International Airline Travel – The Best Airline To Take From Singapore to Toronto

Flying from Singapore to Toronto, Canada, is one of the longest air routes out of Singapore. There are numerous flights you can take that will connect you from Singapore to Toronto. However many of the flights available require you to transit more than one time, and therefore your journey can be as long as 30 hours! Therefore after flying on many different airlines and testing their different routes from Singapore to Toronto, I have found that there is only one airline that has the best flying route in terms of the shortest time, and the best air ticket price.

The airline that I found that was the best to take from Singapore to Toronto is Cathay Pacific Airlines. This flight would be flying out from Singapore and transiting only once in Hong Kong, from where you will fly direct non-stop to Toronto.

The entire journey with Cathay Pacific to Toronto take approximately 22 to 23 hours, which is just under 1 day's worth of travelling! This is much better when compared with the 30 hours of travelling with United Airlines in which you need to transit twice (one in Tokyo, and the other in Chicago).

Another great thing about Cathay Pacific is that there are over 8 flights daily from Singapore to Hong Kong, therefore making the selection process much more flexible. In addition, most of the times, they will allow you to stop over in Hong Kong, should you want that quick trip in between to explore Hong Kong for a few days. Even simply transiting in Hong Kong is quite a pleasant experience, as Hong Kong's International airport is packed with eateries, and shopping arcades.

Once you transit in Hong Kong and switched to the connecting flight to Toronto, you will be pleased to know that the plane is a brand new Boeing 777 aircraft in which the interior offers you spacious economy seating and with superior selection of in-flight entertainment. Furthermore service in Cathay Pacific is quite good, especially if you compare it to the North American airline companies, such as Air Canada and United Airlines.

Pricing wise, it should cost about $ S 2500 – $ S 3000 (Singapore dollars – depending on whether it is peak or low season) for a round trip from Singapore to Toronto. When you compare it with United Airlines, it maybe a few hundred dollars more expensive, but when you take into account the savings you will get in terms of travel time, then investing a few extra dollars maybe well worth it.

Flying on Cathay Pacific is probably one of the most convenient airlines to take if you plan on flying from Singapore to Toronto. Based on my research, this is the only airline that has the least transits needed.

Booking Cheap Airline Tickets Online With Airfair Bargaining

Affordability is not a game anymore when it comes to the internet and travel. Too many sites are promising a distinct advantage for the cheapest flights. Unfortunately, these can come with some unsavory options when you get to the airline such as baggage fees, over booking the flights, and delays. While online comparison websites can not do much about the airline troubles you might have, they can at least help you find airfare bargains that make these headaches much better to face. After all, if you are flying from Toronto to Las Vegas for under $ 100 round trip that is a pretty great price and perhaps the best cheap tickets you can find. So, how do you find these mythological deals when you are looking to buy airline tickets?

The window of opportunity …

The window of opportunity will be between 18 and 28 days out from the time you want to travel. Most everyone looks for cheap airfares three months before they travel. They expect to see prices decrease enough to make them affordable. In reality airfare bargains happen 18 to 28 days out from the time you want to travel. The magic number for most airlines is 21 days. This is domestic flights. Internationally, you have a little longer because airlines know you need to get your paperwork in order, but they do not give you too much time. Use the online search engine for cheap airline tickets and do a test. What are tickets from London to Vienna 3 months out versus 28 days? What is a flight from Chicago, IL to Vancouver looking 3 months prior versus 21 days before you want to travel? Anomalies might occur, where things are not as cheap when you have less time, but the general rule is that they are especially for domestic flights.

Fees and taxes inclusive

The best site is going to offer an inclusive fees and taxes rate right on the search page to alleviate any confusion on your cheap airfares. The right company shows you from the beginning the price you have to pay. No credit card or other surcharges apply. What you see is what you pay.

Airfare and hotels

If you are traveling somewhere and you do not have a place to stay, than book the hotel at the same time you get the airfare. In other words, if you do not have family in the place you visit then book cheap tickets and hotels. These all inclusive packages are less than if you book separately or wait until you arrive to make the booking for your hotel in or bed and breakfast. You do not want to be caught with a higher price because you missed an opportunity of cheap tickets and accommodations.

Cost Vs Value When Booking a Vacation

When it comes to saving money on a trip – when is the value of using a travel agent worth paying a little more than the price you find online?

Unlike booking online, when you book with a travel agent, you are getting much more service than you will with an online agency. Our job does not end when we deliver your tickets to you – it continues with our assistance while you are traveling and when you get home. How you may ask?

Here are a few examples of actual client travel problems that the value of using a travel agent outweighed booking by themselves.

We booked a family on a vacation package to Cabo. They had connecting flights and called us because their first flight leaving was delayed by several hours, causing them to miss their connecting flight.They called us from the airport because they were concerned that the company that their transfers were through would not be at the airport to pick them up. We contacted the supplier who changed the flight times and made sure the transfer company had the new information.

Clients from Georgia were supposed to fly Feb. 13, 2010 to San Juan for a cruise leaving at 10 PM on Feb. 14. At 8 AM on Feb. 13 they called us in a panic. It was snowing, their flights were canceled and the airline told the clients they would not be able to fly them out until Monday.

Thankfully they could drive to Florida and we found flights on another airline Feb. 14 that would get them to the cruise ship with plenty of time to spare. We canceled their San Juan hotel, found a hotel in Orlando for her that would allow them to park their car for free for the duration of the cruise and shuttle her back and forth to the airport. Our client said if she had booked this on her own, she would not have known what to do and would have been heartbroken at not being able to travel. Since she had also purchased travel insurance, we started a travel delay claim for her to be reimbursed for the difference in the flight prices, plus her expenses for gas, tolls and meals to get back and forth to the Orlando airport. The forms were waiting for her when she arrived back from her cruise.

A few years ago, we had clients who had booked a trip and canceled their trip a month before the date they were to leave for a reason that was not covered by travel insurance. The supplier was adamant that the cancellation was non-refundable. We interceded and were able to obtain a partial credit to book another trip within one year so the client did not lose all their money.

Today a client sent us a price quote for a vacation to Punta Cana asking if we could beat the price. She priced the vacation with connecting flights from Philadelphia and on her return, she chose a flight that left Punta Cana at 7 AM. We asked her if she realized that to make that return flight home she would have to be at the airport by 4:30 AM to ensure she would have enough time to get through Security. She had no idea she would have to be at the airport that early. Not only did we beat the price, we found her direct flights for less than she was quoted through the online agency and her return flight left at 1:05 PM.

What other value do we provide when you book with us that you will not get from booking online? We send you destination information, advise you of the documentation you need to travel, give information on optional excursions, send you helpful hints and last minute reminders and we are available 24 hours if you have a problem while you are traveling as evidenced above. We follow up with you when you return and if there was a problem that needs to be addressed with a supplier, we will get involved to try and find a satisfactory resolution.

Is this kind of service worth paying a little extra for?

Southwest Airlines Operations – A Strategic Perspective

Background:

Southwest Airlines is the largest airline measured by number of passengers carried each year within the United States. It is also known as a 'discount airline' compared with its large rivals in the industry. Rollin King and Herb Kelleher founded Southwest Airlines on June 18, 1971. Its first flights were from Love Field in Dallas to Houston and San Antonio, short hops with no-frills service and a simple fare structure. The airline began with one simple strategy: "If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline . "This approach has been the key to Southwest's success. Currently, Southwest serves about 60 cities (in 31 states) with 71 million total passengers carried (in 2004) and with a total operating revenue of $ 6.5 billion. Southwest is traded publicly under the symbol "LUV" on NYSE.

Facts:

* The first major airline to fly a single type of aircraft (Boeing 737s)

* The first major airline to offer ticketless travel system wide including a frequent flier program based on number of trips and not number of miles flown.

* The first airline to offer a profit-sharing program to its Employees (instituted in 1973).

* The first major airline to develop a Web site and offer online booking. In 2001, about 40 percent ($ 2.1 billion) of its passenger revenue was generated through online bookings at [http://www.southwest.com]. Southwest's cost per booking via the Internet is about $ 1, compared to a cost per booking through travel agents of $ 6 to $ 8.

Key competitive advantages:

* Low Operational costs / High Operational Efficiency

* Award winning customer service

* Human Resource practices / Work culture

Operations Analysis – Competitive Dimensions:

Southwest clearly has a distinct advantage compared to other airlines in the industry by executing an effective and efficient operations strategy that forms an important pillar of its overall corporate strategy. Given below are some competitive dimensions that will be studied in this paper.

1. Operational Costs and Efficiency

2. Customer Service

3. Employee / Labor Relations

4. Technology

1. Operational Costs and Efficiency

After all, the airline industry overall is in shambles. But, how does Southwest Airlines stay profitable? Southwest Airlines has the lowest costs and strongest balance sheet in its industry, according to its chairman Kelleher. The two biggest operating costs for any airline are – labor costs (approx 40%) followed by fuel costs (approx 18%). Some other ways that Southwest is able to keep their operational costs low is – flying point-to-point routes, choosing secondary (smaller) airports, carrying consistent aircraft, maintaining high aircraft utilization, encouraging e-ticketing etc.

Labor Costs

The labor costs for Southwest typically accounts for about 37% of its operating costs. Perhaps the most critical element of the successful low-fare airline business model is achieving significantly higher labor productivity. According to a recent HBS Case Study, southwest airlines is the "most heavily unionized" US airline (about 81% of its employees belong to an union) and its salary rates are considered to be at or above average compared to the US airline industry. The low-fare carrier labor advantage is in much more flexible work rules that allow cross-utilization of virtually all employees (except where disallowed by licensing and safety standards). Such cross-utilization and a long-standing culture of cooperation among labor groups translate into lower unit labor costs. At Southwest in 4th quarter 2000, total labor expense per available seat mile (ASM) was more than 25% below that of United and American, and 58% less than US Airways.

Carriers like Southwest have a tremendous cost advantage over network airlines simply because their workforce generates more output per employee. In a study in 2001, the productivity of Southwest employees was over 45% higher than at American and United, despite the substantially longer flight lengths and larger average aircraft size of these network carriers. Therefore by its relentless pursuit for lowest labor costs, Southwest is able to positively impact its bottom line revenues.

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs is the second-largest expense for airlines after labor and accounts for about 18 percent of the carrier's operating costs. Airlines that want to prevent huge swings in operating expenses and bottom line profitability choose to hedge fuel prices. If airlines can control the cost of fuel, they can more accurately estimate budgets and forecast earnings. With growing competition and air travel becoming a commodity business, being competitive on price was key to any airline's survival and success. It became hard to pass higher fuel costs on to passengers by raising ticket prices due to the highly competitive nature of the industry.

Southwest has been able to successfully implement its fuel hedging strategy to save on fuel expenses in a big way and has the largest hedging position among other carriers. In the second quarter of 2005, Southwest's unit costs fell by 3.5% despite a 25% increase in jet fuel costs. During Fiscal year 2003, Southwest had much lower fuel expense (0.012 per ASM) compared to the other airlines with the exception of JetBlue as illustrated in exhibit 1 below. In 2005, 85 per cent of the airline's fuel needs has been hedged at $ 26 per barrel. World oil prices in August 2005 $ reached 68 per barrel. In the second quarter of 2005 alone, Southwest achieved fuel savings of $ 196 million. The state of the industry also suggests that airlines that are hedged have a competitive advantage over the non-hedging airlines. Southwest announced in 2003 that it would add performance-enhancing Blended Winglets to its current and future fleet of Boeing 737-700's. The visually distinctive Winglets will improve performance by extending the airplane's range, saving fuel, lowering engine maintenance costs, and reducing takeoff noise.

Point-to-Point Service

Southwest operates its flight point-to-point service to maximize its operational efficiency and stay cost-effective. Most of its flights are short hauls averaging about 590 miles. It uses the strategy to keep its flights in the air more often and therefore achieve better capacity utilization.

Secondary Airports

Southwest flies to secondary / smaller airports in an effort to reduce travel delays and therefore provide excellent service to its customers. It has led the industry in on-time performance. Southwest has also been able to trim down its airport operations costs relatively better than its rival airlines.

Consistent aircraft

At the heart of Southwest's success is its single aircraft strategy: Its fleet consists exclusively of Boeing 737 jets. Having common fleet significantly simplifies scheduling, operations and flight maintenance. The training costs for pilots, ground crew and mechanics are lower, because there's only a single aircraft to learn. Purchasing, provisioning, and other operations are also vastly simplified, thereby lowering costs. Consistent aircraft also enables Southwest to utilize its pilot crew more efficiently.

E-Ticketing

The idea of ​​ticketless travel was a major advantage to Southwest because it could lower its distribution costs. Southwest became electronic or ticketless back in the mid-1990s, and today they are about 90-95% ticketless. Customers who use credit cards are eligible for online transactions, and today Southwest.com bookings account for about 65% of total revenue. The CEO Gary Kelly thinks that this idea would grow further and that he would not be surprised if e-ticketing accounted for 75% of Southwest's revenues by end of 2005. In the past, when there was a 10% travel agency commission paid, it used to cost about $ 8 a booking. But currently, Southwest is paying between 50 cents and $ 1 per booking for electronic transactions that translate to huge cost savings.

2. Employee and Labor Relations

Southwest has been highly regarded for its innovative management style. It maintains a relentless focus on high-performance relationships and its people-management practices have been the key to its unparalleled success in the airline industry.

Mission Statement

To Our Employees
"We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer. "

The Southwest mission statement shows that the company has a strong commitment to its employees. The company affords the same respect to its employees that is provided to its customers. The Southwest mission statement is unique in that it recognizes the importance of its employees within the broader business strategy, which emphasizes superb customer service and operational efficiency. The employees reciprocate the respect, loyalty and trust that Southwest demonstrates. Southwest employees are known for their loyalty, dedication, attitude and innovation. The employees are the distinguishing factor between Southwest and the rest of the airline industry.

Hiring

Southwest hiring policy is unique not only within the airline industry, but also more broadly, and revolves around finding people with the right attitude that will thrive in the Southwest culture. Extensive procedures are employed to hire for positive attitude and dedication. Those who do not posses those qualities are weeded out. Colleen Barrett, a non-operational officer at Southwest, states that

"Hiring is critical, because you can not institutionalize behavior. Instead, you must identify those people who already practice the behaviors you are looking for. Then you can allow Employees to be themselves and make decisions about Customer service based on common sense and their natural inclinations. "1

Recruiting and interviewing at Southwest is a two-step process. The first step is a group interview, conducted by employees, where communication skills of potential candidates are evaluated. The next steps in this process are one on one interview, where the candidates' attitudes and orientation toward serving others are evaluated. These hiring criteria apply to all job functions since all Employees at Southwest play a customer service role. A critical part of Southwest operational strategy is that every job at Southwest is a customer service position, whether it directly applies to the customer or whether it is internal.

The table below shows that even though Southwest is the most heavily unionized airline, at approximately 80%, that contract negotiations between the unions and Southwest are much shorter in duration than of the other major carriers. This shows the quality of relationship that Southwest has with its employees and with the unions that represent them.

Culture

Southwest was created as a different kind of company and from its beginnings a unique culture was nurtured. In 1990 Colleen Barrett formed the Southwest Culture Committee. This is unique within the industry and among all large companies. The committee also has a mission statement:

"This group's goal is to help create the Southwest spirit and culture where needed; to enrich it and make it better where it already exists; and to liven it up in places where it might be "floundering". In short, this group's goal is to do "whatever it takes" to create, enhance, and enrich the special Southwest spirit and culture that has made this such a wonderful Company / Family. "

It is this unique approach to company values ​​that has created a culture that differentiates itself from others. Southwest's culture is the reason why it is successful.

3. Customer Service

The Mission of Southwest Airlines
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

Approach

Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest, has been quoted as saying that "We're in the Customer service business; we just happen to provide airline transportation" .2 Award winning customer service is a distinguishing characteristic of Southwest and it is referred to internally as "Positively Outrageous Service". It means that from the top to bottom everyone does whatever he or she can to satisfy the customer. This includes Herb Kelleher, who has been known for helping out baggage handlers on Thanksgiving. It is through emphasizing the customer and employee that Southwest is able to differentiate itself from others in the airline industry. On a more technical level, each employee or group within Southwest has his or her own customer. This means that every employee 'serves' in one way or another despite not being directly involved with the passenger. The mechanic's customer is the pilot and the caterer's is the flight attendant.

Results

It can be said that the "Positively Outrageous Service" that is unique to Southwest "is not the result of a department, or a program, or a mandate from management. It is not secondary to the product; it is the product. "This approach creates the conditions where Employees are more likely to treat customers in ways that distinguish the company from others. There are numerous accounts of passengers who have received exceptional treatment from Southwest employees.

The question that needs to be answered is how Southwest's customer service is different and why? Is it common for customers of other airlines to rave about their special service? The answer is that it is not. While Southwest does not have a monopoly on people who are kind and who are willing to go above and beyond to satisfy a customer, such behavior is nurtured at Southwest to a much greater extent.

It can then be concluded that the customer service that is inherent to Southwest is a part of its culture. This culture is supported through employee encouragement to do the extra to satisfy the customer. This approach inspires people who would ordinarily only on occasion go out of their way to help someone, to become consistent performers that offer exceptional service all the time. Southwest employees are what differentiate its customer service from the other airlines.

4. Technology

Southwest utilizes technology in many ways to fulfill its business objectives and maintain its efficient operations. According to its CEO, technology equals productivity. Launched in 1996, ticketless travel was first introduced by Southwest. On May 1st 2000, Southwest Airlines introduces "SWABIZ," a portal that assists company travel managers in booking and tracking trips made through its web site [http://www.southwest.com]. There are many new technology initiatives being undertaken currently and some are in the pipeline.

Bar codes in Boarding Passes

Southwest Airlines has invested $ 12 million during the past three years to standardize corporate and terminal operations on about 10,000 Dell OptiPlex desktop and Latitude notebook computers according to its company executives. Southwest wanted to replace its well known, brightly colored plastic boarding passes with an electronic system with bar-code paper boarding passes. So it installed about 350 touch screen ticket readers powered by Dell OptiPlex desktops. The bar code gives Southwest more information to automatically reconcile the number of boarding passes with the number of passengers that actually board the plane.

Although the technology will help Southwest Airlines remain efficient by consolidating passenger information for the company's 3,000 daily flights, there were concerns it could lengthen the time to get travelers on board. However it was found that scanning each bar code on the boarding passes did not increase or shorten boarding schedules, but it did take minutes from administrative processes, such as looking up customer records. The new paper bar code system is giving Southwest ticket agents the ability to match a customer record within having to scroll through and log into multiple software screens. The process is much more automated. Once the bar code on the boarding pass is scanned at the terminal gate it checks off the person from the passenger list in real time.

The old process was manual that involved finding the information, scrolling through several software screens from reservations to check-in to boarding. The bar code hardware to scan the boarding passes has been deployed. The company is in the process of replacing customer service back-office equipment at airports including at its headquarters in Dallas.

Software Upgrades

Software applications, such as those used by clerks to check in passengers, are being replaced. Southwest Airlines' internally written "Airport Application Suite" is expected to rollout next year as the company transitions from green screens to Window-based user interface. Similar to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Southwest Airlines believes in developing in-house the software that runs its operations. The company uses very little off-the-shelf software. There are between 75 and 100 projects in the works each year supported by approximately 900 IT employees.

RFID

Radio frequency identification technology, a favorable alternative to bar-coding for luggage identification, is also on Southwest's radar. It plans to test RFID technology sometime in 2006. Even though, Southwest is playing a little catch-up with other airlines such as Air Tran, Alaska and Champion Airlines, in many cases they are able leapfrog to more sophisticated applications easily having waited longer.

Challenges:

Southwest has emerged very successful, despite the most troubled times in the airline market. However, it faces new challenges in the face of increasing competition from other low fare airlines such as JetBlue, ATA airlines, America West.

Reserved Seating

Due to increasing security guidelines since September 2001, Southwest would need to prepare for assigned (reserved) seating to track its in-flight passengers. This change will involve large technology investments and may impact its gate operations negatively since the current way of unassigned seating has helped in quick gate turnarounds.

Passenger Demand

The keep-it-simple philosophy has served Southwest well. But as its own business grows and grows more complex, with plans to purchase dozens of new aircraft and an expected upsurge in passenger traffic to about 80 million boarding's a year, the simplicity strategy that has been reflected in the airline's IT philosophy is evolving. The CIO Tom Nealon says that "It's time to adapt our business processes for efficiency. As our airline scales for us to provide the same kind of high-touch customer service, we have to automate a lot of things we've been able to do without technology previously. The challenge is doing that without conceding the customer touch. " Southwest is also aggressively pursuing customer relationship management (CRM) techniques and has applications to get insight into customer's wants and dislikes. According to an interview with its CEO Gary Keller, Southwest has its focus on improving in two areas – customer's airport experience and in-flight experience.

In-Flight Entertainment

In an overall effort to improve customer's in-flight experience, in-flight entertainment is something that Southwest is currently evaluating and which JetBlue has been very successful at already because of its introduction in its long-haul flights. In comparison, Southwest has 415 airplanes to consider and that represents an investment decision at a whole new dimension. Additionally, Southwest has to consider how things may fit into their environment. At this point, 60% of its service is still very short haul. Southwest needs to be mindful of the fact that a certain approach that has been successful for its competitor may not be necessarily work to its advantage.

Summary:

Southwest has long been regarded as a benchmark in its industry for operational excellence. Southwest Airlines is a fine example of a company that is committed to its core competencies – efficient operations to drive its low cost structure, outstanding delivery of customer service and innovative HR management practices. We hope this paper provided a good insight into Southwest operations, as part of its overall strategy, to achieve success and gain competitive advantage.

References:

1. [http://www.southwest.com] (Southwest airlines official web site)

2. "Southwest keeps it simple" – Air Transport World, April 2005, Pg 36

3. "Around the World on $ 48 (or So): How High Can Discount Airlines Fly?" Strategy Management – Knowledge @ Wharton Newsletter Oct 5, 2005

4. TechWeb – [http://www.techweb.com/wire/ebiz/173601227]

5. "Southwest's Strategy for Success: Consolidate!" – The Oracle Magazine Magazine (Sept / Oct 2004 edition) Http://www.oracle.com/technology/oramag/oracle/04-sep/o54swest.html

6. "Southwest Airlines: High Tech, Low Costs" – Eweek.com, April 2005

7. "Jet Fuel Hedging Strategies: Options Available for Airlines and a Survey of Industry Practices" – Kellogg School of Management Research Paper, Spring 2004

8. Winning Behavior: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently, Terry R. Bacon and David G. Pugh, 2003

9. Time Magazine, Oct 28th 2002 issue, Vol. 160 Issue 18, p. 45

10. "Wings Of Change", Information Week, March 28, 2005,

11. Labor Contract Negotiations in the Airline Industry, Monthly Labor Review, July 2003, page 24

Tips on Finding Cheap Holiday Packages

Cheap holiday packages are now easily accessible for everyone anywhere in the world. The popularity of traveling has never before reached the height it's achieved today. Thanks to the Internet and cable TV, many people all over the world have become interested in exploring other parts of the globe. Airlines, travel agencies, and vacation sites now offer many promotional rates and tempting offers as a result of this rise in demand in the industry. To help you bag a good deal for your next vacation, here are some tips.

One of the basic rules in getting good rates for flights and other transports, accommodations, theme park and event tickets, and other vacation requirements is to plan ahead. If you have not set your eyes yet on any particular destination, the Internet is a deep resource of information and reviews about travel destinations and everything else that go with it – how to get there, where to stay, and many more. Check the off-peak season to get the lowest rates possible. If you'd like to go during peak season, however, do not just plan ahead, but also book way ahead. Make your reservations 6 months in advance, or even earlier, if the airline, hotel, or agency permits. With the huge number of people traveling locally and internationally everyday, for business or leisure, you've got a slim chance of getting those limited offers from airlines and travel agents if you decide at the last minute.

Consider booking budget airlines and hotels. Again, due to the increasing demand for cheap holiday packages, hotels, flights, and others, many travel products and services in the budget category these days are not so compromising in quality anymore. You might be surprised that there are budget hotels that offer satisfying complimentary breakfast, Internet access, and personalized service. Do not instantly overlook this level when planning your holiday next time. Just remember to read all the terms and conditions before entering your credit card details or signing anything.

Another option is going through a price comparison site. Price comparison sites have been growing in the recent years and are now available for many items – used cars, toys, computers, clothing, and vacation packages. Just by going on a single website, you'll be able to see all the available travel deals for you from various online travel establishments.

If you'd like to bag one of those cheap holiday packages online, be sure to think about it ahead. Check the Web today about your destination choices and the best travel deals through airlines, agencies, and price comparison sites. Remember, though, to read all the terms well before booking.

How to Fly You and Your Fencing Bag Safely to a Competition

Are you a fencer who will be flying? If so, then you should consider some tips to make your trip as smooth as possible. We learned in kindergarten that airplanes, buses and cars are different modes of transportation. However, as adults we need to consider some of the logistical differences, before packing our fencing gear before flying. If you are flying to another region, another country, or another continent, here are some steps to help make the experience as smooth as your fencing moves:

1. Buy the right fencing bag

Buying the right fencing bag for you may be more challenging than it may seem at first. You have many options to consider, including:

· Color
· Durability
· Features
· Size
· Style

To help narrow down your choices, make sure to consider your particular needs. As a general rule, you should select a large fencing bag with wheels, if you are flying to a fencing competition. Such a bag will be able to store your sword (s), protective gear, and anything else you need for your journey. One practical matter to consider is that hauling all of that gear will be quite heavy! Thus, choosing a fencing bag with wheels will make it easier to transport the bag.

2. Consider packing your gear in a hard travel case

One of the hassles of flying is needing to pay airline baggage fees. Airlines can charge you if your baggage exceeds the maximum weight allowed. However, if you are exclusively flying to a fencing competition, then you probably will not have much luggage, besides your fencing equipment and enough clothes for a week or two.

However, the problem is that airlines tend to charge extra baggage fees, for luggage that exceeds certain dimensions. The dimension applies to the luggage's length, width, or height. Considering the length of fencing swords, it is highly likely that their lengths will exceed an airline's maximum baggage length.

The good news is that airlines allow an exception on luggage dimensions, for hard golf travel cases. Unfortunately, soft fencing cases are not (yet) included in this exclusion. Thus, if you do a fair amount of traveling with your fencing gear, then you should consider purchasing a hard golf travel case. This will allow you to avoid extra baggage fees. However, keep in mind that if you still exceed the airline's maximum baggage weight, you will still have to pay some sort of fee.

3. Verify that your fencing gear is completely secure in your luggage

This is important, to prevent your fencing gear from becoming destroyed while flying to your competition's destination. Double-check everything before the airport processes your baggage, to ensure that all of your equipment is safe in its bags. Fencing gear is somewhat expensive to replace!

When flying to a fencing competition, make sure to follow these aforementioned tips. It will help to ensure that you and your fencing gear get to your destination safe and sound. Then you can focus on your main objective-winning the competition!

5 Secrets to Get Cheap Flights

In today's era, the advantage of the Internet has become radical. Numerous activities and transactions can be done over the web, and travellers are one of the fortunate. Through online, they can make their booking much easier than before and it also becomes simpler to secure a bargain in airfares. There are only a few important details that are needed to consider when looking for cheap flights over the Internet.

If you are a frequent traveler who needs to avail affordable air tickets to save money as you go back and forth in your destinations, to book online can be a stress-free way than the traditional booking. To help you experience a more convenient and fast online booking, here are 5 secrets to give you hints:

1. Check for morning offers – At nights, several airlines post their available seats in limited numbers at discounted rates. That's why it is a practical way to reserve for a seat early in the morning. If you see available seat as you check on the website, make sure to grab and book right away.

2. Purchase two tickets (back and forth) at different airlines – This may not be offered all the time, but in some occasions to purchase a return flight ticket at a single airline is more costly. For instance, purchase a ticket to your destination with one airline, then purchase another ticket for your flight home with another airline. This way, you can save a few dollars without stressing yourself to rush in one airline.

3. Book 6 weeks earlier – There are tons of airlines these days that offer discounts to travellers in various destinations in the world. There are loads of flight offers that are dropping down to low average rates within 6 weeks before the scheduled departure. As airlines wanted to fill their empty seats, you can opt for the last minute booking to get great deals; therefore, if you want a more practical option to book early is still advisable.

4. Have a flexible flight date – Airlines have special requisites to travellers based on their length of stay in their destination. The cost of the flight will matter on how many days or weeks will a certain passenger stay at his / her destination. For the most part, cheap flights are obtainable when the passenger stays over a weekend because on Saturday night bookend airlines offer their huge cut off prices.

5. Check out the social networks (Twitter and Facebook) – A lot of airlines and travel agencies are expansively promoting their products over the social networks. Since the internet is the leading conduit of many travellers who are looking for cheap airfares, associating Twitter and / or Facebook for flight booking can probably give a blasting discount. Just make sure to grab the chance faster because deals can be sold out in just a couple of hours from published.

Reduce Air Travel Costs With Split Tickets

Split ticketing or split-city ticketing is buying two separate round-trip tickets for a single trip. The two round-trip flights take advantage of the airline's pricing schemes to create a lower total airfare. In addition to paying less, there may be other benefits to booking split-city tickets.

An example to illustrate the split ticketing strategy:

A friend found $ 600 fares to fly from San Jose, California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I checked a couple of sources and confirmed that $ 600 was the lowest available fare. I also discovered that all flights connected through Los Angeles or Phoenix. I then researched two separate itineraries:

1. (San Jose-to-Los Angeles) AND (Los Angeles-to-Cabo)

-OR-

2. (San Jose-to-Phoenix) AND (Phoenix-to-Cabo)

At that time, Los Angeles-to-Cabo round-trip flights cost $ 198 and San Jose-to-Los Angeles flights were $ 98 (a total of $ 296). By simply buying separate round-trip tickets through Los Angeles, anyone could save 50% – over $ 300 ($ 600 – $ 296). I concentrated on using Los Angeles as an interim airport, since there more options – airlines and flights – and better prices.

These, and most, split ticket flights are not less convenient, since the through fare (in this case, the $ 600 fare) required changing planes in an interim airport (ie, Los Angeles) anyway. In fact, not only are split ticket flights usually as convenient but often include some advantages.

One advantage is that travelers can book flights with preferred airlines and add points to active frequent flyer accounts. At the time, only two airlines offered San Jose-to-Cabo flights while several offered San Jose-to-Los Angeles and Los Angeles-to-Cabo flights. Instead of paying $ 600 to fly on one of two undesired airlines, buy separate round-trips on airlines you like and pay $ 298. This is very typical of split city routes.

Another advantage of split ticket itineraries is that travelers can create stopovers, which are not permitted on most discounted round-trip fares (such as the $ 600 fare). For instance, fly from San Jose to Los Angeles the night before flying to Cabo. Spend a day in Los Angeles before taking an afternoon Los Angeles-to-Cabo flight. The time spent in Los Angeles is a created stopover. Create a similar stopover on the return flights, if you wish. Stopovers counter the major potential difficulty of split ticketing, possibly missing the connection flight if either flight into Los Angeles is canceled or delayed.

With split tickets, travelers usually must claim baggage from the first airline, carry them to the second airline, and check in with the second airline. Bringing only carry-on baggage is the best way to eliminate this disadvantage but travelers must still check in with the second airline.

Some typical split ticket routes include:

  • East coast US cities to Hawaii, Australia, or Asia (through San Francisco or Los Angeles)
  • US cities to South America (through Miami or New York)
  • US cities to Europe and Africa (through London or Paris)

There are countless routings that offer split ticketing advantages. Try it while researching your next trip. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Booking Cheap Airline Tickets Online With Airfair Bargaining

Affordability is not a game anymore when it comes to the internet and travel. Too many sites are promising a distinct advantage for the cheapest flights. Unfortunately, these can come with some unsavory options when you get to the airline such as baggage fees, over booking the flights, and delays. While online comparison websites can not do much about the airline troubles you might have, they can at least help you find airfare bargains that make these headaches much better to face. After all, if you are flying from Toronto to Las Vegas for under $ 100 round trip that is a pretty great price and perhaps the best cheap tickets you can find. So, how do you find these mythological deals when you are looking to buy airline tickets?

The window of opportunity …

The window of opportunity will be between 18 and 28 days out from the time you want to travel. Most everyone looks for cheap airfares three months before they travel. They expect to see prices decrease enough to make them affordable. In reality airfare bargains happen 18 to 28 days out from the time you want to travel. The magic number for most airlines is 21 days. This is domestic flights. Internationally, you have a little longer because airlines know you need to get your paperwork in order, but they do not give you too much time. Use the online search engine for cheap airline tickets and do a test. What are tickets from London to Vienna 3 months out versus 28 days? What is a flight from Chicago, IL to Vancouver looking 3 months prior versus 21 days before you want to travel? Anomalies might occur, where things are not as cheap when you have less time, but the general rule is that they are especially for domestic flights.

Fees and taxes inclusive

The best site is going to offer an inclusive fees and taxes rate right on the search page to alleviate any confusion on your cheap airfares. The right company shows you from the beginning the price you have to pay. No credit card or other surcharges apply. What you see is what you pay.

Airfare and hotels

If you are traveling somewhere and you do not have a place to stay, than book the hotel at the same time you get the airfare. In other words, if you do not have family in the place you visit then book cheap tickets and hotels. These all inclusive packages are less than if you book separately or wait until you arrive to make the booking for your hotel in or bed and breakfast. You do not want to be caught with a higher price because you missed an opportunity of cheap tickets and accommodations.

International Airline Travel – The Best Airline To Take From Singapore to Toronto

Flying from Singapore to Toronto, Canada, is one of the longest air routes out of Singapore. There are numerous flights you can take that will connect you from Singapore to Toronto. However many of the flights available require you to transit more than one time, and therefore your journey can be as long as 30 hours! Therefore after flying on many different airlines and testing their different routes from Singapore to Toronto, I have found that there is only one airline that has the best flying route in terms of the shortest time, and the best air ticket price.

The airline that I found that was the best to take from Singapore to Toronto is Cathay Pacific Airlines. This flight would be flying out from Singapore and transiting only once in Hong Kong, from where you will fly direct non-stop to Toronto.

The entire journey with Cathay Pacific to Toronto take approximately 22 to 23 hours, which is just under 1 day's worth of travelling! This is much better when compared with the 30 hours of travelling with United Airlines in which you need to transit twice (one in Tokyo, and the other in Chicago).

Another great thing about Cathay Pacific is that there are over 8 flights daily from Singapore to Hong Kong, therefore making the selection process much more flexible. In addition, most of the times, they will allow you to stop over in Hong Kong, should you want that quick trip in between to explore Hong Kong for a few days. Even simply transiting in Hong Kong is quite a pleasant experience, as Hong Kong's International airport is packed with eateries, and shopping arcades.

Once you transit in Hong Kong and switched to the connecting flight to Toronto, you will be pleased to know that the plane is a brand new Boeing 777 aircraft in which the interior offers you spacious economy seating and with superior selection of in-flight entertainment. Furthermore service in Cathay Pacific is quite good, especially if you compare it to the North American airline companies, such as Air Canada and United Airlines.

Pricing wise, it should cost about $ S 2500 – $ S 3000 (Singapore dollars – depending on whether it is peak or low season) for a round trip from Singapore to Toronto. When you compare it with United Airlines, it maybe a few hundred dollars more expensive, but when you take into account the savings you will get in terms of travel time, then investing a few extra dollars maybe well worth it.

Flying on Cathay Pacific is probably one of the most convenient airlines to take if you plan on flying from Singapore to Toronto. Based on my research, this is the only airline that has the least transits needed.