Frequently asked questions on flights

Get the answers to FAQs on flights, then compare prices to find the right deal for you.

How do I find the right flight?

Before booking a flight consider:

  • Destination
  • Type of flight
  • Services you expect on board
  • Dates and times of flight

Read more in our beginners' guide to buying a flight.

What types of flight are available?


Types of flight to choose from include:

  • Direct flights: You will not be required to change planes or airlines during your trip, but you may make intermediate stops before reaching your destination
  • Non-stop flights: Will fly you directly to your destination with no scheduled stops
  • Connecting flights: Will require you to change aircraft or airline at a scheduled stop before you reach your destination
  • Round-the-world flights: Allow you to travel around the world with multiple stops along the way
  • Multi-leg flights: Allow you to visit two or more locations during one trip with a stopover at each

How do I choose the right airline?

In addition to your destination and route, also consider the type of airline that's right for you:

  • Low-cost airlines: The cheapest option but eliminate many of the standard flight benefits such as meals and complimentary drinks
  • Charter airlines: Offer flights outside normal schedules and operate on behalf of travel companies
  • Scheduled flights: Work through the airline itself or travel agents and operate to published schedules

Did you know...?

  • An airline will typically charge between five and 15 different prices for the same seat over the course of its shelf life
  • Flying late at night or very early morning will often mean routes are less crowded

What are the main ticket options?

  • Standard economy
  • Premium economy
  • Business class
  • First class

When do flight prices change?

An airline will typically charge between five and 15 different prices for the same seat over the course of its shelf life.

Advance prices will be lower, and as the flight fills up prices will increase. However, as the departure date looms airlines are likely to drop their prices dramatically in order to fill space.

When's the best time to book a flight?

All circumstances will vary, but there's a legend that exactly 21 days prior to departure is the best time to book for the cheapest deals, as it's at this point airlines may take stock of their empty seats and lower prices accordingly.

It also tends to be mid-week when airlines look at shifting remaining seats for upcoming flights, so consider looking on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.

What time of day is it cheapest to fly?

Flying late at night or very early morning will often mean routes are less crowded, but this can mean extended airport stays or arriving after or before hotel check-in.

Airlines need to maintain a schedule during off peak times - try to make your weekend trip happen during the week and you may get a cheaper and quieter flight.

Are indirect flights cheaper?

It's possible that taking indirect routes and making long stopovers will reduce airfares. The downside, however, is that the extra time spent on the plane or in an airport might reduce the length of your holiday.

Who pays if I miss a connecting flight?

If you're travelling on a 'through' ticket and your connection is missed, the airline is obliged to source a seat on the next available flight and pay for expenses and overnight accommodation.

But if you book the flights either side of a stopover individually, the airline is under no obligation and your travel insurance probably won't cover you either.Credit cards

Should I pay by credit card?

Credit cards provide you with additional cover should the airline go bust under the Consumer Credit Act, but remember that you may be charged interest if you don't pay off the balance in full at the end of the month.

What other protection might I have?

It's always worth thinking about good travel insurance cover before booking a flight, and you may want to consider whether your policy has scheduled airline failure insurance (Safi) included.

If your flight is delayed you may be entitled to compensation under EU rules.

How do air miles cards work?

Air miles cards allow you to collect air or flying miles as you spend, the rewards to be used either with one specific airline or in more general travel points schemes such as Avios.

Do I need to check-in online beforehand?

Many airlines offer an online check-in option before the day of the flight to ease queuing at the airport, and for some airlines it's a requirement. Always double check with your flight provider and remember that there may be a cut-off point after which you can't complete an online check-in.

What else should I consider when booking a flight?

  • Check that prices include all taxes and charges
  • Ensure that your destination airport is close to your holiday destination - you may need to make arrangements to travel from the airport to your accommodation
  • Familiarise yourself with check-in times and baggage limitations
  • Ensure that you contact the airline ahead of time if you have any special requirements, such as for disabled access or to ensure they cater for a special dietHow to cut the cost of flying
  • With some airlines it may be possible to book your seats before you fly

Any other questions?

See if you can find the answers in our flight guides.

By Sean Davies