Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I chose the flight I did for my family - thoughts & tips


Our destination in Sweden.
I recently booked tickets for my family to fly to Sweden this summer, just like we've done the last few years. We had several flights to choose from, and as usual, price was one of the biggest determining factors, though it was not the only one. Here are some of the thoughts I had while booking our trip:

Vancouver International Airport was not an option
We live just outside Vancouver, so our "home airport" is Vancouver International, but flights from there to Sweden were simply too expensive for the four of us to even consider.

Sea-Tac airport was a better alternative
Driving down to Seattle does take about 5 hours (plus you have to factor in wait-times at the border), so it's a substantial drive, but when flights are significantly cheaper it still makes sense to do it.

Good flight-times are important when flying with kids
I actually did not pick the cheapest flight for our trip. The cheapest flight was one that went through Paris, but there were some problems with it. On the way to Sweden, we would have had to over-night in Stockholm because the flight arrived so late that there were no connecting flights to northern Sweden that day.

On the way back to Canada, we would had to stay over one night in Paris. Also, on the way to Stockholm, we would have had to wait at the airport for 5 hours. That would add up to a lot of expenses for food, lodging, and it would also be very exhausting when traveling with the kids. With the Iceland Air flight we picked, we only have 45 minutes between flights in Reykjavik.

A good airline and a good airport can be a deal-maker
 Like I mentioned, we only have 45 minutes between flights in Reykjavik. That might sound like not enough time, and if it were any other airline and airport, I would probably agree. However, I know from experience (this will be the fourth time we travel with Iceland Air), that
  • Keflavik airport in Iceland (the one stop on our way to Stockholm) is relatively small and easy to get around, so getting from one gate to another is easy.
  • Iceland Air will wait for incoming passengers if at all possible before departing the next flight, mainly because they operate both of the flights that we (and hundreds of other travelers) are traveling in on
  • lineups are usually not a big problem at Reykjavik airport.
In this case then, my previous experience with the airline and the airport we're connecting through, made me more inclined to pick a flight that I might not have picked otherwise.

I used a travel agent because it makes it easier
My travel agent is very helpful and very reliable. She got a us the seats we wanted on board, she checked to see if it made a difference to the price if we left a few days earlier or later, and she shopped around for different travel insurance options. All these things I know I could do by myself, but having someone else do it for me really helps.

Final thoughts:
I am so glad that in today's world, I can travel with an electronic ticket, delivered via email, rather than with the old-style "booklet of paper vouchers" that I remember from way back when I first started traveling by plane.



2 comments:

  1. This is a very good blog - I am planning to travel with our 1-year old and I think find some interesting tips.

    I will be your regular reader from now on!

    ReplyDelete

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