Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding a Cheap Ticket...

A lot of people asked me (which most of them are not elite members - as elite members won't ask me this) how to find a cheap airline ticket.

If you think by reading the post, I will tell you my secret. You think wrong.

However, this is my perspective on the topic of "cheap ticket":

1. Defining "cheap"...

I remember one of the most famous movie script from the Matrix, "What is real?"

Same here - what is cheap?

Each people has different definitions on cheap. So if you want to score a "cheap" ticket, you should define "cheap" - what is the price that you think you are willing to pay that you are considered cheap?

No ticket is free (even award ticket has its cost and value).

2. Work, Work and Work...

Why do people work? Money, right?

Same as "cheap" tickets - you want a cheap ticket, you have to work for it. If you don't check the price periodically, how will you know the price drops or increase?

3. So-called Promotion...

This is my third year as elite member. But for real - I have only officially bought 2 tickets that are directly related to a sale promotion.

One is the famous Expedia $300 Las Vegas Promotion. Another one is my coming trip to Honolulu.

Each time I got a email from an airline or saw a so-called promotion, I will definitely check it out. But each time, I come back with disappointment.

So-called promotion is never a promotion at all.

An typical example is the ticket price from San Francisco to Los Angeles by Southwest. They always say that they have a promotion for one-way fare of $49. But if you add everything up - it will be $119.40 round-trip. Usually, major airlines are selling in the same price at the same time. So where is the promotion?

4. Date, Time and Place

It is funny - but I have only purchased one cheap ticket only, which was for earlier this year, I flew to Miami for a conference.

The reason is simple - you don't have the choice of the date, time, and place for everything. For date, you can't choose any dates as you want to and ticketing must be done in a specific time.

Cheap tickets are like stock market - the more information you can gather, the better you are in control (of course - I am not suggesting insider trading). Bottom line - cheap tickets are something that people can hope for, but can't ask for.

Tomorrow will be my 1 of 3 Mileage Run to renew my Premier Executive (or should I call Premier Gold) from San Francisco to Chicago O'Hare. As expected, no chance for upgrade.

It has been a while (especially after SMI/J changed the whole thing) I have not travel on United. I will definitely make a trip report to show you my Economy Class experience.

By the way - anyone know who is SMI/J? (Sorry if you are from FlyerTalk, you are not entitled to answer this question...)

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