choosing an airline to go to Asia

What to Consider Before Choosing Your Flight

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choosing your flight to Asia

You’ve chosen your internship destination and secured your dream position, now all that’s left to do is book your flight. If you’re travelling a long distance, alone, or for the first time, you’ll want to make your journey as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Though tempting, it’s not always wise to choose the cheapest flight available, particularly when it comes to long-haul journeys. In fact, there are many factors to consider besides time and price, which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best flight to get you to your internship in Asia.

 

how to choose an airline

Value for Money

Since most internship positions in Asia are unpaid, your budget is probably a main consideration. But before you jump straight for the cheapest flight available, factor in the best value for money. Many budget airlines display astoundingly low fares to entice customers into choosing them. What people don’t always realise is that this price often excludes basic services such as baggage and in-flight meals, which can be added at an extra cost. Once you’ve included the extra cost of these, that previously cheap flight becomes the same, if not more, than the initially more expensive ones which included these services anyway. Since you’re likely to be travelling a long distance and staying for an extended period, the chances are you’ll need both a generous baggage allowance and in-flight refreshments. So, to save yourself unnecessary stress and additional cost further down the line, make sure to check the fine-print – if a fare looks too good to be true, it probably is!

 

Route

When it comes to your route, the first decision you must make is whether you want to take a direct or in-direct flight. If you decide on a flight with a changeover, make sure to check the duration; while you don’t want to hang around in the airport for too long, you also don’t want to risk missing your connection if your first flight is delayed. Save yourself the stress of rushing through the airport by choosing a layover time of 2-4 hours*. That should allow you time to eat, freshen up, and relax before the trip to your internship destination.

in-direct flights to AsiaIf you want to get to your destination as quickly and comfortably as possible, a direct flight is a good option. A direct journey offers the advantage of being able to sit back, relax and wait for the plane to deliver you at your destination. Of course, this comfort usually comes at a higher price - but sometimes it’s worth it!

*If your flight stops over for a few hours, take some local currency to use at that airport.

 

Reputation

When it comes to booking flights, take what you read on customer review boards like TripAdvisor with a pinch of salt, or avoid them entirely. Though useful tools for choosing a hotel, restaurant or tour, it’s hard to draw a well-informed conclusion from reviews of one-off bad experiences with an airline. Most airlines transport millions of happy customers each year and have built good reputations doing so. All companies have made mistakes, so bare that in mind when reading such reviews. Alternatively, ask friends, family, or your internship provider for any recommendations.

Instead of relying on word of mouth or scouring TripAdvisor for information, visit Skytrax. This independent air travel review website rates airlines and airports based on independent customer reviews by experienced travellers and gives recognised awards. It’s a reliable source that can help you decide on an airline based on more than a few random reviews.

 

Safety and Delay Records

finding a flight to AsiaTravelling abroad can be stressful at the best of times, but even more so when your journey is delayed. Minimise the chance of delays by checking an airlines punctuality records using the Flightstats Ontime Performance Service Awards report. This annual league table will help you identify the airlines most likely to get you to your destination on time.

Though air travel is statistically proven to be one of the safest modes of transport, it’s still important to check safety records, particularly if you’ve chosen an airline you’ve never heard of. AirSafe holds publicly available safety records dating back to an airline’s first flight that can help you make an informed decision and settle any nerves about flying. Similarly, the EU and US governments blacklist airlines they deem unsafe and forbid them from operating routes to or from airports in the States or the European Union. If you’re travelling to your internship destination from a country outside of these territories, check any unfamiliar airlines that show in your search against these lists. If they appear, avoid them.

Compensation

No matter how good the punctuality, safety record, or reputation of an airline, delays and cancellations are inevitable at times. The EU Regulation 261/2004 helps protect the rights of passengers whose flights have been cancelled or delayed by over three hours. Under this regulation, all EU and international airlines operating flights to or from EU territory are required to pay compensation to passengers who have been affected by delays or cancellations due to factors within the airline’s control.

Of course, many airlines are reluctant to fork out thousands of dollars in compensation, so this is often easier said than done. To minimise the hassle of claiming if anything were to go wrong with your flight, check compensation records on AirHelp. Though AirHelp only uses its own data to rank airlines on their claim processing, this can be used to get a rough idea of various company’s records.

 

Shop around

travel to asiaOnce you’ve found the airline or flight you wish to take, it’s time to find the best deal. Start by checking the flight price directly on the airlines website, and then compare this to the deals offered by fare comparison sites. Though this is a good way to ensure you get the best possible deal, if you choose to book through a third-party, be sure to check the small print for details on where you stand with regards to cancelling or changing your flight.

 

Buy at the Best Time

Though many articles claim there is a ‘best time’ to buy your flight, there’s no solid evidence to back this claim. When it comes to booking, listen to your internship provider’s advice; you may need to book your flight in advance to apply for a visa, or you may have to wait until you have a visa to book your flight. This all comes down to the entry requirements of your host country, on which no one is better placed to advise than your internship provider.

Once you’ve got the go ahead to book, do so as soon as possible as leaving it too late can result in you paying a higher price!

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