More flying, less paying

Our 5 golden rules of finding low-cost flights

Principle 1: Earlier is cheaper

We frequently postpone planning the trip until a few weeks before departure, worrying that our plans will change, we will not be granted leave etc. Is this justified? Indeed, the cheapest airline tickets almost always may not be returned or changed. However, in the experience of FRU.PL experts the price of a flight booked in advance may be twice or even thrice lower than of one purchased 14 days before departure. So maybe it’s worth “risking” buying the airline tickets earlier?

When is it best to buy cheap flights?

Low-cost airlines provide price lists and allow booking 6 months in advance, and on very popular routes, such as Warsaw-London it may be even up to 11 months. That’s when the most advantageous prices are available, right after the rates are set. Traditional airlines set the rates 11 months in advance, with the booking classes’ structure playing an important role. The classes with promotion prices will frequently have only a few places (3–4 per plane). They are intended to tempt us with the price, but disappear quickly.

Is it worth waiting for a promotion?

The tried and true answer is “it depends”. There are some airlines which offer attractive prices for flights in a cyclic and predictable manner (e.g. Wizzair with a 20% discount, LOT and Crazy Wednesday, or AirFrance/KLM with promotions n a 3-day cycle). It also makes sense to wait for a promotion for routes on which the prices always fluctuate around the same value, regardless of how close the departure date is.

So, if we have 6-7 months until the planned trip, or if we are inclined to adapt the flight date to good prices we can wait and keep abreast of developments. FRU.PL makes it a point of principle to provide notification about all promotions — SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER and like us on Facebook, and you will be the first to know about the best opportunities for cheap flights.

Principle 2: Combined flights and Smart Connection — combine flights with different airlines

Sometimes the social networks are awash with information on incredibly cheap flights, e.g. New York for PLN 600. Is it possible? How does it happen? Usually the extremely cheap flights result from tariff errors (erroneous flight data entered into the booking system by the airline), and even if we manage to book them, the lines may cancel them, only returning the money paid for the flight.

The more interesting extremely cheap flights are called Combined Flights. What are these?

Combined Flights are offers which combine flights legs with various airlines which do not want their offers combined in the booking systems. For example flying to Paris with Ryanair and returning with Air France.

NOTE! Not all flight search engines offer Combined Flights. Finding them requires complex algorithms. We recommend the FRU.PL search engine, of course – compare and see who provides you with the best flight options!

Combined Flight – when it makes sense

Combined flights are frequently the cheapest option when many competing airlines operate on a given route, and when low-cost airlines on the route in question offer only one flight a week, and we want to depart and return on specific days.

We also suggest Combined Flights when we only plan a short sightseeing trip or a well deserved holiday. When we only stay 3–4 days at a given location, every hour of rest counts. It then makes sense to pay an additional 50 zlotys and to select the best departure and return hours, to spend at the destination as much time as possible. For example, the flight shown above — departure in the morning with Ryanair and return on the latest Air France flight, whereas the Wednesday Ryanair return flight would be at 11 in the morning.

Combined Flight — what to watch for

If combined flights are selected, it is good to check whether the arrival and departure airports do not change, as in the above example shows: arrival at Beauvais, and departure from Charles de Gaulle. This may require establishing the logistics arriving to the airport from downtown.

Additionally when flying a combined flight with a transfer (e.g.from Warsaw to Lisbon, transferring in Barcelona, combining a WAW – BCN flight with Wizzair and a BCN – LIS flight with Ryanair) one has to remember that in case of a delay of one flight the second one is lost. Lines do not treat this as a joint reservation, so we bear the risk of such an event. You should get insurance for such events — see Principle 5!

Smart Connection — a transfer which makes sense

The FRU.PL search engine provides an exceptional innovation — the possibility of creating a single offer of flights from regular and low-cost airline offers. Such trips provide extremely attractive prices, since they allow the savings of even more than 60% of the standard ticket price. Sometimes the savings may exceed a thousand zlotys. The duration of transfers becomes longer, so they last from a few to tens of hours. This time may be used for sightseeing in the city and to change the airport. With luck, one trip may allow you to see three different places: your destination and two cities during the trip. Check whether the transfer occurs during the day or at night, and remember to include the costs of possible lodging for the night. In most cases the use of Smart Connection pays off.

Where can you go with Smart Connection?

Smart Connection is marked with a special logo and is shown only in the situation when its price is advantageous compared to traditional connections. That’s why you probably won’t find it at the Warsaw to Oslo route, where low-cost carriers operate regularly, but it appears among flights to Portuguese Faro, to Bordeaux, to Balearic Islands or to Canary Islands.

Principle 3: Arrival/departure from another city

This principle is rather controversial and usually raises many emotions among experts on cheap flights. What’s the point of finding a flight cheaper by 100 zlotys and departing from Warsaw when you live in Kraków and the costs of travelling to the capital and back exceed the value of this “saving”? Not to mention the fact that travelling to another city takes time, frequently many times longer than transfers between flights (when taking into account additional travel time to the airport).

So, when does it make sense to use another airport?

  1. When direct connections are available only from other cities in Poland. It is not worth considering when we are interested in flying to locations to which direct flights are available from the nearest airport.
  2. When looking for flights on routes that are not popular and require a transfer. The knowledge of experts on flights will always be useful here. Sometimes it makes sense to look for cheap flights even from Berlin, saving even up to 1000 zlotys per person, and to travel there by car, train or a low-cost airline.

For example:
Let’s assume for a moment that we dream of a holiday in Malta. Inhabitants of Warsaw, wrongly accustomed to the fact that all low-cost flights depart from airports in the capital would start their search from looking for a trip from Warsaw to Malta, and would get quickly discouraged with the price and with spending almost twenty four hours in transit. Which would be wrong, because flying to Malta from Krakow& provides not only a direct flight, but also saves even up to 900 zlotys per

Principle 4: Carry-on or checked luggage?

Success! We have found the low-cost flight of our dreams, made the decision, we’re starting the booking, and… we encounter many more questions and additional costs. Although it is easy to decide that it’s not worth paying additionally for airport check-in and it’s much better to use online check-in, but the issue of luggage is more complex.

When is the carry-on luggage sufficient?

Carry-on luggage usually saves 150 zlotys in one direction. It is worth considering how to pack to save this amount. The carry-on luggage limits are different depending on the airline, but one may assume that there is at least 6 kg of luggage available in a small rolling suitcase or a small backpack. The common knowledge is that carry-on luggage may not be used to transport toiletries. Nothing could be further from truth – they may be carried, but they have to be prepared correctly. We can take a total of 1 litre of toiletries in a transparent toiletry bag (or a simple bag), divided into containers of 100 ml each. Such toiletries can be bought cheaply online and in popular shops and drugstores. Such a toiletry bag may be transported in the luggage of each passenger and is completely sufficient for even a week of travelling.

When does it make sense to pay additionally for checked luggage?

If we’re flying for longer trip, or have special requirements concerning used toiletries, ofwhich wee need a significant amount, checked luggage may be worth considering. We can also consider taking checked luggage when we’re going for a wining and dining trip and are planning to bring some choice delicacies back home.

It is also necessary when taking more specialised tourist equipment. Taking even tent pegs or a tourist knife means that you need to pack them in the checked luggage. Learn more about carry-on and checked luggage.

NOTE! Please remember that checked luggage is more frequently damaged when travelling (not to mention delayed or lost). When checking such luggage taking out travel insurance makes sense — see Principle 5.

Principle 5: Travel insurance — it’s really worth it!

The flight is purchased, we took care of luggage, we’re starting the travel and… danger seems to be lurking around every corner. What if the flight is cancelled or delayed, and we already have a booked hotel? What if our luggage is damaged or lost? Can we allow ourselves to experiment with food and try, for example, local frutti di mare?

If we want to travel care-free, it is important to take out good travel insurance. When purchased separately, it will frequently not include flight cancellation, luggage insurance etc. in the package. Additionally, when purchased with the flight or with a hotel it is usually cheaper. Buying insurance with FRU.PL costs only 8 PLN/day/person — check the details and compare the offers, to make sure you’re getting a solid, quality package.