Cheaper flights, better seats, more bonusses, more perks… We are always on the lookout for the best deal when flying. I have written an article about using a travel agent here. If you prefer not to make use of a travel agent Expertflyer has created the perfect program for you. It gives you access to all the information that is usually only available to travel agents.
Let’s get into the technical bits about fare buckets and why they matter. There is a difference between travel class and booking class. Travel class includes business class, first class economy class etc. The booking class is a bit different. It is also referred to as a fare bucket, a fare bracket or fare type. It is a code consisting of a single letter showing exactly which kind of ticket was sold.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, not even seats in economy class are all equal, I’m afraid. See, your flight ticket does not only indicate where you sit on the plane, it also dictates your refund options, how many frequent flyer miles you earn, change fees etc.
Everyone in economy class does not pay the same price for their tickets. Ticket prices fluctuate constantly – airlines actually employ computing systems and staff to constantly adjust the fares. Normally when you go to a flight booking site you only think of certain options when buying your ticket and this relates to your travel class. ExpertFlyer gives you all the information you need to select not only your seat, but also your fare and the perks you get that is linked to your fare bucket.
There are a minimum number of seats that can be booked in a certain fare bucket, with certain benefits or restrictions. Things can get quite technical with different airlines using different codes for their fare buckets. That is where ExpertFlyer can help – the program shows you exactly what is included and what isn’t with each fare bucket for different airlines.
Fare buckets can include full-fare tickets as well as seats at discounted prices. Why different prices for the ‘same’ seats? Well a full-fare ticket could come with perks while a discounted seat could come with a restriction like it has to be bought as a part of a round-the-world ticket.
Another thing about fare buckets is that there might be deep discounted fares available for flights between two specific cities – if there is a connection between them. You might want to fly from city A to city B and a flight stopping in city C for a connection could be a lot cheaper than a direct flight, or even the two flights booked independently. Thus A to C (connecting) to B could be cheaper than buying a flight from A to C and another from C to B or even a direct flight from A to B.
Programs like ExpertFlyer not only show you the price of your ticket, but also the rules and conditions related to that ticket. It shows you which fares are only valid for certain routes. ExpertFlyer constantly update their list of airlines that have hidden fares. These are seats allocated for upgrades and mileage-only awards. These are upgrades that might be available to passengers, free of charge. Of course airlines would like to make as much money as possible so while some of these tickets could be available from the moment booking for the flight becomes available, others might only be available a few hours before the flight departs. A good idea would be to use ExpertFlyer to track these options.
By using ExpertFlyer, you can increase the amount of miles you accumulate with little or no extra cost to you. Here is how: You can force a connection. Instead of flying directly, you will be given options for legal connections. This is usually at the same price as a direct flight (or sometimes even with deep discounts!) but will accumulate more miles.
ExpertFlyer make things so much easier for those of us who like getting good, and even great, deals on flights, with the most amount of benefits and the least restrictions – who want to be fully in control of what they are booking and getting the most out of it.