If you are one of those who are confuse on how to book during promo fare of Philippine airlines like Cebu Pacific, PAL Express, Tiger Airways, AirAsia Zest and similar budget carriers, this blog will discuss pointers and tips that hopefully will enable you to buy cheap tickets when they become available. Traveling by plane is far more convenient than taking boats or going for land trip right?
I have covered this topic several times in the past but some of my old posts are no longer relevant to what’s happening, it needs updating.
..and this is Penfires updates on buying promo fare tickets.
1. BOOK EARLY – Yep, like buy your tickets way ahead of your plan travel dates.
Tomorrow I will be flying Cebu Pacific from Cebu to Manila. I got my round trip ticket during a P7 base fare promo last November 2012. Yep, 10 months ago. LOL.
To be able to buy early and score those discounts, you have to plan ahead. Start planning where to go as soon as you know your VL credits. Put in your calendar your ideal travel dates so when these piso fare promos are here, you can book fast too. Your manager or supervisor will also appreciate you informing them months ahead of your VLs.
I also booked another ticket for October 2013 – this time it’s during a piso fare domestic promotions.
How much total cost of ticket bought during a P1 base fare? It’s just P611.04 round trip! And it already includes the NAIA Terminal 3 fee for the return flight Manila to Cebu. Look carefully at the sample ticket, you’ll see that I even have 15 kilos of prepaid baggage.
SAMPLE TICKET bought during PISO FARE
Round trip for less than P700 is a sweet deal!
This was an extra special piso fare because the airline did not charge it’s usual fuel surcharge which usually range from P300 to 440 per way, depending on your destination. On a ‘normal’ P1 base fare seat sale the airline charges “fuel surcharge” and you have to add it to the overall cost of ticket.
Lesson No. 1: It pays to plan ahead so you can save.
2. BE ON ALERT for National Holidays and special celebrations.
Most airlines offer discounted tickets during special celebrations and public holidays. Go check out your calendars and look for the “red dates”, chances are budget airlines will roll out their promo during these events, in fact the “115th Independence Day” promo by PAL is now out if you are interested. =)
Some like Philippine Airlines also have periodic sale like “Saturday Midnight Madness” which usually runs 7PM of Saturday Night until 7AM the following Sunday morning. But right now, it seems they have switch to “Monday Madness”. Check out PAL’s official website for updates.
Lesson No 2: It pays to know our country’s special dates. =)
3. Have an ATM or Credit Card handy for more convenience.
Cebu Pacific and PAL allow passengers to pay for tickets during promos by way of bank card or ATMs and also credit card. Aside from these two payment options, you can reserve your ticket and then pay for it in designated Payment Centers.
On Cebu Pacific – If you chose to pay via Payment Centers, you only have until 11:59 PM of the same day you book/reserve your ticket to pay for it. So if you reserve your ticket at 8 in the evening, rush to the payment center before 12 midnight. What if your chosen payment center is already close for the day? You’ll forfeit your reservation.
ZestAir and AirAsia only accepts credit card.
Lesson No 3: It pays to have ATM card/credit card to pay for your booked tickets.
4. Read Terms and Condition of your preferred airlines
You are parting with money, before you part with your funds, please do read and understand the terms and condition of your air carrier. It’s for your protection. Don’t just assume things because the friend of your friend says this is the policy or that is the rules. Nope. Read to arm yourself. Information is power.
Lesson No 4: Avoid mistakes by reading the fine prints, all of it.
5. Fast Internet please to avoid stress.
I have tried booking tickets using a dongle modem and it’s so slow. Frustratingly slow.
You’ll encounter page errors, can’t connect to page, error timed-outs. Your slow connection plus heavy traffic on the booking website plus limited slots – this can spell ‘stress.’
Remember that you are just 1 in thousands who are online and who wishes to buy those cheap tickets too. Good, fast and reliable ISP is needed to spare yourself headache and stress.
Lesson No 5: If your internet is slow, expect roadblocks. Arm yourself with loads of patience.
6. Best hour to watch out for promo
Okay, you now know to watch out for promos on special dates but at what time? Based on my observation, usually Cebu Pacific rolls out their promos at midnight, same is true for PAL and PAL Express. Whereas, Zest Air and Air Asia is usually at 8 AM. Hope they won’t change their posting schedule so this booking tip will stay relevant hehe.
Be online at the first two hours of launch, this gives you a real HIGH chance of booking the travel dates you prefer.
Lesson No 6: It’s pays to be among the first on the site right after a promo is launch.
7. Be flexible with travel dates.
We don’t always get what we want; same is true when booking much coveted slots. Flexibility will give you the edge. Say you want to fly on a Monday but you can’t find any tickets on promo for Monday (either there was really no slot open for Monday or all slots have been grabbed by “faster” passengers), well, check out the Saturday and Sunday before it and the Tuesday and Wednesday after it. You can backtrack dates more or move forward from your travel dates.
You are bound to find discounted seats especially if you will book on the first day of promo.
Lesson No 7: This is in conjunction with Lesson No 6. If you come online to book a little late, be flexible!
7. Book One Time Big Time for groups
There are disadvantages and advantages to this but if your travel companions are 100% “in”, booking as one will ensure that all of you are on the same flight and able to avail of the same promo. You may need to book as soon as a promo is launch since as mentioned, slots are high in demand.
The next question will be up to how many passengers’ airlines allows on a single booking itinerary? The best person to answer this query is the airline support staff, call them.
Disclosure: The most I’ve booked for at a single booking itinerary is 4.
Lesson No. 8: For big groups, book as one and book early.
9. Refunds on promo tickets
Vacations and travels get cancelled sometimes, it’s normal. The question now is will you request for refund on your bought ticket? This brings up Lesson no 4 again. You can refund your ticket only if the terms and conditions you agreed to upon booking say refunding is an option.
Most promo fares are non-refundable and non reroutable but rebookable.
*Re-bookable – example your original flight is Tacloban to Manila on February 2014 but since you can’t make it, you will request for a change of departure date or time. In our example, you prefer to fly Tac to Mnl on April 2014 instead.
*Re-routing – example would be say your original ticket is GenSan to Davao, but you want your ticket rerouted to GenSan to Manila.
Is refunding and rebooking practical?
Based on my experience it’s not practical especially if you book during piso fare. I called up Cebu Pacific customer hotline once to ask them how much I will pay to rebook my going to and return tickets. The customer service rep computed all the penalties, surcharges and cost of new tickets.
Note: It seems like, the csr will only offer ‘regular ticket’ and not ‘promo ticket’ if you are rebooking.
What’s the cost of my rebooking?
I originally paid P1300+ for my round trip P1 base fare tickets bought during a “normal P1 dea”l; I will have to pay P12,000+ to rebook it. LOL. SO what I did instead is accept it as it is, forget about the ticket, charge it to experience. I then book a new ticket via the “all year promo fare” that CebuPac has on its booking pages, I ended up paying lesser compared to if I’ve chosen the refund-rebook route. =)
But heyyy this is not to discourage you, I’m just sharing my own experience. I recommend you call up the hotline numbers and inquire about your particular case.
Lesson No. 9: If cancelling a flight is unavoidable, moving on might be the better choice. If you want to be certain, call airlines first.
10. Sign up for promo fare alerts to stay updated always.
Since I find it too inconvenient to be subscribed to all airlines in the country, I did the next best thing, I subscribe to a website that updates all its readers and subscribers with the latest and relevant promo fares. Not all promo launches are posted on the website, only those which they deem most relevant and useful to their readers, mostly these are domestic seat sales.
I am subscribed to 1PISOFARE whose Facebook fan page is at http://www.facebook.com/1PisoFare . You can subscribe too if you like to be on the loop. You can also search for a similar website and follow them instead or follow all airlines individually.
Lesson No. 10: In pays to be in the know so you can act fast, book early. =)
Book early! Book fast! Grad those promo fare for 2014, 2015, 2016 and beyond!