The airlines like to tease me. They know I’m an ardent traveller* and they also seem to know when I’m feeling homesick and so kindly send me emails with their latest temptations to distract me.
“Cheap flights! Cheap flights!” they proclaim, and within the blink of the eye I am standing in the kitchen flicking through the calendar and praying that the dates of the cheap flights match up with both school holidays and the husband’s work schedule. If by some miraculous aligning of the stars the dates, the school holidays, and the husband’s work schedule synchronise then I fire off a quick email to the husband to double-check that he will indeed be free to take a few days off work and we can take advantage of the “Cheap flights! Cheap flights!” ( I’m really not seeking permission from the husband but checking whether I need to book him a ticket or not.)
This time last week we had nothing planned beyond our trip back to Australia over the Christmas/New Year period, but on Thursday an email arrived with the exciting announcement that a budget airline was starting direct flights from Singapore to The Maldives and they were offering $133 one-way flights. Cheap flights! Cheap flights! The Maldives are now not the once-in-a-lifetime trip I thought they were.
And then on Monday temptation popped into my inbox again yelling “cheap flights! cheap flights!”. This time with a different budget airline and with the return leg FREE (except for the pesky taxes)! Calendar, school holidays, airline dates, email. BINGO! The stars aligned and the airline seemed to have miraculously have forgotten to blackout Vesak Day next year and as Vesak Day falls on a Tuesday and my kids attend an Australian school they have a 4 day long weekend and there is nothing us Aussies love more than a long weekend.
Ho Chi Minh City, here we come!
Cheap flights! Cheap flights!
Except, is there such a thing as a real, honest-to-goodness cheap flight? Does anyone ever book a flight for the exact amount it was advertised in the temptation emails?
I certainly have never achieved this holy grail of airline bookings but my friend, K, is a master cheap flight booker. K manages to dodge and weave the seat allocation fees (by not choosing a seat), the credit card fees (by using direct bank deposit), baggage fees (by only taking carry-on luggage) and charity donations (by donating elsewhere, not via an airline booking form!).
Sadly, I am an over-packer so we always have checked baggage, although if the 4 of us are travelling we do save a little bit by not purchasing baggage allowances for all of us. I’m also not a fan of lugging around 10kgs of carry-on luggage and then trying to force it into the overloaded luggage compartments.
I haven’t seen an option for charity donations on any of the airline’s in Asia but I have noticed that they sneakily select all the options and unless you manually change them you’ll be up for a huge amount. Look out for that when you’re booking your “Cheap flights! Cheap flights!”
I don’t think I’ve every posted a YouTube clip on my blog before but this one is too good and too relevant to not share. Many thanks to Twitchy for first sharing this hilarious aria with me.
* for the record, I consider myself a tourist, not a traveller.