Tiger Airways and Jetstar are the cheapest airlines for domestic travel in Australia. Tiger is usually the cheaper option but, you really get what you pay for: bad service, uncomfortable seats, and a miserly baggage allowance. Jetstar is the better option although it's usually pricier. But there is a way around that.
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US-centric: Newly-launched travel site Delaycast is a perfect complement to the similarly statistical-minded Farecast, saving you time instead of money by providing estimates on how many minutes your flight will likely be delayed. Enter the airport you're flying from and to, at what date and time range, and Delaycast analyses delay data from airlines and airports to give you the most likely scenario—the site owners state they're "within 15 minutes 80-90% of the time," and expect the predictions to get better over time. The chart above predicts a flight from New York's JFK to San Diego International, 9-10 a.m. on April 18, and the "90%" column provides the confidence interval range for the prediction for the stat geeks among us. If nothing else, Delaycast helps you figure out just how much reading or battery power you'll need once you're stuck beyond security, waiting to lift off.
Wired's How To Wiki takes on one of the ultimate stress-creators and time-wasters—airport security, naturally—and offers up a few reasonable suggestions to save time and avoid hassle that you probably haven't thought of. One of the best involves using the best kind of carry-on luggage:2. Carry a messenger bag. The topside flap gives easy access to your laptop and Ziploc of liquids and gels while the pockets provide plenty of storage for alarm-trippers. As soon as you get in line, tuck your belt, wallet, keys, watch, and phone into the sack.
The Dumb Little Man blog posts up a healthy portion of tips for those with flexible schedules and a desire to fly for free by booking themselves on overbooked flights. Along with pointing to a web site that details how many seats are left on certain flights, guest blogger Clay Collins suggests keeping your luggage light to up your chances at scoring a free flight voucher:Sometimes finding volunteers is like pulling teeth, but if the competition is fierce, airlines tend to prefer volunteers who don't have checked baggage. On a similar note, one of the few downsides to getting bumped is the extra opportunity for the airline to lose your checked luggage. Try to stick to carry-on bags. If you can leave the turbo deluxe hair dryer and extra set of golf clubs at home, do so.
US-centric: MSNBC highlights how to invoke Rule 240 to get a new flight fast any time your flight is cancelled for anything other than weather. I invoked Rule 240—which states that in the event of any flight delay or cancellation caused by anything other than weather, the airline would fly me on the next available flight—not their next available flight, which might not leave for another 24 hours. And guess what happened? A lot of United passengers made it to Boston that day&mdash on American.A relic of pre-deregulation airlines, the article says that most newer airlines won't honor rule 240, but apparently most of the older airlines still respect this rule as a matter of company policy. If you know anything more about rule 240—maybe you've invoked it yourself?—let's hear about it in the comments. For more details, check out Consumerist's rather extensive guide to Rule 240. Photo by dougww. Stranded at the airport? Don't forget Rule 240
MSNBC runs down a list of nine fees charged by at least a few airlines for things you might think are standard transactions, such as booking flights over the phone, checking luggage, and seating small children on your lap. One thing in particular to keep in mind when you make a last-minute reservation:3. Cashing in frequent flier miles without sufficient advance notice
Fee: $0-100 ... Some airlines will let you book a frequent-flier seat even up to the day of travel with no fee. These include Airtran, JetBlue, Northwest and Southwest. But others (Continental, Delta, and United) charge $75 if you book without enough notice (defined as three days on Continental but an unreasonable 22 days on Delta); and American charges an insane $100 if you book six days or fewer before departure.You may not be able to avoid all of these not-so-obvious fees (checking luggage is kind of essential), but knowing they exist can help you reason out whether it's worth asking for certain accommodations next time you fly. Photo by wili_hybrid.
One major travel headache is behind us, but for some, another holiday airport rush is less than a month away. Wired's How To Wiki collects advice for those still buying tickets and anyone who arrives to find their flights delayed or even canceled. Here's one tip your local meteorologist never bothered to tell you:Think about the direction of your flight - If you're flying to the East or Gulf coasts, book departures early in the day. In general, storm systems throughout the country tend to kick up later in the day, so avoid early evening departures.If your flight does get canceled, the wiki notes that calling the airline from a cell phone can be much more useful than waiting in a long line filled with angry customers. Of course, if you can't get on another flight, you might want to stake out a good spot to sleep. What lessons did you learn from your Thanksgiving flights? Share your hard-won wisdom in the comments.
Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Flight-tracking website Yapta, previously mentioned here when it was an Internet Explorer-only extension, has released a Firefox version of its tagging tool. The same principle applies—head to an airline or travel aggregation website, start the standard date/passengers form rolling, and then click the "Tag it with Yapta" button on any flights you want to watch. You can then set Yapta to email you any time your tagged flights change in price by a dollar amount you choose. Yapta is a free download, which requires a sign-up at Yapta's website to function, and it works wherever Firefox does
Find a good place to curl up and catch some shut-eye at the airport this holiday season with tips from web site Sleeping in Airports. For example:When you're forced to stay over in an airport due to airline problems, make sure you are granted access to their lounge. This is especially recommended for the airports with uncomfortable chairs out in the main transit/departures lounge with the usual riff-raff.Designed for budget travelers looking to save a few bucks when traveling, Sleeping in Airports may be just what you need during that red-eye delay now that one of the busiest travel days of the year upon us.
US-centric: First class airplane tickets might be less expensive than you think, according to an article from KGTV San Diego. The trick? Know the codes. While booking a flight, ask the agent about a special type of fare. It's most commonly called a YUPP. But some airlines also use codes like QUPP and Z...The leading airlines all confirmed they offer this kind of fare, describing it as either a coach seat with an automatic upgrade or deeply discounted first class. On a round trip Delta flight from Baltimore to Atlanta the QUPP fare was $638 -- that's $750 less than regular first class and nearly half the price of full-fare coach. I actually know someone who does this all the time, and it really does work. If you've been able to upgrade your travel packages with a minimum of fuss or money, please tell us how you did it in the comments.
The holiday travel season is just around the bend, meaning if you're planning to fly the friendly skies this Thanksgiving or Chrismukkah, you've either already bought your tickets or you're about to. But instead of following the time-honoured holiday tradition of spending an arm and a leg on pricey tickets or frantically running through the airline terminal to catch your flight this year, follow these simple steps to ensure your trip is as inexpensive and relaxing as it is streamlined.