Best sites for finding out which airlines fly to your destination are
Airline Destinations and Jumblefly
Best sites for cheap flights are:
Kayak aggregates searches from lots of other sites
Alternative Airlines is good for unusual destinations
Opodo also covers off the beaten track routes
Use a flight consolidator, who buys flights in bulk and sells them at wholesale prices. Its worth phoning them too if you know exactly what you are looking for.
Flight Centre 0844 800 8653
Netflights 0844 493 1234
Trailfinders 0845 054 6666
More leg room
Bear in mind that some charter flights like Monarch and First Choice offer long haul premium cabins with more leg room than national carriers like BA, and they will be much cheaper.
Fly non direct
If you can bear the prospect of a non-direct flight then there can be substantial savings. For example, fly to Johannesburg via the Emirates and you could save £200. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways all offer competitive prices to South Africa’s main hubs. You can usually fly overnight to get some sleep and then get a morning connection.
Rather than book into an airport lounge try a Yotel (Heathrow Terminal 4 and Gatwick South Terminal) where £25 buys you 4 hours peace. Or you can book an overnight stay in a standard or premium room. Schiphol, Amsterdam also has a Yotel which can be useful if you have a long wait for a KLM connection. Tel.020 7100 1100
Parking at the airport?
Parking your car before dawn in a long term car park and then waiting in the cold and rain for a bus is not great for getting your holiday off to a relaxing start – and you have to factor in more travel time. Likewise the drive home is much less hassle if you haven’t got to do the same thing in reverse, laden with duty frees.
If you have a long journey to the airport one option is to book into an airport hotel the night before. The deals they offer, particularly if you travel at an off peak time, mean that the parking cost will effectively be zero. The Radisson Edwardian at Heathrow for example offers 15 days free parking when you book a room. Phoning direct seems to elicit better deals than online.
Or consider valet parking, where they take your car off to a distant car park and have it ready on your return. There is usually not much to choose between their rates and those of a long term car park, and they are often cheaper. To ensure your car won’t be left somewhere dubious, use a company with the Park Mark award
All airports - Purple Meet and Greet
Gatwick - Help-Me-Park
Manchester –Global Meet and Greet
Finally try the short stay car parks at the main airports – usually expensive, but if you are traveling out of main holiday periods they often have heavily discounted offers that work out very little more than the cost of parking in the long term car parks.