Making the decision to book a flight to Europe is one that most people don't take lightly. After all, it's a big financial commitment. Before you bite the bullet and part with your hard earned cash, take a look at five things I think you should know before you book your flight to Europe.
1. Flexibility may reduce the price
If you're ready to book your flights you're going to be fairly sure of the dates you want to travel but it's always a good idea to compare the price of the same flight a few days either side of your preferred travel date.
Mid-week flights can sometimes be cheaper than those on weekends, and airline prices vary, too, so if you can be a little flexible you might end up saving some money.
Altering your preferred departure date from Australia might also mean you travel in a different 'season'. A 'shoulder season' fare might be a couple of hundred dollars less than a 'peak season' fare so if you can be flexible it might be worth your while.
2. Payment deadlines
Airlines have strict payment deadlines. Generally speaking, if you book your flight online, either on the airline's own website or via a booking site such as Expedia, you'll have to make your payment straight away using a credit card.
Travel agents can usually hold your flights for either 3 or 7 days (depending on the airline you are flying with) before the full payment is due.
3. Passenger names
You'll need to know the correct names of all those in your travelling party exactly as they are shown on each individual's passport. If you've always known your friend as Charlie but his passport say Charles, then Charles it has to be on his airline ticket.
Name changes are usually not allowed once an airline ticket has been issued, so get it right from the start or you may be up for a ticket re-issue fee. When you get to the airport, if the passenger's passport and airline ticket don't match, they can be refused carriage.
4. Know your itinerary
Know the city that you would like to fly in and out of, as well as your exact dates of travel.
Airlines do charge for amendments to itineraries, including travel dates, so before you hand over your payment, make sure you're happy with your flight route and dates, and know the penalties should you need to alter your travel plans.
5. Cancellation fees
Should the unexpected happen and you need to cancel your flight after you've paid for your ticket, you can expect to pay a cancellation fee.
Fees can differ depending on the airline and the type of fare you have purchased, so check the cancellation conditions and make sure you have adequate travel insurance to cover you if the unexpected does occur.
Further reading: How to choose the right travel insurance policy for your trip
Armed with all the above information, you should be able to book your flight to Europe with confidence.
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Note: The above information is of a general nature only and refers to travellers booking a long-haul flight from Australia to Europe/UK/Ireland. All travellers should check the specific terms and conditions of the airfare they are purchasing before making their payment.