I come across many people who want to travel, but do not know exactly how to execute their plan. One of the things they get stuck on is how to book a flight online. In this post, I will break it down for you in very easy and simple steps so that you can book your first flight and go see the world.
Find out if you care about a specific airport
Most big cities have more than one airport. Most of the time you do not care where you arrive, but sometimes you do because you are staying closer to one than the other. Check this by opening google maps and search for the airport in your specific destination and anything else that is important to you. If there is no reason to fly to a specific airport, great. It will make finding a flight easier.
Check Skyscanner for price comparison
Skyscanner is the Trivago of flights. It will give you all the different flight that day from A to B and the different prices on different websites. It is the best for finding the cheapest prices in Europe and the Americas. For Asia, you can use C-trip, which is the same idea but is optimized for Asia.
Once you have typed in your Departure and Destination, you can scroll through the different options. On the side you can filter for length, stops, departure and arrival times, and airlines. If you have a preference for any of these, make sure to add them there to narrow down your search. From there you will see your best options and now it is up to you to pick the one that suits you best.
Follow the link on Skyscanner
Once you have picked the one you liked, you can click on it and you will see at the bottom there are different links to different websites that offer this flight. Pick the one you like and follow the link. You may pick the cheapest, but if you do not like the website, one of the others will also do. Normally two or three websites have more or less the same price with maybe a difference of five Euros. Once you clicked the link, it will take you to the website where you have to complete your booking.
Sometimes worth paying a little more
Most airlines do not just offer one price for the same flight. Even for the seat, you have selected there might be two or three different booking classes. Booking classes are packages you get in exchange for what you pay. The ones you are probably familiar with are economy, business, and first class. These days the airlines have noticed that people have others needs as well so normally for Economy there are two or three different categories as well.
For example, for swiss, on their in Europe flights, you can now book without a big luggage and the chance to rebook and it will be cheaper. You can also book higher and get more privileges, and the chance to rebook for free and others. This is something to consider when booking. How likely is it that you will take a lot of things? Is there a high chance that you might need to change the date of your trip? If the answer is yes, it is worth paying a little more when booking to get what you really need.
Book the actual flight
Once you decided on everything you will go through the selection process and pick the flight you want. From there you will enter all your details where they ask for them. If you are flying with an airline that has a loyalty program, I would register for it. They do not cost you anything but can bring you benefits if you keep flying with them.
Then you have to fill in your payment details. You will have to use a credit card to do so. Once the credit card has been charged, everything is done. Before you confirm your payment, make sure to doublecheck all the details.
Once you bought your flight, you will receive a confirmation via email. This is important so I suggest you flag it. It has all the information about your flight, booking, and all other important information. This is where you will find your booking information for check-in and all the allowances and timings.
Many companies now allow you to check-in online. This will save you a ton of time at the airport and allow you faster passing. To be able to do this, you will have to go to the website of your airline and use the booking reference from your confirmation and your last name to help the system find your reservation. It will then ask you for many more personal details, and in the end give you your boarding card. This you can print or get a mobile copy through the airline app on your phone. If you have it on your phone, make sure you have battery on the day of your flight.
That is it. Hopefully that helps you get through how to book a flight online for the first time. I believe you can do it. Now that you know how to book a flight, check out my guide on hostels here and everything you should consider when booking one here to make your journey even more fun. If you are thinking, that you don't have the time or money to travel, check out my guide on how to save money for travel here, and how to travel as a fulltime students here.
Hope these tips have helped you get started. If you have any other tips or advice, feel free to share them in the comment below or on social media.
Enjoy your travel.