Smart Travel Tips 2.0

I’ve been asked by quite a few people on how I’m always able to get such a good deal on flights, and how I can afford to fly Business/First class or get so much leg room. It’s actually not too hard with a bit of planning and a bit of work. I’ll do my best to explain and if anyone has any questions they can just message me. This Smart Travel Tips 2.0 section has been updated for 2019 and includes multiple new additions since my original 2017 post so be sure to read.

Good Deals on Flights

1. I tend to travel off season, so flights usually cost about half as much as they usually would peak season. I have the flexibility at my work place to be able to travel during slow times, or ask for permission to take time off at a specific time. I usually schedule my trips around these slow times, and on the shoulder seasons where I’m travelling to. For example, this next trip I’m going to France in March… when very few travel there, but its still warm enough to be able to enjoy my trip.

2. I use a multitude of different websites in my flight selection process, but I usually start with Google Flights to get a general idea of the path I’m going to take, or the airline I’m going to take. Expedia, which most people use, is actually typically the most expensive, and sometimes by quite a long shot. I usually get the best deal from the airline itself, or on Google Flights. The advantage to booking with the airline itself is that if for some reason you have any issues, or you need to cancel they can usually take care of it for you for free, or for a very minimal cost. Places like Expedia are way less forgiving. One such example of a good deal was when I travelled to Australia in 2016; Expedia wanted $1750, and I paid $900 with Air Canada on their website.

3. Another way of getting good deals on flights is to book one way tickets with Skiplagged. Skiplagged works by finding loopholes in airfare pricing, such as hidden-cities, to find deals that you won’t get elsewhere. So how does it work? Let’s say if I want to travel from Calgary to Toronto on August 18th and the cheapest direct flight I can find is $375… Skiplagged found a flight to Atlanta via Toronto for $240. I have saved $135. I just get off in Toronto and throw away the Atlanta portion of the ticket. There are some caveats here; you have to travel carryon only, and you can’t use your frequent flyer points because when they figure out you’ve done this they can garnish your points.

4. A few websites that I use to obtain killer deals on economy and business class seats are www.momondo.com and www.expertflyer.com. Momondo functions similar to Google Flights but provides different alternatives than Google does. Expert Flyer essentially is an elite travel hack of how to obtain the cheapest economy, business, or first class seat on a given airline for a given route. A premium membership offers you the most customizability and only costs $10 USD/mth or $100 USD/year and is highly worth it. I recently flew Calgary to Santiago, and then Sao Paulo to Calgary on Business Class for a tick above $2000 CDN. My fellow aviator Sam Chui has a fantastic explanation of how Expertflyer and Momondo works on this YouTube video.

Legroom in Economy

I use a wonderful website called http://www.seatguru.com to help me with my selection. I select the airline and type of plane that I’m going to be flying on (be careful if the airline has 2 or more configurations for the same type of plane!). I usually pick a seat in emergency exit rows, or at bulkhead areas because they allow the most leg room by far. You’re not allowed to store anything under the seat in front of you during takeoff and landing, and the first row of emergency exit seats doesn’t recline, but the back row does, so always select the back row if there are two emergency exit rows.

Business/First Class Seats

I never ever pay full price for business/first class seats. There are a few ways of obtaining these highly sought after seats while only paying a fraction of the cost, and in some cases getting it for free.

1. You can actually get the seats for free sometimes if the flight isn’t too full and you just ask the front desk very politely. You’ll have more a chance of success if you’re dressed to impressed, and not in sweat pants and wearing a shirt saying Budweiser. They want to try to keep the caliber of clientele up there to a reasonably high level, but I guess if you’re paying $5000-10000 for a seat and want to wear a Budweiser shirt then that’s your own choice and they can’t stop you.

2. There’s something most airlines offer called Bidding Upgrades, where you can actually bid a value that you’d be willing to pay for a Business/First class seat if it is still available 48-72 hours before the flight is scheduled to leave. There is always a minimum low value, and a max value. I always select the lowest value which can be as low as $200ish. If I don’t get the upgrade at that lowest bid price, then so be it, but to date I’ve always been upgraded at the lowest value. I’ve used this bidding with Air Canada, Lufthansa, Icelandair, Thai Airways, United, and Westjet (Economy Plus only of Westjet).

Travel Light

I travel exceptional light, which saves hundreds of dollars every year because I’m not having to pay for baggage fees. It also allows me to just grab my bag, get off the plane, and start my adventure. There’s no waiting for your bag… if it ever even arrives. The last 3 times I’ve checked my bag it has not shown up… I always use Osprey bags because they have a lifetime warranty, are super comfortable, and are extremely practical. My last blog post I went into detail of how I pack, and what bag I use, so I’ll refer you back to that blog post.

Pack Your Own Food

If I am travelling on economy I always pack my own food. Who in their right mind would pay $12 for a club sandwich? I usually bring protein bars, banana’s, a collapsible refillable water bottle, and if it’s a long flight I’ll make a sandwich, or if I’m feeling lazy pickup Subway for $5.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

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2018-03-09 – Paris Bound!!!

This blog post is going to be a bit of a nerdout session for my fellow aviation enthusiasts. I’m on my way to Paris and chose to fly Icelandair this time, namely because they had a smoking hot deal on flights ($602 including taxes, roundtrip in Business Class ($1 upgrade)), and secondly because this will probably be the last time I fly on a Boeing 757 (they’re nearing extinction), my second favorite airplane behind the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

I’m actually cruising right now at 35000 feet over the middle of the ocean on my way from Vancouver to Reykjavík. I just finished a fantastic steak dinner with some delicious Icelandic beer! Icelandair prides themselves with quality service, gate to gate wifi, and friendly staff. They charge a fraction of what the big guys charge for flights to Europe, allow up to a 7 day pitstop in Iceland free of charge, and their seats are just as comfortable in Economy Class, and almost as comfortable in Business Class.

Why is the Boeing 757 my favorite aircraft? A few things; one being that it is quite stunning of an aircraft to look at, the interior is spacious, and the cabin is very comfortable. It has that big aircraft feel, without actually being a widebody aircraft. I also absolutely love the sound of the Rolls Royce RB211 engines, especially when they’re spooled up for takeoff. They sound powerful and agressive.

The Boeing 757 dates all the way back to 1981, before I was even born. It was designed and produced alongside Boeing’s larger sister plane, the Boeing 767. The two airplanes were jointly designed to reduce costs, and both were Boeing’s first two-crew memeber class cockpit airplane. Having two crew-member’s instead of three would shave running costs down significantly. The Boeing 767 was an immediate success with airlines because it had the passenger carrying capabilities, the size, and the range that airlines needed. It could fly short haul and long haul routes. The Boeing 757’s potential wasn’t realized until much later on. Sales were fairly slow until the early 1990’s and then all dried up by 2005. Boeing stopped production this year, with 1049 being built. Overall though it was considered a successful project.

So why wasn’t it’s potential realized until later on? It was a narrow body airliner with two engines and impressive range (nearly 4000 nautical miles), so on paper it seemed great, but there was one catch. When the airplane was first concieved the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) didn’t allow for anything less than three engines to be more than 120 minutes away from land, forcing airlines to take the long way round when hoping the ocean, and this wasn’t good for their bottom line. In fact most Boeing 757’s ended up being run on only domestic runs for the first eight years of their life, with few ever making Transatlantic or Transpacific flights.

That all changed in 1988 when the FAA allowed 180 minute ETOPS (Extended Operations) for twin-engined airplanes. The Boeing 757 sales started picking up, but the potential of this airliner was still not recognized. It wasn’t until the late 2000’s that airlines started to realize the potential of this airline on long and thin routes. All the other airliners were either too big, or didn’t have the range required to do long Transatlantic and Transpacific flights, but the Boeing 757 was perfect to produce a profit on these routes.

The problem now is that many of these airframes are over 30 years old and many airframes are at the age where they have to be retired. There is no direct replacement for the Boeing 757 at the moment. The Airbus A321LR and the Boeing 737 MAX 10 barely have the same range and the same capacity, but they’re missing a few key components; engine power, cargo capacity, large cargo container handling, comfort, etc. This is leaving many airlines pushing the life of these Boeing 757’s even further, with some airlines saying they’re going to run them for atleast another 10 years. This will make some nearly 40 years old when they retire.

Boeing or Airbus need to get the ball rolling on a replacement for the Boeing 757, and fast. It’s estimated another 4000 airframes will be required in the next 20 years to fill the gap the Boeing 757 will be leaving, and the ever growing market is requiring. My heart is with Boeing aircraft, so I hope Boeing comes up with a solution that’s better than Airbus’s solution, and quicker!

Stay tuned for my next blog post, which I’ll be writing about my first days experiences in Paris.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

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Smart Travel Tips

I’ve been asked by quite a few people on how I’m always able to get such a good deal on flights, and how I can afford to fly Business/First class or get so much leg room. It’s actually not too hard with a bit of planning and a bit of work. I’ll do my best to explain and if anyone has any questions they can just message me. I’ve thrown in a few bonus pieces of information too.

Good Deals on Flights

1. I tend to travel off season, so flights usually cost about half as much as they usually would peak season. I have the flexibility at my work place to be able to travel during slow times, or ask for permission to take time off at a specific time. I usually schedule my trips around these slow times, and on the shoulder seasons where I’m travelling to. For example, this next trip I’m going to France in March… when very few travel there, but its still warm enough to be able to enjoy my trip.

2. I use a multitude of different websites in my flight selection process, but I usually start with Google Flights to get a general idea of the path I’m going to take, or the airline I’m going to take. Expedia, which most people use, is actually typically the most expensive, and sometimes by quite a long shot. I usually get the best deal from the airline itself, or on Google Flights. The advantage to booking with the airline itself is that if for some reason you have any issues, or you need to cancel they can usually take care of it for you for free, or for a very minimal cost. Places like Expedia are way less forgiving. One such example of a good deal was when I travelled to Australia in 2016; Expedia wanted $1750, and I paid $900 with Air Canada on their website.

3. Another way of getting good deals on flights is to book one way tickets with Skiplagged. Skiplagged works by finding loopholes in airfare pricing, such as hidden-cities, to find deals that you won’t get elsewhere. So how does it work? Let’s say if I want to travel from Calgary to Toronto on August 18th and the cheapest direct flight I can find is $375… Skiplagged found a flight to Atlanta via Toronto for $240. I have saved $135. I just get off in Toronto and throw away the Atlanta portion of the ticket. There are some caveats here; you have to travel carryon only, and you can’t use your frequent flyer points because when they figure out you’ve done this they can garnish your points.

Legroom in Economy

I use a wonderful website called http://www.seatguru.com to help me with my selection. I select the airline and type of plane that I’m going to be flying on (be careful if the airline has 2 or more configurations for the same type of plane!). I usually pick a seat in emergency exit rows, or at bulkhead areas because they allow the most leg room by far. You’re not allowed to store anything under the seat in front of you during takeoff and landing, and the first row of emergency exit seats doesn’t recline, but the back row does, so always select the back row if there are two emergency exit rows.

Business/First Class Seats

I never ever pay full price for business/first class seats. There are a few ways of obtaining these highly sought after seats while only paying a fraction of the cost, and in some cases getting it for free.

1. You can actually get the seats for free sometimes if the flight isn’t too full and you just ask the front desk very politely. You’ll have more a chance of success if you’re dressed to impressed, and not in sweat pants and wearing a shirt saying Budweiser. They want to try to keep the caliber of clientele up there to a reasonably high level, but I guess if you’re paying $5000-10000 for a seat and want to wear a Budweiser shirt then that’s your own choice and they can’t stop you.

2. There’s something most airlines offer called Bidding Upgrades, where you can actually bid a value that you’d be willing to pay for a Business/First class seat if it is still available 48-72 hours before the flight is scheduled to leave. There is always a minimum low value, and a max value. I always select the lowest value which can be as low as $200ish. If I don’t get the upgrade at that lowest bid price, then so be it, but to date I’ve always been upgraded at the lowest value. I’ve used this bidding with Air Canada, Lufthansa, Icelandair, Thai Airways, United, and Westjet (Economy Plus only of Westjet).

Travel Light

I travel exceptional light, which saves hundreds of dollars every year because I’m not having to pay for baggage fees. It also allows me to just grab my bag, get off the plane, and start my adventure. There’s no waiting for your bag… if it ever even arrives. The last 3 times I’ve checked my bag it has not shown up… I always use Osprey bags because they have a lifetime warranty, are super comfortable, and are extremely practical. My last blog post I went into detail of how I pack, and what bag I use, so I’ll refer you back to that blog post.

Pack Your Own Food

If I am travelling on economy I always pack my own food. Who in their right mind would pay $12 for a club sandwich? I usually bring protein bars, banana’s, a collapsible refillable water bottle, and if it’s a long flight I’ll make a sandwich, or if I’m feeling lazy pickup Subway for $5.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here