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Is the Best Fare the Best Fare for You?

At this time of year, it’s traditional for airlines to bombard us with messages of cut-price fares to our favourite destinations. And while we regularly see low prices for flights within Europe, it’s also possible to pick up cheap flights to somewhere a little further afield. However, there are a few things to bear in mind to help you pick the right flight.

  • Direct or indirect?
    While indirect flights are a great way to reduce the cost when there’s no sale on, flight-sale season is definitely the time to say "I’m going to fly direct to Jo’burg this time, rather than spending 22 hours flying via the Middle East". Many of the current sales offer fantastic fares on direct flights to some of the best destinations in the USA, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and more
  • High-fliers
    Flight sales offer the perfect opportunity to fly with some of the best airlines for a more modest price. Skytrax recently announced the winners of their World Airline Awards, covering everything from in-flight entertainment to service, so check that out and then see what cheap flights are on offer from the airline that catches your eye. Qatar Airways was named Airline of the Year, so is definitely worth a peek
  • Go on, treat yourself
    A number of airlines also reduce their premium seats during flight-sale season. If you’re used to flying economy and fancy a bit of a treat, this is the ideal time to get a birthday or (very) early Christmas present for yourself or a loved one. Both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways run premium seat sales alongside the economy ones. You get a glass of champagne before you take off, for a start
  • Beware hidden costs
    Not all carriers offer the same in-flight service. Some only serve alcohol with your meal, others let you have it as and when you want. Same goes for snacks. So if the difference in price between airline X and airline Y is peanuts, be sure to check what’s included. You might end up making up the difference by paying for, well, peanuts
  •  Where am I?
    This one’s very simple. Some cities have more than one airport and not all carriers fly to the same one. So don’t get too carried away chasing the lowest fare. For the sake of what’s probably a tenner, make sure you’re flying to the best airport for your trip, or you’ll end up spending time and money getting to where you want to be

Chris Webber contributed to this article

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
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Glyn Owen