Although I will happily travel to see snow – I hate the cold and wet winters of New Zealand. So time to book a holiday to the tropics – and Samoa is our most likely destination this year.
Now Samoa is a destination growing in popularity with New Zealanders so I’ve been keeping an eye on airfares up there for the winter sun. Two airlines fly out of Auckland to Apia, Samoa: Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia (used to be known as Polynesian Blue and Pacific Blue). That’s why Samoa’s tourism is booming – it used to be a very expensive route when there was only one airline flying.
Now I’m fairly confident about my ability to book a cheap fare – but Air New Zealand nearly caught me out. I knew that I’d have to fly via Auckland to get to Apia so I initially searched Wellington-Apia -and didn’t like the prices I found, or the return leg which involved an over=night in Auckland and a 6am flight the next morning. That made me think – the 6am flight to Wellington on a week day is often quite expensive as its popular with the business crowd. So I checked the prices if I booked the domestic leg separately from the international flights. Yup – even booking the SAME connecting flights I could save $86. What nonsense is that Air New Zealand?
Hmm – the disadvantage with the two separate flight bookings was that I would now be personally responsible for us making the connection. If that was the case – I might as well check out Virgin. Flying Virgin on the Auckland-Apia leg dropped the price another $100 per person.
The moral of the story – always check the total of the separate flight legs before you make a through booking. By doing so I saved money and did NOT have to fly at 6am!
And check the alternative airlines – and remember you can mix and match the airlines as well, no need to go and return on the same. Make sure you allow at least a two hour check in time in Auckland – a three hour connection is much safer.
That said when flying within New Zealand and I HAVE to get to the destination on time – I don’t use Jetstar anymore – far too likely to cancel the flight! And they don’t have enough flights. If Air NZ cancels – there is likely another flight within the hour on the main routes.