I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been super busy with work. I just released a new course titled Social Marketing Results, and I’m gearing up for my next trip – this time to speak at an event in Las Vegas.
I finally got the dates & details worked out (I know, Last Minute Lynn!) and sat down to book my flight this morning.
Booking flights online can be a bit of a chore (in my opinion).
I always start with CheapTickets.com, Priceline, and Southwest Airlines. There are tons of options, but I’ve narrowed it down to those three as my top sources when I’m planning a trip…
And I travel A LOT – lol, which I’m sure you’ve noticed, or at least guessed from the title of this site.
I mentioned booking a flight is a chore, but to be fair I’m not much of a shopper – and even less of a bargain shopper.
I get overwhelmed pretty quick with all the flight options, choosing departure times, comparing rates, waiting for sites to “find a deal” (load time), etc. It just is NOT my favorite online activity. lol.
That’s one of the reasons I really like the Southwest Airlines Website…
It loads super fast, and it’s super easy to choose from the flight options – and check out pretty quickly. Compared to other flight-booking websites, it’s definitely the easiest and fastest to use. But I do compare of course, before making a final decision. I try to be smart about it, chore as it is. Ha!
You have to be cautious with your comparisons though. For example, I wanted to fly from Nashville to Vegas on specific dates (with a bit of flexibility on my return flight). At both Priceline.com and CheapTickets.com I found the same flight fare of $288 round trip.
On Southwest.com the cheapest flight I found was $350. BUT, after considering the details of both flight options, I opted to fly Southwest. And here’s why:
The cheaper flights charged $25 for a checked bag, each way, totaling an extra $50. That made them a savings of only $12 AND those flights had layovers both ways. The Southwest flights were nonstop, and they allow up to two bags checked in free. So it definitely wasn’t worth saving $12 for the hassle of changing flights there, and back too.
I could choose to do carry-on luggage only of course, saving the $50. But that means lugging baggage on both layovers. It also means you can’t bring any real liquids. When I check my bag I can bring my favorite facial moisturizer, lotion and hairspray. It’s just no fuss, toss it in the bag, check it in, and go.
I also have a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account, so I take that into consideration as well. While I have rewards accounts with other airlines, none of those showed up for the trip I wanted to book.
If you travel any at all, I recommend you take the time to sign up for airline & hotel reward accounts. I’ve cashed points in for all sorts of things, from restaurant gift cards to cash – or funds applied to travel invoices. It’s definitely worth it!
So those are a few tips from a frequent traveler. I LOVE to travel, but I like to enjoy the trip as much as the destination. And sure, I like to get the best deal just like anyone else – but it pays to add up the real costs AND any inconveniences, and make a decision based on what will be the best investment AND the best experience.
Actually, I often enjoy the TRAVEL even more than the destination! LOL
I tend to fly Southwest a lot because of their free option to check in luggage, and because their website is so fast and easy to use. They have GREAT “web only deals” and I’ve experienced great service with them on many of my trips.
I’d be curious to know your favorite airlines, any tips you have for booking flights online, and what the most important factors are for you when choosing flights.