Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in Australia and overseas, it pays to be prepared when booking domestic and international travel. One way to protect yourself from airline charges or cancellations is by purchasing flexible airline tickets.
In certain situations, booking a flexible ticket can help you save money and avoid headaches if your travel plans change. Below, we’ll explain the basics of flexible airfares, including how they can benefit you and where to purchase them.
As you’re likely aware, airlines offer multiple classes of service, including economy, business, and first-class. Sometimes, there are also different types of fares within these classes – each of which is priced differently and has its own set of conditions.
For example, on the cheaper end of economy tickets, you may find “basic economy” fares. Often, these fares don’t allow you to choose your seat or check any baggage (unless you pay additional fees). On the more expensive end, there are other fares such as “flexible” fares, which come with more traveller-friendly perks.
Let’s look at a real-world example from Qantas. The national carrier offers three cash fare options for its domestic flights: Economy Red e-Deal, Economy Flex, and Business. (Qantas also has several “Flex” options on its international tickets, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on the domestic fares in this example).
With the Economy Flex fare, you’re free to change the dates of your travel – without paying the $99 change fee that’s required with the Economy Red e-Deal fare. Similarly, you can request a ticket cancellation for a $99 fee (whereas cancellations aren’t possible with Economy Red e-Deal). You’ll also earn more points and status credits than you would with the cheaper fare.
There are several reasons that you might consider buying a flexible ticket. But they’re best in situations where you need to be able to change or cancel your flights without paying a huge penalty fee.
Having this type of flexibility is particularly important in today’s uncertain times. Over the past two years, we’ve seen domestic and international borders close with very little notice, so having a flexible ticket can bring you peace of mind in case your travel plans are disrupted.
At the moment, many airlines are offering travellers more flexibility with all of their bookings (not just flexible fares). For instance, Qantas customers can make unlimited fee-free date changes to their bookings as long as they pay any applicable fare difference. (This is a temporary policy that’s separate from the domestic and international flexible tickets described above).
Interested in booking a longer trip? With round-the-world flights, you can travel across the entire globe at your own pace, building a tailor-made itinerary that’s specific to your interests. RTW flights are highly flexible and cost-effective, so you can experience more of the world on your terms.
Both Lufthansa Group and Finnair have now made this even easier by removing airline imposed change fees. Additionally, fare changes have made it much less costly to purchase tickets with lower cancellation penalties – RTW tickets are more flexible than ever before.
For more information, visit the Airfare Geeks website to explore our round-the-world airfare deals and find sample itineraries.