Sunday, September 06, 2009

Check different airlines - get cheaper fare!


















I have already told you that I will visit Brussels in November. When I spotted that SAS could offer cheap flights to European destinations, i.e. from NOK 520, I decided to check whether I could get one of these tickets, and I did! When it came to the return from the Belgian capital, the SAS air fare was on a completely different level.


Grabbing a bargain fra Scandinavian Airlines

That meant that I had to make an effort to get prices down on the return flight.

First, though, I was determined to get hold of that bargain flight with SAS, and I did! I paid 540 NOK (62,6 EURO), and this included air fare (NOK 235 / 27,2 EUR), tax (NOK 285 = 33 EUR) and service fee (2,30 EUR).

Getting a bargain back from Brussels was a challenge. I decided to rely on finn.no, a Norwegian service that compares airfare from several airlines and booking services. Through FINN I found several booking sites offering favourable fare, and I went to www.travelstart.no that had the best offer.

Using www.travelstart.no once (and never again)

Whereas SAS had all included, I found that travelstart, besides my booking, persistently tried to push other products into my trolley, and particularly its flag ship "Travel Assist" that would offer "free" seat reservation, food, special luggage, sports equipment and other services.

They also ended up asking me whether I would need a cancellation insurance. I turned this "generous" offer down as well, as most travel insurances (including mine) will cover cancellation due to force majeure or illness.

The most irritating part was that they even charged you when you were to pay with your credit or debet card. Clever of them, you may say, as you hesitate to stop your booking when you are at the end of the process.

Not clever in the long run, as you may choose to book and use your card for free on other competing sites.

I found travelstart.no a very pushy site to use, and will avoid it in the future.

Luckily the return ticket with Brussels Airlines ended up at a total of NOK 770 or 89,30 EUR, with no Travel Assist or cancellation insurance. Not bad really. A quick price check a week later, revealed that Travelstart would at that point charge you 945 NOK / 109 EUR for the same ticket excluded all fees.

Use different options - save money

Conclusion: You are well advised to check whether there are competing airlines on the destination you plan to travel to. You may save money booking different airlines instead of staying with one of them. Do check with other sites as well, but be aware of hidden fees.

Another trap is that some airlines and booking sites may charge you for services that are included in other air carriers total prices. You will discover as much when booking, and you are recommended to stop your booking and try another site or competing airline, unless the basic price is unbeatable including fees.

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