by Ha Nguyen
The hunt for affordable airfare has become a trend nowadays, particularly among young and middle-aged people who have to deal with global economic recession.
Nguyen Thuy Van, from Ha Noi's Hai Ba Trung District, was quite happy because it was the first time her hunt for low airfares has produced results. The Vietnam Airlines tickets for her family trip from Ha Noi to HCM City were worth only VND700,000 (US$32) per person, excluding tax.
She recalled reading about promotion information by chance, and based on this, she carefully prepared a plan to hunt for cheaper airfare.
"I told my husband to prepare a laptop with quick internet connection, then I was able to access information for my four-member family. I have to practice time and again on how to book such low airfares online," revealed Van.
She said that she was determined to hunt for cheaper fares. She had online access early in the evening, but until midnight, she still had no access to the network.
"I think the network is overloaded with people seeking cheaper airfare, so I told myself to be patient."
Her efforts paid off. At 5:45am, she successfully bought four two-way tickets, each worth VND700,000. This is much lower than the regular price of VND2,870,000 ($137) per ticket.
"I feel very happy because I was able to save a large amount of money for my family. But the most important thing is that my children, for the first time, enjoyed a very interesting trip to HCM City. They said it was a big reward that would encourage them this summer," Van said.
Unlike Van, Bui Kieu Oanh of the National University of Economics is quite skilled in hunting for cheaper airfare.
Asked about her secrets, Oanh revealed that first, and most important, one must patiently wait for and snatch an opportunity from a high-quality internet network.
Oanh said she always had international payment cards such as Visa Debit or Master Debit ready so she could quickly register and make simple payments at banks.
But those who are hunting for the first time should visit the websites of airlines and practice the various stages of online booking, except for payment, a good number of times until they become skilled.
"I often make an excel or word file and write down all the needed information, such as full name of passenger, one - or two way ticket, date and place of departure, date and place of arrival, return date and others, for easy copying and pasting when needed," added Oanh.
After choosing the place of departure and arrival, one should use the key words "Find Value Fares," which include a time table of dates when cheap tickets are available for booking.
Before payment, one should check names, departure and arrival dates and itinerary but should be careful about the points between departure and arrival.
Once booking is completed, one should press the word "Finish" but keep in mind that no changes can be made after that. Those wish for a nicer place on the plane should be ready to pay VND40,000 more.
In the final stage, one should check email to see whether the tickets have been sent. Before departing, one should print the tickets or email them to the airline.
Oanh recalled that she once bought zero dong excluding tax from VietJetAir and VND333 excluding tax from Vietnam Airlines for her parents, who wanted to visit Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island.
Hoang Van Sang, an airline expert, said people hunting for cheaper airfare should not order many tickets at the same time but only one or two because "when one orders six tickets, the network automatically announces that tickets are no longer available".
Sang added that people should refrain from choosing the peak hours of 11amor 3pm to 4pm for their flights. "If the internet network in their home is not stable, they should seek a quick internet network to gain access to an airlines' website."
"If you don't have much time, you should ask an agent to help you book a flight because an agent knows much more about promotions," Sang revealed.
Payment is always an important stage that decides whether you are successful in hunting for lower fares, he added.
One should pay attention to essential information such as card number, the amount of money in the card and others.
Currently, Vietnam Airlines, VietJetAsia, AirAsia and several other airlines have launched big promotions, including low-priced airfare, for the coming Tet holiday.
After learning from Van and Oanh, I'm now trying to hunt for a couple of cheap air tickets from Ha Noi to HCM City, so I could welcome Tet there for the first time. — VNS