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Can anyone advise about booking flights please?

12 replies

Champagneforeveryone · 06/08/2020 10:46

It seems I'm utterly clueless as have only ever booked short haul in the past!

DH, DS and I are going to India next year (fingers crossed!), I'm currently waiting for flights to be released. Should I be booking immediately they are released if the price is OK (I've budgeted £2k for flights) or hold out?

I'm a member of Jacks Flight Club and I've seen amazing bargains but am fully aware that this is a "right time right place" scenario.

We are joining an organised tour so have little to no flexibility on dates and live in the southwest so ideally London airports only.

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lurker101 · 06/08/2020 11:20

We have flown London to India several times, we have done both direct and indirect flights.

Where do you plan to fly into, that will affect your price?

We have flown twice with Etihad via Abu Dhabi (short change about 1hr 30, get off plane, go through security again and board another plane, luggage checked through as booked on one ticket), flight was fine and it tends to be cheaper doing it this way we have found, but is obviously longer and you have increased risk now in Covid world of having various restrictions imposed based on where you are flying from/through so I would probably go direct for any upcoming bookings just in case.

We have flown Air India direct and the food was not great, but for a low price the flight is fine. They have had widely publicised financial difficulties pre-Covid, so I would ensure your insurance is good/book on credit card.

My boyfriend has flown KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Virgin and BA to India and would recommend either KLM or Lufthansa but both are indirect via either Amsterdam or Munich.

Be aware that many airlines use older planes on less profitable routes.

Given India’s current Covid numbers and inability to do another full lockdown make sure you have adequate insurance which covers Covid disruption before spending any money - I believe Allianz and Trailfinders are currently offering this on post-Covid bookings.

Your tour may organise it for you, but the e-visa is super handy and easy to do (make sure to print it).

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lurker101 · 06/08/2020 11:21

Also sorry, I see you’re southwest - that may make KLM a good option for you - we have flown Southampton to India via KLM/Amsterdam

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AttilaTheMeerkat · 06/08/2020 12:22

I would not be booking anything at all until all restrictions currently in place to enter India are lifted.

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MaggieFS · 06/08/2020 12:41

Have a look at Kayak.co.uk, it will give you an idea of how the price on any given day compares to usual and you can set up an alert for if the price drops. General rule is the earlier you book the cheaper, but do some research now so you have a benchmark for comparison when the flights you want are released.

(Can't ignore Coronavirus though... check cancellation policy and ability to get insurance carefully)

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AttilaTheMeerkat · 06/08/2020 13:22

No commercial flights to India are operating currently.

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KoalasandRabbit · 06/08/2020 13:33

Normally booking the day flights come out is a good way to get a good deal after a bit of research - I use skyscanner.

With covid-19 I would be very wary of booking anything - you need to be very careful you could get money back if there was an issue due to covid. Insurance often has lots of small print and get out clauses. For example, this year we had flights to Thailand with EVA, they refunded in full (and as out of London they have to refund if they cancel but if they still operate flight anyway they don't). The internal flights we've just lost the money - our insurance has small print in saying no internal flights are covered unless within 36 hours of main flight so that's only one. Then they are only covered if FCO advice is don't travel. Currently FCO advice is you can travel to Thailand and Malaysia. However, you are not allowed in. So you can't use flight but insurance gets out of paying. Plus discovered there's an excess of £60 per person per claim section per incident. So even if FCO advice went to don't travel insurance would get out of everything. We've lost £1600 like this but it could have been a lot more. Unfortunately we didn't have a big choice of insurers as I was having hospital tests and most places wouldn't insure me at all.

Another issue is what happens if airline goes bankrupt - I'm not sure what your rights are then but check it out. We paid by credit card for one flight thinking it would give protection but it didn't either - it has to be over £100 per person per flight and also think there might have been a 6 month rule.

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TokyoSushi · 06/08/2020 13:35

I'd agree with Skyscanner, I'd also agree with being very wary of booking anything just now...

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AriettyHomily · 06/08/2020 13:37

I wouldn't be booking India now either I'm afraid.

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KoalasandRabbit · 06/08/2020 13:54

This is a good guide to bankruptcy - we have chargeback claims in but expecting them to fail as not in breach of t&cs.

www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/your-rights-if-an-airline-goes-bust#what-do-i-do-if-i-dont-have-atol-protection

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Champagneforeveryone · 06/08/2020 13:59

Thank you.

We have already booked the tour (it's a year away and was the only one that would fit around sixth form) I will not pay the balance until June of next year when things will hopefully be clearer. If we don't travel our deposit is safe.

We need to fly into Delhi. DH had been reluctant to fly long haul previously so I had guessed that direct flights would be better, however a 90 minute transfer may suit him better. We also have no preconceptions about long haul flights so in a way we won't be disappointed if the food is a bit rubbish etc. He's determined it will be an awful means to an end anyway!

I'm just anxious that the prices don't sky rocket beyond our budget. We could afford it but it would impact other holiday plans which will mean we won't have been away at all since last year.

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Rua13 · 07/08/2020 12:13

Use Google flights or skyscanner to check which dates are cheaper.
I'D hold off on booking as who knows when tourists will be allowed to enter the country.India in the summer is stifling hot unless you head to Manali,Shimla or Ladakh.

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SJaneS48 · 11/08/2020 10:14

I tend to use Skyscanner. Prices do increase but booking now is a bit of a risk both in terms of Coronavirus and airline bankruptcy. We have taken that risk though for 2021. The insurance policies on sale now offering Coronavirus cover are largely medical related and don’t offer Scheduled Airline Failure from what I’ve seen. However, if you use a credit card to book and the airline goes bust you should be covered.

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