Booking a flight online is becoming easier and easier and the advantages are many. First of all, buying a flight online costs less, you avoid the commissions of travel agencies, you can book independently and choose the cheapest flight by comparing the numerous offers. You can also select at your convenience the day, time and duration of the trip, according to your needs and without intermediaries.
In this guide I will explain how to book a plane ticket online easily and in a few clicks, you just need to have:
- A device: computer, smartphone or tablet.
- An internet connection
- An email address
- A credit or debit card
- A smartphone app or printer for the boarding pass.
In addition to being very easy to buy a plane ticket online, it is now even more secure. Paying with a credit card has become more secure than making payments at the supermarket or at stores with ATMs. There are also different types of prepaid cards that you can recharge before you buy, so you will have even more peace of mind.
If you have never booked a flight online, don't worry because following this complete guide you will have no problems and it will be very easy.
First let's see how to proceed in a few steps, then let's discover all the tips and mistakes to avoid when booking.
How to buy a flight ticket
First you have to choose your travel destination. Take your time to research and decide on the destination that best suits your needs. You can also get inspired by the price by taking advantage of the advanced features of search engines, which thanks to their algorithms and the "Everywhere" feature suggest the cheapest destinations.
Then start outlining a rough itinerary, to better understand what will be the airport of arrival and departure.
Airline ticket search and price comparison
The time has come to engage in flight research. There are actually many variables that determine the price of an airline ticket. The best thing to do is to compare prices from different sites on search engines, such as Skyscanner, which is my favorite at the moment. For more information I invite you to read the guide on how to use Skyscanner.
Once you have filled in the search form with your flight details, the price comparator will offer you a selection of the best flights starting from the cheapest price.
This way you can choose the offer you prefer, evaluating also the number of stopovers, flight duration and departure times.
There are tons of price aggregators and I recommend comparing fares using several sites, as each one may have different offers.
Also look directly on the airline's website, as they often offer the most advantageous fare.
Find the best fares
During the research phase it is very important to write down all the information regarding the flight: departure/arrival airport, dates, times, flight schedules, stopovers and obviously the cost of the flight . Check the price of your airline ticket every day and observe any price changes and new offers.
Also check the conditions proposed by the airline, make sure if the fare includes checked baggage, if there are any restrictions on carry-on baggage, if you have a choice of seats, if meals are included, etc.
Also read the flight cancellation policies, usually the cheapest airline tickets have penalties in case of cancellation or change of flight.
How to buy the airline ticket.
Once you have chosen the best flight you can proceed with the purchase of the airline ticket. If you have searched through price comparators, you will have to decide where to buy among the different online agencies or the airline.
In any case, the procedure is practically identical: select and confirm the flight and fill in the form with your data: name, surname and e-mail address. In general, you can also select baggage, seats and meals at this stage.
In the case of low cost flights (see Ryanair) I recommend you buy any extra baggage during the booking, if you do it later it will cost you much more.
Most airlines also offer deals for booking your rental car or taking out travel insurance.
Important: Carefully check all the data entered, changing after booking, even just the name, could cost you dearly.
Once you have made sure that you have entered all the required information correctly, confirm and proceed with the payment by entering your credit card details.
If, on the other hand, you decide to search directly on the airline's website, the procedure will be similar and just as simple.
Simply fill in the form with the flight information: departure and arrival airport, departure and return day, number of passengers and proceed with the search. Then select the flight and the best fare and proceed with the booking as we have seen above.
So, you have reached the most important moment and you are one step away from purchasing your flight ticket. All you have to do is enter your credit card details and you will be immediately redirected to the page with the purchase confirmation and reservation number.
Important: Make a note of the booking code you will need to access the airline control panel to manage your booking. I usually take a screenshot of the confirmation screen, also because sometimes the email with all the flight information may not arrive.
Booking flights online: final stage
You have finally purchased your airline ticket. You should receive a confirmation email from the airline or agency online, with flight and passenger details. Remember to register online a few days before departure and get ready for your wonderful trip.
Read also: how to take the plane for the first time
Booking flights online: tips
As we said book a plane ticket online although it is now very simple very important to pay attention when buying and do not make mistakes that can cost you dearly.
According to a research conducted by Skyscanner, more than 50% of respondents admitted to have written names, dates or times incorrectly.
Unfortunately, I saw with my own eyes people who were denied boarding for various reasons.
In this guide I share with you tips for booking flights online and we will see how to avoid common mistakes.
Tips for booking flights online
Unfortunately, this is one of the most frequent mistakes that could cost you a lot of money.
It may happen that by carelessness, perhaps in a hurry, the letters are inverted or a typographical error is made, or the automatic corrector misspells the name, in short, carelessness is just around the corner.
Generally, any correction involves additional costs, also depending on the type of error and the company. The cost of a name change ranges from 30 to 150 €. Many airlines turn a blind eye to venial errors, for example, Alitalia charges changes only if it is necessary to exchange more than three letters.
Generally, if you write "Mr." instead of "Mrs." Or vice versa, you should have no problem, but I still recommend contacting the airline .
The really important thing, for most airlines, is that the first and last name on the flight ticket must exactly match the first and last name on the identification document .
Therefore, I recommend that you pay close attention during the flight booking and read the data entered several times before confirming the purchase.
Documents in order
Before buying a plane ticket make sure you have the correct documents to leave, without which you will be denied boarding.
Some countries state that the passport must be valid for at least 6 months. Also, many places outside of Europe require a visa or permits and sometimes approval times are long.
Find out what documents are needed to get to your chosen destination without problems.
Flight Booking: Wrong City
It may sound absurd, but there have been cases of people booking a flight to the wrong country. In fact, there are several cities with the same name in different countries. For example, Melbourne is in both Australia and the United States.
Then check that the chosen destination is the correct one, for security you can verify that the three-letter airport code (IATA code) corresponds to your destination.
Online airline tickets: wrong date
Another common mistake is to make a mistake in the dates. It can also happen in this case by distraction, or perhaps you have entered the correct date but have returned to the initial screen and here the date may have changed.
In short, you should always be careful and check several times.
In some cases, airlines will allow the change, especially if you notice the error immediately, but penalties may still apply.
Arrival and departure times
Have you chosen the right destination, the right date and typed in the exact names? Now you just have to be attentive to the schedules, especially when departing to distant destinations it is easy to get confused.
First we must say that if you see a "+1" near the arrival time it means that you will arrive one day after departure.
Please note that the time shown on the ticket always refers to the local time zone.
Finally, you must remember that in some countries time is not expressed in 24 hours. In that case, we will use PM for the hours from noon to 11 pm and AM for the hours from midnight to 11 am.
Airline ticket terms and conditions
One serious mistake you could make is not reading the airline's terms and conditions and rules carefully.
I understand that it can be a hassle and that you cannot wait to buy the airline ticket, but before confirming the flight reservation it is good to read all the clauses and in particular those related to cancellation, changes and refunds.
Pay attention to the NO-SHOW rule
Speaking of terms and conditions, some airlines apply a rule, known as No-Show, whereby the return flight is cancelled if the passenger does not show up for the outbound flight.
Therefore, it is advisable to find out if this rule is included in the company's terms and conditions. If there is a no-show rule and for some reason you cannot take the outbound flight, I advise you to notify the airline in time to avoid missing the return flight.
Check flight status
Although you no longer have to confirm the flight a few days before departure, as you had to do years ago, it is a good idea to check that the schedules have not changed.
I recommend checking the flight status through the airline's control panel by logging in with your credentials.
In theory, the airline should notify you by email of any changes, but you may miss the email or mistake it for spam or advertising. In any case, especially in the days after booking, check carefully the emails you receive, to make sure everything went well.
Check the price of the airline ticket
Check until the end of the booking that the price has not changed and there are no additional charges. In some cases, additional services are automatically checked automatically, such as insurance. If you see that the price has increased, deselect these services.
Please note that the fare may also vary depending on the method of payment.
Check the schedule of a stopover
If you have a layover to reach your destination, it is important to make sure there is enough time between flights to get to the gate of the next flight.
Please note that, in general, if you purchase a single ticket, your baggage will be sent directly to the final destination.
If, on the other hand, you have purchased two separate tickets, you will also have to collect your luggage and check in again, which means you will need much more time.
In addition, also make sure that the second flight departs from the same airport where you landed.
Baggage allowance and related costs
Low-cost airlines do not include checked baggage and lately some have also charged for carry-on baggage. In any case, check all baggage fees, both checked and carry-on. Note that recently many airlines also offer checked baggage transportation for a fee. Also check size and weight restrictions to avoid penalties.
ALSO READ: How to travel only with carry-on baggage
Now that you have all the information you need to book a flight online, you'll find it will be a breeze.
If you want to become a real expert and discover how to find airline tickets at the lowest price I recommend you download the free guide, where I compiled all kinds of tips and tricks to save up to 67% on booking a flight.