Flying in Nigeria is expensive and booking airfares can become a nail-biting experience especially if you are yet to master the trick of take advantage of discount bookings offered by airlines.
While there is nothing you can do to avoid paying more than you’d like for airfare in Nigeria, there are a few things you can avoid to keep from paying more than you should.Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking portal has identified 5 common mistakes Nigerians make when booking a flight.
Booking too early
When it comes to flying, the super early bird really does catch the worm. While booking early for travel to popular destinations, as well as travels on high-traffic days and peak seasons may seem like a good rule of thumb, getting your flight ticket more than three months before the trip will most likely not yield the best price as you will be charged a higher fare.
You stand the greatest chance for the lowest possible fare 45 days out for domestic travel and 60 days for international because outside that time window, most airline computers are not programmed to give you any kind of a deal.
Also, airlines are still confident they will find a maximum amount of passengers to fill the seats, so they keep the fare high enough for extra benefits. It seems like a very tricky thing to do but booking at the right time can save you money.
Booking too late
Neither too early, nor too late! Do not hold off too long to book your tickets especially when it is for an international trip.
Apart from business trips which very often tend to be impromptu, you can plan your honeymoon, vacations and retreats in advance. If you have already marked out the probable flying date on the calendar, why not book a flight ahead to get rebates on airfare?
In Nigeria, the difference between today and tomorrow’s airfare depending on the available seats on flight is staggering.
Some airlines still offer low-cost, last-minute flights, especially when they are running a promo, but the likelihood is slim.
The only other exception to this is the bargain shopping found at the counter of these airlines on the morning of departure. In a mad scramble to fill the plane, some airlines reduce the cost of tickets and giving you the option of saving thousands of Naira on a choice flight. This, however, is usually an option reserved for those who know how to hustle.
Booking during business hours
If you are a savvy Nigerian traveller, you will know that airline ticket prices fluctuate throughout the day and you have a chance of making substantial savings just by booking at the right hour or time of the day.
Many people who do not know this trick end up paying more for their flights.
Business hours (9 am – 5 pm) are the worst times to book your airfare as there are a large number of others trying to book a flight ticket and the rush in traffic inevitably ups the ticket rates.
Travel experts say that the best time to book a flight is actually Wednesday at 1 a.m (in the time zone the airline is based) as all of the super-low fares that were not purchased come back onto the airline’s system, providing a prime opportunity to take advantage of a glut of discounted ticket prices. Good thing is that you can do this online in Nigeria too.
Not booking with the airline
In Nigeria, there are so many platforms that assist with airfare comparison and flight bookings.
While this seems like a good option to take, especially as it makes booking super easy and convenient, it can cost you much more than you are willing to deal with. Apart from the charge they tack on to book through them, sometimes these websites get your information wrong or give you incorrect details on the airline you are booking on.
For instance, they can charge you normal flight rates when the airline is running a seasonal promo. So once you have done research and found the lowest available flight, get on the airline’s website or call them directly to book the flight yourself.
Not clearing your cookies
This might a little too tech for some travellers, but it is a huge mistake most people who book their flights online make. Every savvy traveller is well aware of the fact that most airlines track online behaviour of their users, that way they identify which flights that are searched frequently per time and up the airfare for such flights.
It is therefore important to clear your cookies or book on another computer altogether after shopping for fares on one computer, as that is the best way to counter the trend. You can even take it a step further by changing your location or simply asking someone in another location to make the booking for you. Again, you can beat the IP issue by using your mobile device as long as you it is not also using your home Wi-Fi connection.
Nkem Ndem Vivienne,
Travel/Technology Writer, Jovago.
Mob. No: +234(0)7033853356