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Helpful tips for flight bookings

The search for a cheap flight ticket, passing through security checks at the airport and sitting for a long time in the far too cramped economy class: travelling by plane can be a stressful situation even under the most favourable conditions.

According to a survey by online travel agency Expedia, 86 per cent of German air travellers say that flying has a certain potential for stress - 37 per cent even find it quite or very stressful. And the stress doesn't just start on the day of travelling. More than a third of those surveyed already feel stressed when searching for a cheap flight offer. The search causes even more stress than full hand luggage compartments and the proximity to unfamiliar seat neighbours on the plane.

To make holiday planning easier for travellers, Expedia has compiled data-based tips and tricks in its new Air Travel Hacks Report that will not only save air travellers time and money, but also help them start their holiday in a more relaxed way. The report is the result of a collaboration between Expedia, Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and Official Airline Guide (OAG) and is based on billions of data points and insights from the world's largest airline ticketing database.

"Airlines are increasing capacity and improving service to meet the continued demand for air travel in 2023," says Chuck Thackston, managing director of data science and research at Airlines Reporting Corporation. "Air travel has proven resilient in recent years and more and more travellers are flying for both business and leisure."

Flight booking tips

According to the Expedia survey, 35 per cent of German passengers find the search for a good flight offer stressful. More than half (54 per cent) check three or more websites before booking, and more than one in eight also check ticket prices again after booking to see if they could have saved even more.

Sunday booking: The best day of the week to book international flights is Sunday. Those who book on Sundays instead of Fridays can save an average of 20 per cent.

Take off on Fridays: Friday is the best day to take off. If you choose this day of the week, you can save an average of 17 per cent on international flights. Monday should be avoided as a departure day.

Observe price trends: Average flight prices for international flights are significantly less volatile compared to the previous year. According to the Expedia analysis, there is only a six per cent difference between the day with the highest and the day with the lowest average ticket price. Travellers have the best chance of saving money if they book four months in advance. The average is three per cent. It is also advisable to use travel apps to monitor the prices for the desired flight connection. Expedia members can activate the "Price Watch" function in the Expedia app and automatically receive a push notification when prices change, allowing them to book at a favourable time.

Tips for avoiding cancellations and delays

Possible flight cancellations and delays are the number one stress factor when travelling by air, according to an Expedia survey. 57 per cent of German passengers become anxious at the thought of these unforeseeable events. Those who take appropriate precautions can minimise the risk of cancellations and delays.

Pay attention to the departure time: Data from Expedia's Air Travel Hacks Report shows that, on average, flights departing between 9am and 3pm are the least likely to be cancelled. Flights departing between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., on the other hand, are 39 per cent more likely to be cancelled.

Choose the right month to travel: Choose the right month to travel: Choosing the right month to travel can pay off: According to the data analysis, July was the month with the longest average flight delays so far this year (62 minutes). In January, April and May, the average delay was only 38 minutes.

Tips for the day of travelling

Packing suitcases, travelling to the airport, security checks: as Expedia's survey results show, air travellers feel less stressed by the flight itself than by the steps and preparations beforehand. For example, only 16 per cent are afraid of having to sit next to a stranger for several hours in a confined space.

Organise your travel documents: According to an Expedia survey, 65 per cent of German air travellers are afraid of forgetting their passport at home. This has actually happened to 12 per cent - they only noticed the faux pas at the airport. In order to keep track and not forget anything, it is advisable to check the validity of your passport in good time and to pick out important documents a few days before travelling and keep them in a clearly visible place. Travel documents such as booking confirmations are less likely to get lost if they are stored digitally on your mobile phone. If travellers book individual components such as flights, accommodation, rental cars and activities via a provider such as Expedia, all documents are automatically stored in the app in a clearly arranged manner.

Arrive at the airport on time: For 49 per cent of air travellers in Germany, even the journey to the airport is stressful. There is too much uncertainty about the traffic situation on the roads and the punctuality of public transport. To avoid unnecessary stress, travellers should definitely allow a little extra time for possible traffic jams or delays.

Take precautions: Another stress factor on the day of travel is long queues and crowds, which cause unpleasant goose bumps for 44 percent of air travellers. If travellers feel too stressed by the crowds at the airport, it is advisable to fly at less popular travel times. According to Expedia, February is the quietest month and Tuesday the quietest day of the week in terms of flight demand. At selected airports, travellers can also conveniently book a time slot for the security check in advance free of charge. Stressed travellers are best off spending the waiting time until departure in less frequented areas of the airport. According to the Expedia survey, these are book and magazine shops as well as toilets. It is not for nothing that the latter are nicknamed "quiet places".

The survey was conducted online by OnePoll, a strategic market research company, on behalf of Expedia from 29 August to 5 September 2023 with 1,000 adult air travellers from Germany. Recommendations on the best days of the week to book, departure and ideal booking period are based on average prices for return tickets departing from Germany from January to August 2023. Recommendations on the best time of day and ideal month to fly are based on the flight status of flights from Germany during the period.

This article is from the 1/2024 issue of the magazine "Life Abroad".

The magazine is published four times a year free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

It is published by the BDAE, the expert for protection abroad.