booking Tips
Tips for PCG members to find affordable plane tickets

EDMOND—Booking inexpensive airline tickets for the Feast of Tabernacles, Philadelphia Youth Camp, singles weekends, special events in Edmond or other travel can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help pcg members find better flights and save money.

Start Early

Start looking for your flight as soon as you know when you are leaving. Some experts say you should plan to purchase your ticket about seven weeks before you plan to depart. Searching in advance also shows you how prices for the exact same flight might fluctuate from day to day. Observers say that the times at which many flights seem to be priced the lowest are Tuesdays through Thursdays, particularly Tuesdays around 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Go Incognito

When you search for a flight online, this information is often stored and collected by airlines. If you repeatedly search for a flight from one destination to another, airlines know that it is in demand and can use this information to raise their prices. But you can easily prevent your computer from transmitting your information by selecting “incognito mode,” “private window” or a similar command. This will keep your searches—for flights and other things—private. For a handy tutorial, click here, and see the keyboard shortcuts below.

o PC: Control-Shift-N (Google Chrome or Safari browsers)

o MAC: Command-Shift-N (Google Chrome or Safari browsers)

o PC: Control-Shift-P (Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers)

o MAC: Command-Shift-P (Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers)

Set Alerts

Once you have found your best options for itinerary and price, consider waiting to make the final purchase. If you have the time, you can sign up to receive e-mails alerting you if and when the ticket prices change. Many websites offer this free service, including Kayak, Google Flights, Skyscanner, AirfareWatchdog and others. If you set up alerts a few months in advance, you might be able to see a pattern and discern when the price is as low as it will get.

Ohio member Joseph Hochstetler, of millionmilesecrets.com, shared this tip: “These sites all have merit, but I would recommend folks use Google Flights exclusively. It puts other online travel agencies to shame. You can search full calendars with up to five origin airports and five destination airports at the same time. It can save hours.”

Try Multiple One-Way Tickets

Some travelers purchase separate tickets for each leg of their trip. For example, rather than buying one ticket from Orlando to Houston to Oklahoma City, they buy a ticket from Orlando to Houston, then another from Houston to Oklahoma City. But be extra careful. Before you book, make sure your tickets provide ample time between flights, if necessary, to collect your baggage, recheck it, go through security again, and make it to your gate. Hochstetler says that you can often check your bags all the way through to your final destination, even when flying on multiple one-way tickets. He says that if you are flying the same airline, or if the airlines you are flying on are partners, the agent at your initial check-in should be able to check your bags all the way through to your final destination, but make sure this is the case.

Also make sure you arrive in and depart from the same airport (there are two major airports in Houston, for example). Your options will also be more limited should one of your flights be cancelled. This method has more risk, but if you understand what you are doing, it could save you hundreds of dollars and provide more flexible departure/arrival times.

Additional Tips

Flying on a weekday, particularly Tuesday through Thursday, is almost always less expensive, as is flying early in the morning or late at night.

Flights purchased over the phone tend to be more expensive and sometimes involve an additional booking fee.

Websites like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, Trip Advisor, Google Flights and others are handy for comparing flights from multiple airlines. However, sometimes the cheapest price is to be found on the airline’s own website, so it is a good idea to also check Delta.com, AA.com, Southwest.com, etc.

Always read the fine print. Some coach-class tickets can be cheaper than other coach-class tickets, but they usually include additional restrictions, such as not being able to store luggage in overhead cabin bins, not being able to sit together, or being able to check or carry on fewer bags.

When flying internationally, you might be able to book the flight for a lower price if you purchase it in the local currency.

If you are flying internationally and can’t find a reasonable fare, search for the best deal on the international flight first, then look for connecting flights. For example: A round-trip flight from Oklahoma City to London costs $1,350. But a flight from Dallas to Dublin costs $550, and flights between Dublin and London are as low as $30. This method could save you more than 50 percent on a Feast ticket.

Follow the directions on your ticket and for your airport(s) exactly, noting whether you need to print your ticket; what identification you need to bring; restrictions on weight, dimensions and quantity of bags you can check or carry on; what items are not allowed in your checked bags or carry-ons; whether you pay your baggage fees when you purchase your ticket or when you check in whether you need to print your ticket, and other details.

Note that travel insurance is available, sometimes as part of your ticket price, sometimes as a free benefit from using your credit card to complete the transaction, and sometimes as a standalone product from companies like TravelGuard, Travelex, Seven Corners, Geico and others.

Familiarize yourself with the lost baggage policy of your airline, credit card and/or travel insurance policy.

Know what your other credit card travel benefits are. Many credit cards include several travel benefits as inducements to use that card when purchasing your ticket and during your trip. Many cards include large travel-related sign-up bonuses that may be worth looking into, but be extremely aware of what you are getting into before applying for a new card, and be extremely cautious when using credit cards in general, always being sure to pay off your entire balance in full every month.

Don’t get overwhelmed! The world of airline ticket pricing can start to become bewildering, and you can be tempted to jump through one too many hoops or take one too many risks to try to get a better price. At the end of the day, the best flight booking tip of all is to pray. Involve God, be wise and diligent, and your trip to the Feast, camp, college and points beyond is certain to be a good one!