29 May 2024

Making the most of budget airline deals

If you’re planning on jetting off this Christmas or in the New Year, whether you’re skiing, visiting family or just escaping leaden British skies, you’ll no doubt be turning to low cost airlines to get the best deals on flights.

The good news is that there’s still plenty of availability for the festive season, so it’s not too late to bag a last-minute bargain.

You may also not realise that there’s a lot you can do to get as much value as you can on these travel deals. For example, if you can get away with just carrying hand luggage, you can avoid bag check-in fees, though that can be tricky at this time of year, when you may be taking bulky clothes, Christmas gifts and perhaps a pair of ski boots with you.

Some operators impose a weight limit on hand luggage, others don’t. Some airlines also allow passengers to pool or combine their check-in baggage if one person’s cases are significantly lighter, as long as the total weight falls within the limit. Check what your carrier’s rules are.

While many operators charge credit and debit card booking fees, some, like Flybe, do not impose a charge for making your reservation with a Visa Electron card, available from the Halifax.

With many operators now running a check-in online system, don‘t forget to print out your boarding pass. That may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how easy it can be for it to slip your mind in the rush to pack and get away. If you show up without it, you could face additional costs.

When booking your flights, be careful to opt out of any charges or extras that you do not need. Double check dates and times of your flights before confirming your booking, it can be surprisingly easy to inadvertently select the wrong ones, and you may not be possible to make changes once you’ve made your reservation.

For example, think about whether you really do need priority booking, allowing you to be among the first passengers to board. You may be able to achieve the same result by checking in early, or online.

Finally, bear in mind that it can be cheaper to reserve your cheap flights on the Internet than over the phone, so get clicking rather than dialling.

With some great travel deals available, you don’t have to be subjected to endless turkey, bad TV, disappointing New Year celebrations or post-Christmas blues this year. Book yourself a bargain flight with these top travel tips and leave the chilly UK behind for somewhere more interesting!