|by Jason Steele|
You know when you are reading a hack travel writer when they offer such obvious suggestions: “Pack less and save on luggage fees!” or “Did you know you can fly into a secondary airport!”. No kidding, I had no idea there was more than one airport serving New York.
That is not the kind of travel advice I want to be handing out here. I want to offer helpful suggestions to get the most for you money. My tip today is to shop each leg of the flight individually. In years past, airlines were famous for the bizarre policy of charging more for a single, one way ticket, than a round trip. In fact, it is still the case when it comes to some international itineraries. On the domestic side, things have changed considerably. Just about all of the non-legacy carriers will allow you to each leg individually. Many itineraries will also price that way on legacy carriers as well.
This can make purchasing a ticket more complicated, but it will also allow you to save money and/or get the best schedule. In a few minutes, I can price each leg of my trip on two or three different airlines. While price is very important to me, sometime schedules are equally important. As vacation time becomes more of a limiting factor to me, I find myself searching for flights that leave after work, and return as late a possible before I need to be back in the office.
Once you are freed from the mentality that you need to fly a single airline out and back, all of the sudden there are new possibilities out there. You can even stay on one carrier, flying into one airport and out of the other. You can combine modes of transport, taking a rental car, bus, or train during your trip for a three legged itinerary.
That is what I did last year. I flew Southwest from Denver to Chicago Midway. I explored the Windy City and took in a Cubs game. I then took a discount bus from Chicago to Milwaukee where I rented a car and attended the Airventure airshow in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Finally, I flew Frontier home from Milwaukee, rather than return to Chicago. It took a little planning, but it all worked out to perfection.
The key is to be creative and think outside the box. Knowing which airlines fly out of which airports is a good place to start. A great resource is actually the Wikipedia page for a particular airport. It will list all of the airlines that serve that airport and all of the non-stop destinations each airline offers.
Throw the old rules out the window and come up with some creative options. It’s your time and your money, so choose each flight to meet your needs, regardless of the name on the ticket.