No one likes coach. I have heard it called cattle class and goat glass. The seats are way too small, the service is always terrible, the crush of your fellow passengers is smothering and for the last several years, the fares have been doing nothing but going up.
But cattle class is so very much less expensive than business class. A quick trip to my favorite site to shop for airfares, Kayak, shows flights from Los Angeles to New York City for $474 in steerage (or economy as they call it), $760 in “Premium Economy”, an outrageous $1,161 in Business Class and a surprising $1,126 in First Class.
Cut Your Travel Costs in Cattle Class
The savings in cattle class are obvious. For the type of money you save, you have to ask yourself if it is acceptable to endure five hours of mingling in close quarters with the great unwashed. Can you put up with the insulting conditions in economy class to save two or three or five hundred dollars? It is, of course, your choice, but my answer has always been a resounding yes! Yes! Book me in economy. I have better uses for the money elsewhere.
There are other ways to save on airfare too. In an age of ever increasing fares, based on increased fuel costs, industry consolidation and corporate greed, it is important, if you must fly, to find the best fare.
It used to be that airfares where so static that the airlines actually published written fare guides. I am old enough to remember them.
Fares Will Change All the Time and By a Lot
Static fares are no longer the case. Now it seems that fares can change from one minute to the next. As a regular flyer, it has been the case that I have seen a good fare on a site like Kayak, gone to get a cup of tea and ponder whether that flight is my best option, and returned to the initial fare gone, replaced by one that is 300% higher.
The first rule then, for getting airfare deals, is to grab them when you see them. Do not hesitate. Do not wait. Do not think it over. When you go shopping for a plane ticket, be prepared to buy!
In the old days, it was also the case that the further in advance you booked a flight, the lower the fare would be. This is no longer true either.
When to Book Your Flight
According to howstuffworks.com, fares are highest from eight to 10 weeks before your flight and then again from two to three weeks before your departure. The best time to get a great ticket price is from four to six weeks before you are flying.
Also, avoid online ticket shopping on weekends, when everyone else is shopping and look for flight deals midweek, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
When you fly, the time of day and the day of the week, are also crucial in determining your airfare. Again, according to howstuffworks.com, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are generally the cheapest days to fly.
Flying the redeye, or overnight flight, can save you hundreds on your fare. Which is good if you can adjust to sleeping in a cattle class seat and being groggy the next day.
You also want to avoid travel during your destination’s high season. Try going a couple of weeks before the season starts or a couple of weeks after it ends. This kind of timing can save you lots not only on your flight, but on your hotels and rental cars as well.
Baggage Fees – Thank You American Airlines
Most airlines charge baggage fees these days. We have American Airlines to thank for that. Remember that when you book and given two equal options, one of them being American, choose the other as your way of saying thanks. If you can pack what you need into your carryon baggage you can save yourself from $20 to $40 per bag each way.
Flying is expensive. Flying in steerage class is also unpleasant and humiliating. But putting up with the horror of goat class can cut your travel costs substantially.
Buckle up and enjoy your flight.