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Things to Look Out for When Booking Flights

Booking flights can be stressful; it can be easy to rush into a booking when you find a cheap deal or suitable flight. Here are some things to check before booking to ensure you have the best travel experience possible.

1. Stay flexible

The more flexible you are on everything from departure and arrival airlines, and airports to travel dates and package deals, the more likely you are to get a great deal on your flight. Flying from alternative airports is often cheaper and offers better connection times than large airport hubs. For example, if you want to go to Washington DC, consider flying to Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) instead of National Airport (DCA) or Dulles International (IAD). If you're flying from London, check the different airports as Luton may be cheaper than Heathrow. Also, consider adding a layover to your journey as it's often cheaper than a direct flight.

Here at Alternative Airlines, we've developed an easy tool to help you find the cheapest days to travel. Simply enter your preferred departure and arrival dates and we'll use a traffic light system to show you the cheapest alternative travel dates around the time you want to fly. Find out more about the best fare finder tool and how to use it.

If you are flexible in which airline you want to fly with then you may be open to finding a cheaper fare. There are thousands of airlines in the world, so finding the most affordable airline for the route that you want to fly on can be quite challenging without the right guidance. Fortunately, we've researched and written a blog on the cheapest airlines in the world, which breaks down what the most affordable airlines are on each continent.

A couple laughing while planning a trip

2. Book travel insurance

Whether you’re taking a short break, travelling for work, planning a two-week getaway or taking a year out to see the world, travel insurance can give you the reassurance you’re protected against different events and disruptions, however unlikely they may seem. Make sure to purchase travel insurance before booking your flight and ensure it covers you for the duration of your getaway.

If you want to protect your booking against cancellations then Cancellation Protection allows you or any member of your party to claim a full refund on your flight if it can no longer be used due to an 'emergency circumstance'. Pay a percentage of your flight as an additional fee and protect your money in case you're unable to attend your flight due to unforeseen circumstances outside of your control.

Before making a booking with Alternative Airlines consider purchasing Cancel For Any Reason. Life is unpredictable. Unexpected situations can arise, forcing you to change your travel plans. With our Cancel For Any Reason product, you can have the flexibility to cancel your flight at any time for any reason, without worrying about airline restrictions or losing all of your money. We understand that unexpected things happen and we want to help. With this guarantee, you'll get 70% of your money back, so you can focus on what matters most.

booking flights on laptop

3. Check passports are valid

You might want to look twice at the expiration date on your passport. Even if your passport hasn’t yet expired, it still might not be valid for foreign travel. Before you travel, it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure your passport’s expiration date is six months beyond the date of your intended stay in your foreign destination(s). Make sure to check the government website to find out the passport validity requirements before booking your flights. Passports can take up to 8 months to arrive in the post and will also be an additional fee to your trip therefore, planning will give you peace of mind.

Some form of identification is required, regardless of the length of your journey or the destinations that you're flying between. For international flights, you're required to bring a passport. For domestic flights, you don't need to bring your passport but will need some form of government-issued identification. Some airlines will allow you to bring two pieces of non-photo identification that match the name and date of birth on your reservation. Whereas others will request that you bring a photo ID with the name and date of birth matching your reservation. For more information on which travel documents are required check out our guide!

family arriving at the airport

4. Research the destination you're visiting

Whether it be city-hopping or going abroad, before heading out for your next adventure, research the destination and know what to expect when you get there. One of the main reasons you must research your destination before travelling is to familiarise yourself with the activities available in the place you are interested in going. This will help you plan your itinerary accordingly.

Another reason why it is important to do your research about the place you are visiting is for you to know whether you need to get vaccinated or if you have other medical precautions to be aware of. In this case, you may want to check with your healthcare provider or a travel clinic.

It is important to know what currency other countries use because there’s a good chance that you will be using foreign currency while abroad and not your local one unless of course, you’re travelling locally.

people laughing at the beach

5. Check over your booking information

Before completing the booking process when buying flights make sure to check your passenger details such as the spelling of first and last names and ensure passengers have the correct date of birth. It's also important to include the age of the passenger when going on the trip. This will stop you from having to pay extra fees to amend your booking and in some cases stop you from not being able to use your ticket. Some airlines allow you to amend the date of birth and spelling mistakes on your booking for a fee however, some airlines will not allow you to amend this information and the ticket will be non-refundable. Please contact our Customer Service team for support if you have an error on your booking.

Always make sure you check the fare rules of the ticket or find out through the airline's website. It's better to be safe than sorry, therefore, check the passenger details, flight route, airports and flight times.

When the website asks for the passenger details make sure they match your current passport as this will be inspected at check-in and if the details don't match then you are at risk of not being allowed onto the flight. Double-check your passport number and remember to include your full name to avoid any confusion.

It's a good idea to check you have selected the correct flights otherwise you are at risk of having to pay extra fees to amend/cancel or in some cases the airline will not allow you to change/cancel. Checking you have chosen the right airport so you can arrive on time for your flight preferably 3 hours before you are due to depart to ensure a stress-free journey.

passenger at the airport

6. Add extras earlier rather than later

It's always exciting when booking flights for your next trip, however, a tip for saving money in the long run is to purchase any add-ons at the time of booking and there may be extra fees at the airport or the longer you leave it. Start your holiday off right by pre-booking your airport parking, airport lounge, airport fast-track and staying at an airport hotel before your flight.

Adding airport lounges to your booking will give you a stress-free start to your holiday. You can sit back in a secluded lounge, away from the busy terminal, while taking advantage of complimentary drinks and snacks, air-conditioning, showers, Spa, massage, Wi-Fi, magazines and newspapers. 

If you're known for being late then booking airport fast track might be the way forward. With a fast-track add-on, you can beat the queues at the airport. After check-in, you can glide your way through the security check. At the Gate, you can be among the first to board the aircraft. At the arrival airport, some airlines go as far as getting your suitcase unloaded first and allow your baggage to be among the first on the conveyor belt in the baggage claim area. You may not be able to add this once you get to the airport and by then it's already too late therefore make sure you book in advance to avoid any delays.

Would you like to choose where you want to sit on a flight or do you want to make sure to be seated next to your travelling companion? You can then book your favourite type of seat in advance whether you want a seat with more legroom, a seat in the front of the cabin or a window seat. This is an add-on for those wishing to stretch their legs and relax. We always recommend pre-booking your seats at the time of booking, this way you don't risk losing your seat due to airlines overselling flights and you can get first selection rather than taking a gamble and sitting next to a stranger.

If you're planning to take luggage then it's important to add this during the booking process, this way you don't have to worry about additional airline fees at the airport and you have peace of mind knowing it's confirmed.

If you have particular dietary requirements for your plane food, we can assist you in arranging alternative meal options. Not all airlines will provide the same standard of dietary compliance, and the options available to you might vary. Pre-book your special meals so that your dietary and religious requirements are met.

Avoid stress at the airport by ensuring your sports equipment is taken care of before you go. With your flight, you can book everything from golf clubs and bikes to skis and watersports gear. Musical instruments can also be taken care of.

plane seats

7. Read the fare rules of your ticket

The rules and restrictions of any booking rely upon the fare type that the reservation has been made under. These rules and their relevant conditions for a certain fare type are called Fare Rules. It's crucial to always check the fare rules stated on the ticket before purchasing your flight. There are different fares such as regular, lite, flexible, family, return, group and fully restrive.

The reason we encourage people to read and understand the fare rules before purchasing is that some tickets are fully restrictive and will not allow you to change/cancel your ticket and others are flexible where you can cancel for a refund or change for a fee.

To find the airline fare rules before purchasing, fill in the flight search with the airports you'd like to fly to and the preferable dates. Then select the number of passengers and the cabin class. All flights available will be displayed after you search. Click on the 'information' icon for each flight, which is coloured in light blue on the right of the screen. Once in the 'Flight details' subpage, click on 'Fare Rules' where you'll be able to see the mini fare rules. To find the extended version of your airline fare rule you need to select the flight and click the 'Confirm the Selection'.

This way you can see your available options for future use of the ticket you are purchasing and avoid not being able to change or cancel for a refund in case of an emergency.

person travelling abroad

8. Research visa requirements

Visas can open up a whole host of opportunities, from exploring the world to working in some of the most beautiful places around the globe. But why exactly do you need a visa to travel? Before actually booking your flight it’s essential to check if you need a visa to travel to that country. Some countries require visas for any traveller, while others for passports from certain countries. Check it’s an EU country, especially if you assumed you didn’t need one because you didn’t on your last trip, which could’ve been before the UK left the EU. You will certainly need one for the U.S. & Australia.

This is an important step to follow before booking your flights as without the correct visas you won't be able to enter the destination. Check the government website for more information on the country you want to visit. There are different types of visas to look out for such as tourist visas, student visas, work visas, business visas, family visas or refugee visas.

Even if you have booked travel insurance but refused your flight due to not having the correct visa, the ticket will remain non-refundable due to it being a passenger requirement to check if you have the correct travel documents.

To find out all the information you need to know on visas worldwide, including which countries are visa-free and what you should do if your VISA is refused after you've purchased your flight visit our visa information page.

Plane deprating from airport

9. Consider other payment options

Alternative Airlines is one of the only travel websites that offers a range of alternative flight payment plans to make it possible for you to pay for tickets on layaway. Together with our trusted financial service partners, we are making flight travel more accessible by offering a range of payment plans for aeroplane tickets to pay off in monthly instalments.

Looking for options to finance your flight tickets? You’ve come to the right place. Here at Alternative Airlines, you can search for flights with any airline and then select one of our financing options at checkout to spread the cost over time. As well as weekly and bi-weekly Buy Now, Pay Later options, we also offer longer-term monthly financing (3 - 36 months), so that you can choose to pay in the timeframe and frequency that's right for you.

With Buy Now, Pay Later you have the flexibility to book your flight at a time that suits you. Seat prices tend to rise when there are fewer seats available so why not book early to get the best price and pay for the flight in easy installments, with interest-free options included? We offer payment providers such as Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna, Clearpay, Sezzle and Tamara find out which option is best for you on our Buy Now, Pay Later page.

Another payment option we offer at Alternative Airlines is Cryptocurrency. Choose to pay from our range of 100+ cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC)Ethereum (ETH)Litecoin (LTC)DashRipple (XRP)Digibyte (DGB)Tether (USDT), XMoney's native token, UTK or CRO which is’s native token. One benefit is financial inclusion as cryptocurrency allows anyone to buy a flight regardless of their access to traditional bank accounts/services. This means that crypto opens travel up to all.

If you are looking to book flights, consider paying with Buy Now, Pay Later to split the cost of your tickets into smaller instalments and pay over a longer period or purchase flights with cryptocurrency for fast and secure payment.

lady smiling on the phone

10. Avoid booking during peak time

To score the best deals on flights, avoid peak travel times like school holidays, summer, and Christmas. For example, flying to Europe during the summer months of June, July, and August in Europe is almost always more expensive than a trip during the fall or winter (except around Christmas, another peak travel period). Similarly, the Caribbean heats up with visitors during the cold weather months, followed by spring break crowds, from December through April.

The bottom line: aim for the offseason whenever you can for more affordable flights and an unforgettable experience. Use Alternative Airline's Best Fare Finder tool to search and buy the cheapest flights in one simple, secure transaction.


So there you have it! By keeping these things in mind when booking your flight, you can navigate the process with confidence and snag the best deal possible. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way. So next time you're ready to explore the world, put these tips into practice and take off with confidence!

Start your flight search here with Alternative Airlines!

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