Tech Tip #21.5
When booking flights on an app like Skyscanner, check out the full cost of your bargain flight before clicking pay. Look at the number of bags and weight of each bag, included in your ticket price; also the price of extra bags, and how many you can have. If you don’t, it’s easy to get a bargain flight – one that costs half the price of the next one – only to find later that the baggage allowance was stripped out of the price. Once you add in these charges, which can be hundreds of dollars, that ticket can cost more. Also, remember, you have to pay for the excess baggage there and back. Beware of being told to pay for excess baggage at the airport, as this is often expensive, and confusing, so try and buy it upfront, or online. Remember that online check-in tends to have a cut off time that’s 24 hours before you fly, so don’t miss it.
With complex tickets, that appear cheap, say a flight that goes via Turkish, Egyptian, and Australian airlines, the price you pay can be the highest that any single airline journey would charge (the check-in will work out the cost from the most expensive airline).
If you do have excess baggage charges, makes sure you’ve got some way of paying it, which sometimes means a credit card or a prepaid Visa (make sure it’s an international, not domestic card), as some airports don’t take debit or cash. One cheeky option is to allow some bags to go through, those that are the correct weight, and leave the heavy bags to go last. Once these bags are in the system – they’ve gone down the belt – it’s hard to get them back, in fact, it could be costly for the airline to do so; this means a $200 charge might be waved as it gets closer to the flight leaving, as the staff have to close the desk to get to the gate, and cannot let the plane fly with your bags on it (but not you).
Skyscanner is great, but buying tickets through third parties often means you have little flexibility or help when things go wrong. Getting your ticket direct from the airline is often the same price but means you’re their customer, and so they’re more helpful, meaning you have a human to speak to, not just a random email.