Flight Guide – How To Choose The Right Flight
There are two main types of flights, one being charter flights and the other being scheduled flights. They both offer travellers and holidaymakers the opportunity to travel to their chosen destination. Most people don’t really care what the flight type is as long as it gets them there on time! There are considerable differences between the charter flights and scheduled ones and knowing the difference can make a difference. If you know the difference between the charter and scheduled flights you can plan your travel arrangements better and more importantly save money.
Charter Flights or Holiday Flights
Charter flights are flights where a company rents an entire aircraft usually for a season. Generally the seasons run from May – October (summer season) and November – April (winter season). There are also times where travel firms may charter aircraft for shorter durations. This is generally done for busy dates such as Christmas and New Year or during the school holiday dates. It is a lot more expensive to hire an aircraft on this basis than renting one for a whole season. The charter company (the holiday firm) agree to pay the airline a set amount to operate each flight. From this the holiday firm know what the cost of each seat is so they can set the flight prices. Even if the flight goes with three passengers on it the airline operating the flight will still get paid in full by the holiday firm or company that chartered/rented the plane. So if there are lots of seats left the holiday firm have nothing to lose by reducing the price if they have to. They may still be able to break even or at worst they will not lose as much money as they would have if the plane is empty. If the cost of a return ticket is £150 and they have to sell a large number at £80 they will lose lots of money but not as much as they would on an empty flight.
Getting Cheap Flights
Armed with this information you now know that if there are seats left and it’s getting close to the departure date the holiday firms will generally reduce the prices to get something back. So make sure you look at the prices to see if they are steadily coming down. Holiday firms are not run by idiots (normally!) so they are not going to sell at a loss if they don’t have to. Don’t expect them to have lots of seats left to sell for popular busy dates. They will sell most of these dates out either by reducing the prices slightly even if they even do that! They may sell the flights with accommodation they are committed to as a package so they can sell rooms they have as well.
Scheduled flights operate like a bus. They go at a set time as per their schedule and they have a general standard fares. Like on trains and coaches you can generally get off-peak deals and early booking deals. If the flight goes half empty it will and he scheduled airlines will not generally offer really cut price prices at the last minute. This is not to say the scheduled airlines are not bothered they do have ways to offer cheaper flights on certain flights if you know where to look!
In very simple terms the main difference between the flights are that scheduled flights are like buses and trains and charter flights are like private coach bookings. However they are far from simple in the way they manage their load factors so that they operate profitably. Just to confuse things some of the holiday firms even operate some of their flights on a scheduled type basis.
Some Popular Charter Flights/Companies
Thomas Cook Airways
Some Popular Scheduled Airlines
British Midland (BMI)
Whatever airline type or airline you chose make sure you shop around to make sure you are getting the best price at the time you book. Prices can go up as well as down depending on supply and demand. There are so many reasons why prices change mixed in with other factors it is hard to decide when to book (that’s for another day!). If you are happy with the price of the flights then go for it.