UPDATE FOR SUBSCRIBERS:
The flights are with Air New Zealand, and are only for a few days so don’t miss out
Of late, I’ve found myself questioning the sanity of a serial traveller such as myself committing to completing a three-year degree in a beautiful but small coastal town. I’ll go into more detail on that front later this week, but suffice to say I’ve been plagued by itchy feet and crippling waves of nostalgia in the last few weeks.
I sometimes read with envy as Facebook friends around the world are able to make use of various travel-hacking guides and flight search engines to find absolute bargains on flights. In the past, Australia has often lagged behind on this front.
I recently came across I Want That Flight when trying to figure out whether it was more economical for me to book a train to Sydney or to book flights to Sydney for my recent trip to Dubai. While I ultimately decided to head home for a few days via train, it was good to have discovered a flight search tool specific to Australia that I could use for future research.
My sister, her husband, and their adorable kids recently relocated to Melbourne – putting them away from the rest of the Walker-Bush clan for the first time in years. While it’s certainly possible to take a train to Melbourne or to go on a big family road trip, time constraints obviously make flying the more desireable option.
In addition to the generic option to enter your location, your destination, and your travel dates into a search field – I Want That Flight also has the option to select flexible dates when searching. In my case, it doesn’t matter when I visit Melbourne, just as long as I make it down there and shower my niece & nephew with gifts. By selecting anytime, I’m able to browse monthly graphs that show me the cheapest days to fly.
Scroll further down and I’m able to see a handy table that shows me the average price of tickets for every month of the year, making it easy for me to plan when is the best time to head to Sydney’s ugly step-cousin.
Not only does this table let me know just how much Qantas and Virgin have regional travellers over a barrel when it comes to pricing, but it also shows me that my best times to visit my sister would be May, June, or October.
I don’t much fancy paying $180 for a one way ticket right now, but I Want That Flight has the option to set up fare alerts that will keep me posted if there are any specials on the horizon.
Let’s look at my proposed trip to Beijing and Nanjing this June. In this case, I have a very specific intended departure date of May 30th. I can either select my usual departure airport (Sydney) or I can get a bit creative by navigating to the International Flights tab, selecting All International Destinations from the sidebar, and then selecting Beijing.
I’m then presented with information about Beijing as well as a table showing me the average monthly return ticket price from a number of departure points. I literally just did this and was surprised by how competitive with Sydney and Melbourne prices Gold Coast airport is in this regard. I’d only be paying $5 more to fly from the Gold Coast than I would be from Sydney. With the Gold Coast being considerably closer to me than Sydney, it might be worth trekking up north for my planned trip.
In addition to my desire to catch up with old friends in China, I’ve been eying my tattered old passport lately and day-dreaming about checking off bucket list item #71 by just packing a bag and buying a ticket going anywhere.
I go to the International Flights section, enter my departure airport (Sydney), select ‘anytime’ as my flight availability and leave the ‘To’ field blank. Let’s see what the fates have in store for me…
I see cheap flights to various parts of New Zealand, Ho Chi Minh, Bali, Fiji, Bangkok, and Noumea in New Caledonia. That’s one you don’t see every day, so let’s click that and check it out.
Looks like I could be checking out the French colony in late August for a svelte $533 return. Not too shabby!
For the more graphically minded, there’s also a handy world airfare map showing the cheapest flights available from your chosen airport. A $350 return flight to Singapore? Sounds good!
In addition to the powerful flight search engine, I Want That Flight also boasts the aforementioned fare alert set up as well as a regular newsletter making users aware of deals that on cheap flights that they might like to take advantage of. You can sign up for I Want That Flight Deals to be kept abreast of various sales and deals.
On top of all of that, the site also has a blog that shares handy travel-hacking tips such as how to avoid paying for extras with Jetstar as well as more general interest travel stories.
It’s a pretty handy resource, and one I’ll be availing myself of once it comes time to book my flight to Beijing in June.
Do you have any favourite flight search sites you’d like to recommend?