Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tricky Travel Tips

Ok so I reached DEEP into my bag of travel tips this weekend.

It's often cheaper to fly THROUGH your destination than it is to fly TO your destination.

It makes no sense so let me explain. If you are flying to a hub the price of your ticket might be $400 but if you're flying to another remote city with a layover at the hub the price of the complete ticket (2 segments) can often be $250! CRAZY I KNOW! So yesterday I wanted to fly from New Hampshire to Washington DC and the flight was almost $500 and so I booked a flight all the way to Orlando for $289 that changed planes in DC and then I just got off the plane and went to my hotel. :)

The 2nd tip is that you can often get a better flight slot by showing up and asking BUT you can only get on it if you didn't check your bags. Unless I have a lot of connections I always try and "Gate Check" my bags and that way I don't have to deal with them taking up my legroom and I get them instantly as I get off the plane instead having to wait, sometimes for an hour, at baggage claim. Flights are often priced by the time of day and the ideal time for me to fly to Orlando today was at 5:30 but apparently the airline knew that so that ticket was close to $300 so I booked the next flight out at 7:30 for $189 and then came to the airport for the 5:30 flight and they put me on that flight for free.

...and the best part of this is that I am telling you all these tricks from United's Red Carpet Club which is their premier lounge. I love these places because they are a quiet little sanctuary outside of the intercoms and chaos of the terminal. They have free drinks and healthy snacks and so if you travel much get access to the clubs. Chris Humphreys just shared on his blog about an AMEX card that can get you in a bunch of the clubs so go check that out too!

I was reading in the USA today that 25% of US flights last year were late! Wow! It was the 2nd poorest annual performance ever. Also, nearly a million seats were sold by US airlines that didn't exist! Resulting in "Oversold" situations. Can you believe we let airlines get away with this rubbish. In what other industry can people sell things that don't exist? Delta and Continental (sorry Mrs. Beckstead) were the worst...and the article said it's just going to get worse.

Ok...later everyone...I've got a flight to catch.

18 comments:

Shealynn Benner said...

Wow that's pretty interesting that Continental was one of the worst! My husband is a platinum member on Continental and has only been delayed one time. [he travels constantly]

My dad flies on American weekly and has been delayed more times than I can count. :) Sounds interesting, though!

Thanks for sharing the tips!!

Eric said...

Oooh. You shoulda posted this on www.fellowtip.com!

Ph0t0g said...

So what happens on the return flight when you are not originating from the city that you were booked from? Or does this only work if you are doing a one way flight?

It's a great tip, just want to make sure I don't end up stuck somewhere :)

Todd Stricker

Kevin Sturm said...

Dude it may be worth while asking United to check your profile to see if you have any red flags.

This can be great for cheap flights, but it also gets your profile tagged as a "risk" because it is a security violation when someone gets off a scheduled flight at a layover.

I had an employee get escorted off a flight and told he couldn't get on the next flight because of similar stuff.

Erin Harvey said...

Thanks so much for the tips! I may be doing a lot of flying soon so that could definitely help. And good question Todd... I look foward to that answer as well.

Chriselda said...

yeah. i'm interested in that as well!

if it all works out,
great tip!

Mark Adams | LaCour said...

I've tried this before and when I showed up for the return flight, couldn't get on it, because I didn't complete the trip to the original destination. got no love from the airline staff and had to buy a new return ticket!

If you figured out a workaround to the return ticket, please share!

|| davidjay || said...

Continental was 2nd worst in overselling not in delays.

...and do not do this on the front end of a roundrip ticket...because as soon as you skip a segment the rest of the itinerary is cancelled.

The time you could do this is on the backend to end in a city other than your original final destination without having to book another ticket.

Megan Stichter said...

So does that mean to get to South Africa I should fly to Australia? heh.

Ginger Murray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginger Murray said...

oops! That was me!
I've actually never heard that before! This post came just in time, cause I'll finally be booking my flight in the next couple days for WPPI. I'll look into it...

I'm trying to understand it so I don't mess it up... So would I book a roundtrip flight from Minneapolis to say, somewhere in CA, and then book my flights from CA to Vegas separately..?? I'm not sure if I have that right...

Josh Stichter said...

I tried to get to bumped once...then you took my seat. Remeber that!? I do...and I always will!

Melissa Jill :) said...

Wow David, I had no idea you were so clever :). Those are awesome tips!

Amanda said...

Hey DJ,

You just left the Props convention and we are all buzzing about how awesome you were. You're such an inspiration and we're all so thankful for you taking the time to come out.

You rock!

Justine Ungaro said...

That is freaking brilliant!

Michael Costa said...

wow DJ, that is perfect!

Karen Mikols said...

Hmm....so this works best with one-way tickets?

I'm musing over this idea, DJ. It's clever and I like it .... but could you expand on the second part ... showing up and getting a ticket for cheaper? I always thought it was more expensive to show up and get a ticket the day of .... am I wrong? (it wouldn't be the first time, so don't worry!)

Mike Larson said...

agreeably so, being a united premier exec member, i love them, and am taken care of, i think thats a huge thing to do with an airline. good on you for posting this, i've done the same