Booking a flight involves charging a large sum of money to your credit card. What isn't stressful about that? Many times, the stress of booking a flight causes shoppers to make mistakes that cost them even more cash. Airline industry experts have noticed the same booking mistakes occurring again and again.
Based on the findings of a study by Flight Network -- the largest travel agency owned and operated in Canada -- travellers are costing themselves an average of $211.49 when making common booking mistakes. Keep these eight mistakes in mind when you shop for your next plane ticket, and you'll have more to spend when you arrive at your destination.
1. Being Too Antsy
Photo credit: plantronicsgermany
It's easy to get excited about an upcoming escape, but an important time to slow down is when you're booking your tickets. It's not uncommon to be smoothly sailing through the booking process when your Internet times out, computer shuts down or you find that your transaction wasn't processed. Experts recommend that you call the airline or travel agency before pressing the "submit" or "book" button again. Your transaction may have been submitted, and strict airlines have charged cancellation fees for simple mistakes.
2. Not Checking Your Flight Status
Many airlines insist that you no longer need to reconfirm your flight after purchasing your tickets, but not confirming can cost you time and money. Airline schedules change often, and most companies make it easy to log online and check your flight status before hailing a cab (and paying for it). Airlines are obligated to notify customers of changes that happen within 24 hours of the scheduled departure, but calling or logging online are fool-proof ways to find out if plans have changed.
3. Not Being Aware of Additional Charges
Checked baggage fees are no longer the only charges you need to be aware of when booking your flight. Many low-cost carriers are now charging for carry-on luggage, seat preferences, food, drinks and other amenities that are typically included with most full-service companies. Browse the airline's website for additional fees and read reviews before booking to fully understand what could cost you more at check-in.
4. Failing to Call Immediately
Seeing a typo on your booking? Call the airline or travel agency immediately. Problems as minor as using a nickname during the booking process can cause an airline to deny you at check-in. Issues with dates, destinations, names and preferences are best handled immediately to avoid unnecessary change fees.
5. Not Reading Your Emails
Emails from travel agencies and airlines may appear to be spam, but if you've just booked a ticket, it's best to open them anyway. These emails can inform you of flight changes, request alternate payment methods and provide the electronic documents you need to board your plane. Deleting an essential email regarding payment could mean that your booking was never completed, and you could be forced to purchase another ticket at a higher price.
6. Failing to Understand Change Fees
Change fees vary from airline to airline and can range from $75 per ticket to $600 per ticket. Try to be 100-percent sure you can make your flight on the scheduled departure date to avoid the outrageous costs associated with changing or canceling a flight. Always double check flight dates and times, especially when overnight flights are involved, to be sure they fit your travel schedule.
7. Forgetting About Your Travel Visa
Many countries require visitors to have travel visas before entering, and some visas require applications and long approval processes. Understand the documents you'll need for entry into each country before you find yourself in an extremely stressful situation. Applying for a visa online before you enter can save time, money and stress. Changing or canceling a flight due to improper preparation could cost you the entire price of your ticket.
8. Not Renewing Your Passport
Five or 10 years may seem like forever when you receive a new passport in the mail, but that amount of time can fly by. Check the expiration date on your passport before you book your flight to ensure you'll have the documents you need in time to fly. Expediting the passport approval and printing processes can be costly if you find yourself in a pinch.
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