OK this may not win me much love from the advertisers – but here it goes. I have never yet got a cheaper flight from a consolidator than I have achieved just by booking directly with the airlines involved. It might be that I live in New Zealand – but generally I can do better or the same by booking direct. And I avoid the third party and their fees.
I’m guessing too that its quite easy for those looking for flights to know exactly which airlines fly where! Within New Zealand your options are Air New Zealand or Jetstar. If you want to arrive at your destination – your option is really AirNZ! Within Australia there is Qantas, Jetstar, Tiger Airways, and that’s about it. Yes small populations do reduce the number of competitors!
For international flights there is more choice particularly out of Auckland. The only international destination ex-Wellington is Australia (the airport’s runway is a little short for many big jets to land at).
Top Tips for Cheap Australian and New Zealand Airfares
- avoid travelling during local school holidays, long weekends and the Christmas / New Year period;
- travelling mid-week is usually cheaper as are late night flights and mid-day flights;
- if travelling to/from Wellington/Auckland many business travellers fly this route (in both directions) for the working week so early Monday and late Friday flights tend to be expensive.
Tips for Being Your Own Travel Agent
- triple check all names match passports /ID;
- make sure you know what the official connection time is in all airports and allow for it. If you are flying a domestic route first before an international connection you will probably need to allow at least 2 hours – 3 is safer.
- AirNZ will quote you a single price including domestic legs -but it may be cheaper to book the legs separately. The advantage of the single booking is that you will be check in to your final international destination from your departure city, and they will guarantee the connection. However booking the two legs may well be cheaper – even though you will pay an extra booking fee.
- many flights now charge extra for checked luggage. If you can swing it I strongly recommend flying with carry on luggage only – its cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about your luggage turning up! If you can’t manage that maybe one bag between two of you. Qantas still gives a free 23kg luggage allowance, while Virgin and AirNZ charge.
- prices are generally cheaper about 6 months prior to flying, but not always. If sales are slow they will sometimes discount closer to the flight date. If you know how to predict this – please let me know!
- if you have to cancel you will probably get a flight credit, however missing your flight and having to re-book can be very expensive.