I book flights almost daily. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that help me find better deals. Here are some of the tricks I use when buying plane tickets.
I just got in from Toronto. Eight-hour flight overnight. Didn’t get much sleep and now I need a cold shower, then I’m gonna head to the train station to go back to Zurich. Quick workout and then get started with my day.
Feeling more life now and I’m headed to the train station to catch the train into Frankfurt. From there, I’m gonna change the train to Zurich. Now I’m at the point where one of my only two non-black items comes in handy – immigration. I wish it was this simple in the US or many other countries were often I spend, like, an hour just trying to get into or just getting into the country, just waiting in line.
They have these automated gates or kiosk systems now in the US. They still manage to clog a lot of the lines, especially in San Francisco. Coming back to Europe is quick and easy. Now just past customs and I gotta find my train.
Airfare pricing is a mystery
So normally I would take the flight from Frankfurt to Zurich or ideally I could have flown from Toronto to Zurich. There was actually another Air Canada flight that left at exactly the same time as my flight. Airfare pricing is still a mystery to me. Flying from Zurich to Toronto and back would have been okay in terms of price. Flying from Frankfurt to Toronto and back was okay but flying from Frankfurt to Toronto and then back to Zurich was like almost double the price if not more. So I opted to go back here, take the train from Frankfurt into Zurich. I think an additional hundred euros which is not too bad.
A warm Swiss welcome
Took a nap. Now two more legs – one to Zurich and then to Rapperswil, to Mediasign. Before was actually the wrong stop – glad I realized it before the train had departed and I got back in. I’m still tired, I had also forgotten my big bag.
Train to Zurich has just arrived, I was waiting in the wrong sector but no more sleeping now. I need to get some work done, and then a few calls and that’s it.
I feel a lot more awake now and I did bring my bag. Just arrived in Zurich and I’m gonna meet Elena here. She’s in a meeting right now near Zurich train station so I’m gonna find a place to get some work done and then driving to the office together with her. Get some more stuff done there.
Just leaving the train station, it’s so good to be back in warm weather. Sunny, blue skies. It does affect my mood. Warm weather, sun, no jacket…awesome. What a good day!
Elena and I are sleeping at my parents’ place. We’re gonna do some barbecuing, enjoy the nice weather. Beautiful sunset, I mean, doesn’t really come out on a camera as much.
If I had a place, I would most probably go home now and spend it by myself. And this way, I get to see my parents, we get to spend a few quality hours together. I haven’t seen my mom since my dad and I left for San Francisco so it’s been quite a while. So it’s just good not having a place.
My top 3 tips for buying plane tickets
Barbecue is cooking and my laundry is spinning in the machine as we speak. So just a few minutes to talk about the way I book flights. Three steps that I follow:
Tip #1: Use Google Flights
I use Google Flights to look up the routing and connection, especially for open jaw flights. Not just a simple return but maybe I fly somewhere and then I return from a different place or something that mixes together various airlines like we’re doing tomorrow. We fly to Hong Kong on Swiss but then we fly to Bali on Cathay and the week after we fly back from Bali to Hong Kong on Garuda Indonesia. Google Flights has proven really reliable to me in the past.
Tip #2: Call the airline
Sometimes we see a difference from calling one agent after another and the difference can be as much as, like, 30 percent. Or calling another airline in the same alliance. So sometimes we booked a Swiss flight through Lufthansa and sometimes vice versa. Of course, also use incognito browser, see if you can find a flight from your mobile – that’s usually cheaper. If you want to go all the way, if the price is really expensive, then use a VPN, move your IP into a country that has lower purchasing power – that usually makes the flights cheaper as well.
Tip #3: Get the best seat using SeatGuru.com
Not so much about booking but it’s more about where I think a dollar or Swiss franc can go a really long way which is seat reservations. Long-haul flights, when I’m flying economy, I’m very willing to pay an extra thirty or fifty bucks for a good seat. So I always check if that’s available and if it’s available, I usually book a seat that’s in an exit row but not by the windows. The middle one usually has a wall right in front of them and that gives me personally the best benefit for legroom and still not sliding out of the seat. And I use seatguru.com to look up the layout of a plane and find those seats.
And with that, that’s my three, let’s say three cents, on how I book flights and tips that you might want to use the next time you book a bit more of a complicated flight. I can smell the barbecue and so it’s time for me to go and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!
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