Top 10 Flying tips

Pack a pair of headphones

Most airlines provide in flight entertainment and sometimes you get headphones, but it won’t take up much room to pack a spare pair just in case.

Consider hidden city ticketing

Travellers long ago discovered a trick known now as “hidden city” flights. In a nutshell, sometimes a flight that connects in a city you want to go to is cheaper than flying directly to it. So instead, you book that cheap flight which connects in your desired city and hop off there, not taking the ongoing connection. It should go without saying this is risky for many reasons. Here are some factors to consider:

  • If your luggage is checked, it may go on to the final destination. For this reason, with hidden city ticketing it's best to have carry-on luggage only.
  • You may not be allowed off the plane (if the same plane is continuing onward to its final destination).
  • Airlines may detect that you did not take your connection. The consequences of this are hard to say, especially since people miss flights all the time. There is now a web search engine which finds hidden city tickets for you. It's called Skiplagged and was even sued by United Airlines who were angry about this debatable hack. We have never used the hidden city approach, but I know several who have, and they've scored some thrifty savings. Use at your own risk!

Keep it simple

A game can keep kids occupied and make the journey fly by – but you don’t want to be carrying lots of equipment to make it work. So keep it simple. Easy games like I-Spy are the best. Get ideas for more simple, cost-free, games you can play with the kids on your next journey.

Consider a backpack for hand luggage

Gretta from Mumsdotravel.com says: “my kids are teenagers now, but my top tip for flying with younger children is to have a backpack as hand luggage so that you have both hands free. That makes it easier for you to carry your child, or hold their hand, or push a buggy, or show your passports or whatever else you need to do at the airport.”

Hold your baby up high

Ok, so this one won’t work for everyone, but some parents have found that holding their baby above their head makes them stop crying. No scientific reason we can think of for this one working but hey, if it does the trick… Not one to do on takeoff though!

Stay Organized

Keep all your information in one place by using App in the Air or TripIt, two apps that do things like consolidate your flight statuses, check-in times, gate numbers, and nearby lounge locations, and will update you on schedule and gate changes.

Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards

You earn Rapid Rewards based on the type of fare your purchased. You’ll 6X the points per dollar for Wanna Get Away fares, 10X for Anytime, and 12X for Business Select. As you climb into A-List and A-List Preferred your earning rates go up. Here are the earnings for an A-List and A-List Preferred member.

Buy flights in bulk

As a general rule, you will get better value on your flight tickets if you buy more at the same time, but only if they are with the same airline, or airlines in the same alliance (e.g. Star Alliance). For example, flying a return ticket from New York City to London with United Airlines will be cheaper than 2 one-way tickets. You can also take advantage of this on multi-city flights. For example, Virgin Atlantic has routes from New York City to London, London to Shanghai, and Shanghai to New York City. If you book all these at the same time using the multi-city search function on Skyscanner, you'll save some serious cash. Another way to bulk buy flights for less is with round the world tickets and regional passes. These are special tickets offered by airline alliances that let you go around the world, a continent, or a country at a discounted rate. To learn how to book these, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to round the world tickets. All this said, sometimes a few separately booked flights with budget airlines is still cheaper than what partner airlines can offer. The only way to be sure is to use a site like Skyscanner, punch in your destinations, search as multi-city or return vs multiple one-way bookings, and compare yourself.

Check Real-time Reports

Like a jilted lover, airline apps are usually the last to know when things are going wrong. Use FlightStats to track flight statuses, on-time performances, weather conditions, and even the flight history of your specific aircraft, all in real-time so that if your plane is delayed, you can be the first to know and the first to get rebooked.

Pack each child a plane bag

Katie from mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk says: “pack them a plane bag – We have three young children and my girls have amassed many flights between them at a young age. We always pack a plane bag for them, we don’t let them see if before we get on the flight and in it are cheap pocket money toys to keep them entertained. Things you can buy in supermarkets and that only cost a couple of pounds each, like crayons, colouring books, little sets of Lego they can build and of course sweets in case all else fails! They love it and get excited to open them as soon as we are up in the air.”

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