An increasing number of travellers are getting savvy to the perks of so-called ‘travel hacking’ – booking separate flights with two or more airlines for one route.
From more choice and control to getting yourself an amazing deal, there are lots of incentives when it comes to self-connecting travel.
Still, there are plenty of challenges. With that in mind, here are our top tips when it comes to booking a flight with multiple airlines.
Plan like a pro
Spend a little bit of time planning and you’ll save a lot of time in the long run. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time between connections – take into account luggage and security queues, as well as downtime, time to eat, freshen up, etc.
You can also give yourself the edge by using one of the many new travel platforms that provide real-time info on delays. Most send you push notifications on up-to-date information regarding departures, too. Volario, for instance, uses algorithms to provide you with accurate gate-to-gate times during the booking process. So, you’ll have a clear idea of whether you’ll have enough time to reach the next flight during a layover.
In addition, if, for whatever reason, you have picked a tight connection (sometimes that deal is just too good to turn down), give yourself even more of a chance and book a seat that’s close to the front of the plane for a quick and easy exit.
Connect the dots
Your route should be a smooth one. Try to book with airlines that have either an official alliance or interlining agreement, as without one you may be left to deal with any problems that might come up (flight delays, lost luggage, etc).
One workaround is to use a virtual interlining platform like Volario. You’ll be able to make connections where an interlining agreement doesn’t exist, yet you’ll still be covered if your flight is delayed.
When it comes to choosing destinations, why not consider adding a stopover (essentially, a layover over 12 hours)? While spending time waiting around for a flight is not everyone’s idea of fun, if the time is put to good use, it can be a great option. Whether it’s a base to catch some much-needed rest at a bargain hotel or a whistle-stop tour of a city you’ve always wanted to visit, a stopover can be a valuable addition to your journey, especially if you’re saving money with the connection.
Finally, avoid booking the last flight of the day for a connecting flight. Flight cancellations do happen from time to time and, if they do, the airline will put you on the next available flight – just make sure that this isn’t the next morning, which might not fit in with your budget or travel plans. The airline might cover the costs of a hotel, but the lost time could hamper your overall travel plans.
Keep costs down
One of the great things about self-connecting travel is the amount of money you can save. So, cast your search far and wide. Then, when you’ve found some bargains and your mind is made on a route, book it all in one go. If you buy one part of the journey and leave another part for even a week later, it might sell out. Or it could end up ramping up in price.
Another way to keep costs down and make connections a lot easier is to travel light. Carry-on luggage is perfect for the connecting traveller. There’s less hassle and less chance of being stung by extra luggage costs from multiple airlines.
A good way to keep it cheap is to look for city pairings. Travel hacking is all about finding those major cities that have regular routes at great prices – and there are plenty of them out there! That’s because flight prices are based on supply and demand, rather than distance.
Be smart with your luggage
If you’re travelling on more than one ticket and without an interlining agreement between airlines, it’ll be down to you to collect and recheck your luggage. It’s not an ideal scenario – especially if you’re looking for an easy-going, stress-free travel experience. A better way is to book via a virtual interlining platform like Volario, which makes automated baggage check-through simple on selected flights and airports.