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Flight Review: Polish Airlines LOT – First Impression of the Polish National Carrier

Polish Airlines LOT flight review

I didn’t know a whole lot before flying the Polish Airlines LOT – Poland’s national airline – but they sure left a big impression! Read on to find out more or watch the video on my YouTube channel!

Flight Details

Airline: Polish Airlines LOT
Route: Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) to Prague Vaclav Havel Airport (PRG)
Date: January 20
Aircraft: Embraer 195
Duration: 01:25 hours.
Seat: 14A (Economy – Emergency exit)

 Have you watched my full review? 

Check-In

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

I checked into both flight legs at Amsterdam Schiphol – AMS to WAW and WAW to PRG – so cannot give a full review on what the check-in experience was like at Warsaw Chopin Airport.

Amsterdam Schiphol check-in staff were prompt and efficient, letting me check in a few minutes ahead of opening time as I had been milling around the terminal after arriving quite early after spending the night in Rotterdam.

I checked my bag on the whole way to Prague and opted to take anything I needed for my overnight stay in Warsaw in my carry-on.

At the time of writing, check-in for Polish Airlines LOT at Amsterdam Airport is at Departure 1.

Have a layover in Warsaw? Check out these airport hotels!

Warsaw Chopin Airport

I did experience immigration in Warsaw as I stayed overnight at the Rennaisance Warsaw Airport, located just steps from the airport.

Perhaps it was just the time of day I visited or some other reason but I found immigration to be confusing. Upon lining up to clear customs at the B/C Gates where I’d been advised to go, abruptly, we were told to move to a different security screening area.

Not speaking Polish I was a little confused and followed the trail of people moving across the airport to the new security clearance area.

Aside from this little false start, my experience at Warsaw Chopin Airport was a breeze. In fact, I think it’s a great transit airport!

There are plenty of food outlets (including a Johnny Rockets – don’t judge me!), shops to peruse and areas for kids to play and huge floor to ceiling views of the tarmac. There is complimentary (fast!) WiFi throughout the airport.

Boarding

Warsaw Chopin Airport is a ‘silent’ airport. A silent airport means there is limited calls and only ‘final calls’ for flights are announced via the PA system. I didn’t know this and despite sitting one gate over from my boarding gate, I almost missed the final call – whoops!

We boarded the flight by bus. After sitting on the tarmac for around 20 minutes with no updates on what was happening and with the doors of the bus open (it was winter in Poland and about 0-degrees Celcius outside!) Finally the driver headed off to the plane and we boarded the Embraer by stairs.

Aircraft

While I was boarding the cabin manager told me it wasn’t going to be a full flight that night. By the time the flight had boarded it was only at around 50-60% capacity, which was similar to my flight from Amsterdam to Warsaw.

I’m going to assume it’s because these flights were mid-winter and post-holiday season, but I’m curious to know your experience!

Seats

On this particular flight, the Embraer had only two rows of Business class seating (8 seats total). A cabin crew member has since informed me that this isn’t standard but can be adjusted to suit the airlines needs. Since seats are standard across the aircraft, Business class passengers have their neighbouring seats blocked off to allow for more space, and a few other perks.

In standard configuration, Polish Airline LOT’s Embrarers come in a two-cabin configuration with 20 Business class seats, 12 Economy Plus seats, and 80 standard Economy Seats.

From what I could gather, the Economy Plus seats were simply seated at the front of the aircraft, directly behind Business Class, and cost around 30 per cent more than normal economy fares. Maybe there are some benefits on their long-haul flights, however, I didn’t notice a huge difference between the two classes on these smaller Embraers.

Across all three cabins, seats on Polish Airline Lot’s Embraer have a pitch of 31″. In standard Economy, seats have a width of 17.3″.

Food

When I booked my ticket I noticed that the fare type mentioned that I’d get ‘drinks & snack’. The previous night, when flying on a dinner service, I had expected to get a small meal, like what Qantas offers passengers travelling domestically. This didn’t materialise!

Drinks and snacks is a choice of water (still or sparkling) or juice and a Prince Polo chocolate bar. On this particular flight, they offered complimentary soft drinks as well.

As the flight was under two-hours, this was perfectly acceptable in my mind. There was also a range of reasonably priced snacks for purchase on the flight. It seems that if your flight is less than 90-minutes snacks will not be sold.

If you can get food onboard do consider it. For 25 Polish zloty (under AU$10) I got a large sandwich, Pepsi, and a packet of gummy bears on the Amsterdam to Warsaw flight.

In-Flight Entertainment

If you choose to fly with Polish Airline’s LOT be sure to bring something to pass the time as their Embraers don’t come with inflight entertainment systems.

I wasn’t particularly fussed on such a short-haul flight. I simply plugged my headphones in and listened to music and read my book.

Crew

From check-in at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to touchdown at Prague airport, I had a great experience with the Polish Airlines LOT crew.

Service onboard began a little slow but the staff smiled and seemed happy when I asked for a drink post-meal. They were also attentive throughout the flight.

The crew did four laps of the main cabin at regular intervals after service to ensure everything was cleared away. They were also happy to talk when able and taught me a few words in Polish when I showed interest.  (I can now say ‘Dziękuję’ – thank you! – and used it a few times during my layover in Warsaw)

It’s these little things that I appreciate and what sets apart an okay airline from a great airline.

Unpacking

I knew little about Polish Airlines LOT before flying them but they made a big impact. Their service is efficient, comfortable, and their aircrafts clean. Being part of Star Alliance gives me plenty of good reasons to choose them over the competing low-cost airlines in the region.

The only area that they let me down was in the lack of in-flight entertainment, but for a two-hour or less flight on such a small aircraft, I guess I can forgive them though.

I found that most flights from Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) to Prague Vaclav Havel Airport (PRG) cost a small fortune, even during the middle of winter, so I opted to save more than €100 with an overnight stop in Warsaw.

Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) is a compact but comfortable airport. While it lacks fancy lounges, it does offer plenty of cafes, play spaces for kids, and great plane spotting opportunities. They also have a great range of hotels at many price points should you have a long layover. I stayed at the very cool Renaissance Warsaw Airport Hotel just steps from the terminal and had a great nights sleep!

I’m looking forward to trying out Polish Airline LOT’s 787 Boeing Dreamliner or a long-haul route to see if the Polish national carrier continues to offer a competitive product in a region teeming with choice.


Read this next

What to do on a stopover in Warsaw, Poland
(Coming soon!)

The Best Hotels near Warsaw Chopin Airport

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The Best Hotels near Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW)

hotels at Warsaw Airport

Written in February 2020.

Planning a stopover or layover in Warsaw? Perhaps you have an early flight and don’t want to rush to start your day. Whatever your reason, a night at a hotel near Warsaw Chopin Airport is a great way to start your trip or refresh mid-journey.

As Poland’s largest airport, and the hub airport for LOT Polish Airlines, this compact airport is a great place for a stopover in Europe.

But where to stay near Warsaw Airport?

I’ve rounded up the best options in this handy post, including information about where to sleep in Warsaw Airport (do-able but not recommended if you want to start your journey fresh!)

Aviation themed playground for kids at Warsaw Chopin Airport, Poland

What you need to know about Warsaw Airport

Seven things to make your stopover in Warsaw easier:

  • Warsaw Airport is open 24-hours.
  • They have free WiFi!
  • Most stores at Warsaw Airport shut at 11 pm, though there are a few cafes and convenience-style stores which are open 24-hours.
  • This is a ‘quiet’ airport, meaning there are limited announcements made for your flight.
  • Passengers who do not have lounge access can buy a pass to relax and shower. None of the lounges has sleeping facilities.
  • Warsaw Airport is known by several names. The full airport name is Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie, but it is still referred to by it’s the former name and suburb the airport occupies, so listen out for “Okecie” (“Lotnisko Okecie”), Warsaw-Okecie (Port Iotniczy Warszawa-Okecie) or Okecie International Airport.
  • Warsaw does have a second airport – Warsaw Modlin Airport to the cities north. This airport is serviced almost exclusively by Ryanair, though Air Malta will begin regular flights there from March.

Can I sleep at Warsaw Chopin Airport?

Also known as Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie, Warsaw Chopin Airport is open 24-hours. There aren’t any designated rest zones and I didn’t see any people sleeping in the airport; It was very quiet when I was there between 1 am – 3 am, but there are plenty of chairs both landside and airside which don’t have armrests and are great for sleeping.

One thing to note is that the airport gets very cold, especially in the cooler months. I highly recommend bringing a sleeping back or warm jacket if you plan on sleeping here.

There are plenty of powerpoints where you can charge your devices throughout the airport.

Are there showers at Warsaw Airport?

There are no public showers at Warsaw Airport, however, people can purchase lounge access for a small fee to access showers, meals, and comfortable lounge facilities.

I recommend travelling with an eco-friendly microfibre towel, though most lounges will provide you with a complimentary towel and toiletries.

UPGRADE YOUR NEXT TRIP: Whether you want to upgrade your layover or are a frequent traveller, consider purchasing a lounge membership pass such as Priority Pass. With a Priority Pass have access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world for a low rate. Best of all, you can buy a one-off pass or one to use all around the world! Check out the Priority Pass web site for the most up-to-date information.

Are there in-terminal hotels at Warsaw Airport?

At the time of writing, there is no in-terminal hotel.

There are hotels at Warsaw Airport directly outside the terminal, including the Renaissance Warsaw Airport Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott Warszawa Airport.

Which hotels are near Warsaw Airport

Check out the handy comparison chart below to choose the perfect hotel near Warsaw Airport:

Which hotels are near Warsaw Chopin Airport

Check out the handy comparison chart below to choose the perfect hotel near Warsaw Airport:

HOTELLOCATIONRATINGFREE
WIFI?
FOOD?FEATURESPRICE
Renaissance Warsaw
Airport Hotel
At the
airport
5-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Gym
– Pool
– Spa & wellness centre
$$
Courtyard by Marriott
Warszawa Airport
At the
airport
4-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Gym$$
Hampton by Hilton
Warsaw Airport
0.3 km away3-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Free airport shuttle
– Gym
$$
Airport Hotel Okecie0.8 km away4-starYesBar– Free airport shuttle
– Gym
– Spa & wellness centre
$$
Sangate Hotel Airport0.9 km away3-starYesRestaurant & Bar$
Hampton by Hilton
Warsaw Mokotow
1.3 km awayx-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Free airport shuttle
– Non-smoking hotel
$$
Holiday Inn Express
Warsaw Airport
4 km away3-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Free airport shuttle
– Complimentary breakfast
$
Holiday Inn Express
Warsaw – Mokotow
3.2 km away3-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Complimentary breakfast$
Four Points by Sheraton
Warsaw Mokotow
5. km away4-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Paid airport shuttle
– Gym
$$
Hotel Novotel
Warszawa Airport
3 km away4-starYesRestaurant
& Bar
– Free airport shuttle
– Gym
$$
Vienna House
Mokotow Warsaw
1.2 km away4-starYesBar– Gym$
Renaissance Warsaw Airport, Poland | luxury hotels at Warsaw Chopin Airport

Hotels at Warsaw Chopin Airport

Renaissance Warsaw Airport Hotel

Located directly across from Warsaw Chopin Airport, this modern airport hotel features bright pops of colours, plush furnishings and one cool vibe. Concrete walls and velvet, stencil art of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe – you get the picture, this place is cool!

I enjoyed views from of the terminal (but unfortunately not the runway) with their soundproof windows. Free WiFi is available throughout. On-site you’ll find a restaurant, bar and a relaxed guest lounge. There’s also an indoor pool and fitness centre.

Location: (Directly opposite the terminals) Żwirki i Wigury 1H, 00-906 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Courtyard by Marriott Warsaw Airport | luxury hotels near Warsaw Chopin Airport

Courtyard by Marriott Warsaw Airport

Adjacent Warsaw Chopin Airport and just 15 minutes from downtown Warsaw, this comfortable airport hotel offers a peaceful place to rest your head while you are travelling through Warsaw.

With large rooms, smart TVs and premium bedding, your layover in Poland will leave you feeling relaxed. Bathrooms offer combined bath/showers. On-site find a brasserie, Internet cafe and lobby far. There’s also a gym and free WiFi available throughout.

If you want to spend some time in the city centre on your stopover in Warsaw, the nearest fast train (SKM) train station is just a few minutes walks away.

Location: (Directly opposite the terminals) 1J, Żwirki i Wigury, 00-001 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com

Hampton by Hilton Warsaw Airport | hotels near Warsaw Chopin Airport

Hotels near Warsaw Chopin Airport

Hampton by Hilton Warsaw Airport

Located near Warsaw Airport, this comfortable Hampton by Hilton property is just 1km from the airport.

Rooms come fitted with comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs, and basic coffee and tea facilities. THere’s also free WiFi throughout the property. If you need extra space or an extra bed, upgraded rooms have sitting areas with pull-out sofas.

Fuel up for your day with a complimentary hot buffet breakfast. Also, the snack bar, business centre and gym are open 24-hours a day.

Location: Komitetu Obrony Robotników 39F, 02-148 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Airport Hotel Okecie | luxury hotels near Warsaw Airport

Airport Hotel Okecie

For luxe feels and easy access to Warsaw Airport, consider booking a luxurious stay at the Airport Hotel Okęcie. You’ll be welcomed to spacious, glamorously decorated rooms with complimentary WiFi throughout,

If you have a stopover in Poland during winter, you’ll be kept warm with the heated bathroom floors, access to the on-site spa with hot stubs, a salt wall and city views as you unwind from your trip in the sauna.

Included in the price is a free breakfast and airport shuttle. There are also two bars within the hotel, plus a restaurant.

Location: ul, Komitetu Obrony Robotników 24, 02-148 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Sungate Hotel Airport | cheap hotels near Warsaw Airport

Sangate Hotel Airport

Tucked away in a peaceful spot just 1km from the airport, discover the Sangate Hotel Airport – a budget-friendly hotel near Warsaw Airport.

Simple rooms are fitted with comfortable beds, fresh linens, TVs and complimentary WiFi. There are also suites available with living rooms for those who want extra space.

While there enjoy a traditional Polish meal at their on-site restaurant or a drink in the lobby bar.

Location: Komitetu Obrony Robotników 32, 02-148 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Hampton by Hilton Warsaw Mokotow | hotels near Warsaw Airport

Hampton by Hilton Warsaw Mokotow

The perfect hotel for business travellers nears Warsaw Airport, the Hampton by Hilton Warsaw Mokotow offers luxe, no-fuss finishes perfect for travellers on the go.

Comfortable rooms with soft Hilton-exclusive bedding will allow for a great nights sleep. For those who need to prepare for business meetings, there’s a Business Centre and also plenty of space in the room. Included in the price of the room is a free hot breakfast, complimentary WiFi, and fitness centre. You can also access a Digital Key to access your hotel room via the Hilton app.

Best of all? Warsaw Chopin International Airport is just 3-kilometres away!

Location: Postępu 7, 02-676 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com

Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Airport | cheap hotels near Warsaw Airport

Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Airport

If you are looking for a great budget hotel near Poland’s main airport, then the Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Airport is a great option.

Unwind in simply decorated rooms with plush, comfortable bedding, plenty of space to stretch out and work. There’s an on-site business centre, complimentary WiFi, and all rooms are equipped with large desks. Then, start your day right with complimentary hot breakfast.

There’s also a complimentary airport shuttle to Warsaw Airport available 24-hours.

When arriving in Warsaw, make sure you are checking in to the correct hotel! This is not to be confused with the Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Mokotow.

Location: Poleczki 31, 02-822 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Mokotow

There’s not one but two Holiday Inn Express’ near Warsaw Airport, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy a good nights sleep on a budget. The Mokotow branch of the hotel chain is located in the suburb next to the airport.

This modern hotel is located in the Warsaw Mokotow business district. In your room, you’ll find everything you need for a restful nights sleep – comfortable bed with signature Holiday Inn-bedding, large desk, and a private bathroom. Sleep well when you choose from the pillow menu.

Complimentary Wifi, coffee and tea are all included in the cost of the room. Then, wake up and fuel up with a complimentary hot buffet in the price of your room.

Location: Postępu 15F, 02-676 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → Booking.com | Agoda

Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow | hotels near Warsaw Airport

Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow

One of the newest hotels near Warsaw Airport, in the heart of the business district, Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow offers guests one of the best-valued hotels near the Polish airport.

Taking cues from famous Polish artists of the 50s and 60s, this hotel offers guests a light, bright airport hotel experience while ensuring the style and comfort modern travellers crave. Upgrade to a suite. to enjoy additional living room space.

All rooms have access to complimentary WiFi.

Be sure to enjoy the on-site restaurant or bar during your stay. There’s also a gym and sauna available for guest use.

Location: Suwak Street 7B, 02-676 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Novotel Warszawa Airport | hotels near Warsaw Airport

Novotel Warszawa Airport

Looking for a family-friendly hotel that still means business? The Novotel Warszawa Airport may be the right option for your layover in Poland!

The hotel offers up minimalistic rooms with plush furnishings, with exactly what you need and no more. All rooms come with comfortable beds, large flat-screen TVs, and plenty of places to power up your devices or use the complimentary WiFi.

Enjoy a meal at Novo2 – the stylish hotel restaurant and bar. Relax in the outdoor pool, gym or sauna. There’s also a kids’ playroom sure to delight.

An airport shuttle is available for a fee.

Location: 1 Sierpnia 1, 02-134 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Vienna House Mokotow Warsaw | boutique hotels near Warsaw Airport

Vienna House Mokotow Warsaw

With an industrial-chic vibe, this hotel is sure to please design aficionados!

Sleek, airy rooms feature cosy beds and comfortable linen. Enjoy people watching the leafy, tree-lined street outside through the floor-to-ceiling windows, or get some work done at the desk. Some rooms come with living/dining areas or kitchenettes.

With free WiFi available throughout the property and the rooms equipped with Smart TV’s, you’ll be able to relax from your long-haul flight in comfort at Vienna House!

If you have time to explore Warsaw, the hotel is located 15 minutes’ walk from Warszawa Służewiec train station.

Location: Postępu 4, 02-676 Warszawa, Poland

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda


Planning a trip to Warsaw? Read this first!

Flight Review: Polish Airlines LOT

Stopover Guide: What to do on a layover in Warsaw, Poland
[coming soon!]

What to pack for Europe in Winter
[coming soon!]


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9 Airlines Heading to Australia in 2020

With the new year here we can begin the countdown to some very exciting new routes – both locked in and being trialled – coming to Australia in 2020.

Cheap flights are the common side effect of new route announcements, as exiting airlines vye to continue to be the market leader, but also it gives us travellers opportunity to travel with greater ease if needing to make a stopover en-route to our dream vacation destination!

One thing I predict we are sure to see is that competition from Asian airlines continues to grow in Australia. I believe that north-east Asia will be the biggest winner in the region as popularity for visiting Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea continues to grow.

Vietnam is also going to win as tourism continues to surge to the Southeast Asian country fast becomes a favourite with Aussies seeking something different than the usual Bali or Phuket holidays. Two Vietnam airlines are tapped to begin flights to Australia in 2020: Vietjet and Bamboo Airways.

Finally, I believe Melbourne Avalon Airport is going to finally begin to boom. Previously offering only several domestic flights with Jetstar, this week the airport is celebrating its one year anniversary offering international services between Kuala Lumpur and Avalon. The roaring success has lead to several other low-cost carriers (LLC) seeking to base their Australian flights from here in a massive win for this airport near the Great Ocean Road.

Here are 9 airlines heading to Australia in 2020!

El Al: Tel Aviv (TLV) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)

El Al will be trialling three flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne in April and May 2020, as the Israeli carrier evaluates launching regular non-stop services between the destinations.

These flights will be the longest flights that El Al operate and will operated using their fresh Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The flight from Tel Aviv to Melbourne will be one of the longest flights in the world as flights are expected to be 16 hours and 15 minutes, with the return expected to take 17 hours and 45 minutes.

The route aids connections for Australia’s growing Jewish community, which is primarily found residing in Melbourne.

Citilink is now flying their Airbus A330neo to Perth and Melbourne, Australia

Citilink: Bali Denpasar (DPS) to Melbourne Avalon (AVV)

Located just a short drive from Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, it’s not surprising that you have not heard of Melbourne’s second airport. This little airport once serviced only Domestic routes, but a big change is occuring as it becomes a hub for low-cost international airlines wanting to service Melbourne.

After the successful launch of two daily flights from Melbourne Avalon to Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia in 2019, a new airline is joining the departure board beginning over the Australia Day long-weekend.

Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink will begin operating daily flights from Avalon Airport to Denpasar onboard their A330neo. Aussie tourists seeking a bargain priced flight to the popular holiday destination will be seated in the all-Economy configuration; if you feel like a little extra leg room you may want to sit in the first few rows called the ‘Green Zone’ for a few extra dollars.

This will be the second Austalian city which Citilink operate from after launching flights from Perth to Denpasar in late 2019.

Read next: How to get to Melbourne Avalon Airport

Vietjet A321XLR warp

Vietjet:  Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Brisbane (BNE) and Melbourne Avalon (AVV)

With the rise in popularity of Vietnam with Australians, it’s exciting to see Vietnamese low-cost carrier, Vietjet launching two routes to Australia in 2020!

The first will be to Brisbane International, originally slated to launch in late 2019. At the time of writing, it appears a launch date has not been made public. This service will also allow VietJet to offer flights to Brisbane from both Delhi International and Taipei Taoyuan, via Ho Chi Minh – two of the cities most important tourism markets.

Melbourne’s Avalon Airport will be the second destination to run services between Australia and the Vietnamese capital. Services are set to begin in the second half of 2020, subejct to regulatory approval.

According to Reuters, Vietjet plan to fly the Airbus A321XLR to both Australian destinations.

Phillipine Airlines: Manilla (MNL) to Perth (PER)

In an exciting win for Western Australians, Phillipine Airlines will launch a new four-times weekly non-stop service between Manila and Perth in March 2020.

The Phillipino national carrier will be operating the service on a narrowbody A321neo aircraft in a two-cabin configuration, providing Australian travellers with more options when holidaying.

The first flight is scheduled for March 30, 2020.

Perth Airport is rapidly expanding, having added 400,000 new seats of capacity in the past 12-months and being the hub for Qantas’ non-stop Perth to London services.

This will be Philippine Airlines’ fourth destination in Australia, following Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Jetstar: Gold Coast Coolangatta (OOL) to Seoul (ICN)

With rich history, beautiful nature and vibrant food scene, a trip to South Korea is sure to jump to the top of many Australian’s bucketlists now that Jetstar has begun the first low cost connection to the Korean capital.

Flying between Gold Coast Coolongata (OOL) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) three-times per week onboard their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners; the service, which launched in December 2019, is already proving popular.

This service is a codeshare partnership with Jeju Air, Korea’s top low-cost carrier.

Bamboo Airways Boeing 787

Bamboo Airways: Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)

With the launch of Bamboo Airlines, Vietnam’s newest full-service airline, also comes exciting news for Australian travellers.

The ambitious airline wants to fly to Melbourne using their brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner by the second quarter of 2020.

The goal of the airline is to provide serivices connecting Australia with Europe via Vietnam. This would offer competition to more established airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Currently, state-owned carrier Vietnam Airlines flies one-flight daily between Ho Chi Minh and Melbourne Tullamarine onboard an Airbus A350-900.

Jetstar Australia also flies 3-weekly services between the Vietnamese capital and Melbourne Tullamarine on a Boeing 787-8.

Vietnamese low-cost carrier Vietjet have also announced their intention to begin flights to Melbourne Avalon in 2020.

Read next: Where to stay near Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Virgin Australia: Melbourne (MEL) to Bali Denpasar (DPS)

Australia’s who want to holiday in Indonesia’s holiday capital, Bali, now is the time to book a trip!

Virgin Australia are re-launching flights from Mebourne Tullamarine to Bali Denpasar on  2020.

Services will be operated on a Boeing 737 and operate five-time a week.

One thing travellers will enjoy is the choice of options Virgin Australia offer. While Virgin’s 737’s do operate in a two-class configuration, they also offer Economy X on this flight. Passengers who upgrade will receieve extra legroom, priority screening and boarding, and allocated overhead baggage storage.

Virgin Australia will be one of three full-service carriers on the route departing Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, including Indonesian Airline Garuda and Qantas.

The route is also served by two low-cost carriers, including Malaysia’s Malindo Air and Jetstar Australia.

Indonesian low-cost carrier CitiLink will be launching direct flights from Melbourne’s Avalon Airport, located 60-kilometres south-west of Tullamarine, in late January 2020.

Virgin Australia: Brisbane (BNE) to Tokyo Haneda (HND)

Australia’s appetite for Japan continues to grow! In order to meet the demand, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport granted Virgin Australia a slot, allowing it to launch daily services between Brisbane and Tokyo-Haneda in March.

Virgin Australia plans to fly their Airbus A330-200, with flights beginning 29 March, 2020.

Virgin Australia has also recently announced a new partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA). This allows travellers to earn frequent flyer points and codechare of select flights.

Tokyo-Haneda is one of the city’s two international airports but closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita Airport.

Qantas has also been allocated a slot for daily service from Tokyo-Haneda, however it is not yet clear how the airline will use this new slot. At the time of writing Qantas flies between Sydney and Haneda, but their Melbourne flights land at Narita airport, which is furhter from Tokyo’s city centre.
Qantas has a partership with OneWorld partner JAL for codeshare flights and its frequent flyer programs.

Fiji Airways Airbus A350-900

Fiji Airways: Nadi (NAN) to Sydney International (SYD) onboard the A350

I have not yet seen a nation as proud of an aircraft as Fijians are about their national carriers new A350-900s. While I was there last week, taxi drivers pointed out the signs to me, asking if I flew it and the crew were clearly happy to be working the sleek aircraft (the verbal confirmation by a team member I ask did confirm this!).

Fiji Airways new aircraft – one of two introduced to their fleet in late 2019 – is a big boost to tourism efforts for the tiny island nation. Capacity on the route increased by 15% per flight with the aircraft change, which one can assume means that demand to Fiji are increasing and that extra seats are needed to meet tdhe deman.

Fiji Airways aircraft are a huge step up from the A330s which were previously servicing the route. They operate a three-class configuration. With Business class, Bula space seats (Economy seats with extra leg room for an additional fee), and Economy, seas.

The A350’s are solely running on Sydney to Nadi and Nadi to Los Angeles flights, though the airline has indicated they want to introduce more of the fuel-efficient variant into their fleet sooner rather than later.

It’s clear the airline has big ambitions in the Pacific market as Fiji Airways have been touting this flight as being Sydney to Los Angeles via Nadi. 

With Fiji Airways offering direct services from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, and competitive prices on seats to Los Angeles, a one-stop option may be favourable for some passengers should Fiji’s Nadi International Airport be able to perfect the transit experience.

Currently, both Auckland and Melbourne are far more transit friendly than Sydney and Honolulu, which may be appealing for travellers from Adelaide, Canberra and Perth who have no other option but to transit through one of these locations to reach Los Angeles.

Read next: Flight Review – Fiji Airways A350 Economy Review (Coming soon!)

Turkish Airlines Boeing B787-9

Other potential developments

Turkish Airlines: is 2020 the year they fly to Australia?

There has been talk for years that Turkish Airlines wants to launch flights to Australia, yet nothing has manifested yet. With the move to Istanbul New Airport complete and having now received their first bath of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, could 2020 be the year that the Istanbul-based carrier begins flights to Australia?

I believe that the biggest barrier to Turkish launching this sought after route – and providing Australians with a partner to connect to the Middle East and Europe – comes down to range. Istanbul to Sydney is roughly 14,950km. That’s 480km further than Qantas’ current Perth – London service, which takes almost 18 hours of flying time. It also means that the route lies beyond the range of the 787-9.

One option is that Turkish could fly to Sydney via an intermediate destination, operating a Fifth Freedom route.

Currently, Turkish Airlines relies on its Star Alliance partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to service Australia and New Zealand.

Hobart Airport to… the world?

It was announced in late 2019 that Hobart Airport is keen to improve the terminal and adding international flights to Australia’s ‘apple isle’.

As a booming tourism destination in its own right, Tasmania is a popular destination for Chinese and southeast Asian travellers. As the last capital city in Australia not offering international flights, it represents a great opportunity for the right carriers, particularly as an export destination with the island producing an abundance of crops and home to a large wine industry.

Currently, most travellers wishing to visit Tasmania travel via Melbourne before connecting onto a one-hour flight to Hobart Airport (HBT). It also competes with Launceston Airport (LST) located 177 kilometres away by road.

Qantas Planning on Flying Direct to India?

At Qantas‘ Investory Day Presentation it was announce that the airline is considering flights between Australia and India.

The growing middle class among its 1.37 billion population represents Australia’s fastest-frowing inbound market, and Qantas is keep for a slice of that pie.

At the Investors Day Presentation it was cited that the country still represents “low volumes, fragmented over many cities and low yield”. However, they did state that a “South East Asian hub[s] remain (the) best way to service demand”.

This potentially cites Qantas and/or Jetstar’s Singapore hub as a base for flights to key Indian cities “in the medium term.”

Further out, the airlines says, is “long term potential to operate direct services from east coast Australia.”

This would mean that customers living in Melbourne could be in India in as little as 14-hours. Flights from Melbourne to Singapore have a flight time of 7hrs 50minutes, and flights from Singapore to New Delhi have a flight time of 5hrs and 55minutes.

Currently Air India operates flight from Sydney and Melbourne to New Delhi, though Singapore Airlines carries many passengers to other parts of the country with one-stop in Singapore.

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The Best Hotels near Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL)

Hyatt Place Essendon Fields - The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Written in January 2020.

Planning a stopover or layover in Melbourne? Perhaps you have an early flight and don’t want to rush to start your day. Whatever your reason, a night at a hotel near Melbourne Airport is a great way to start your trip or refresh mid-journey.

As one of Australia’s largest airports, the cities main airport (there is also a second airport at Avalon) regularly has great deals on flights to Asia, New Zealand, and beyond.

But where to stay near Melbourne Airport?

I’ve rounded up the best options in this handy post, including information about sleeping at Melbourne Airport (do-able but not recommended if you want to start your journey fresh!)

Can I sleep at Melbourne Airport?

Technically, Melbourne Tullamarine Airport is open 24-hours. However, it is likely you will not be able to stay past check-points.

This is not the most friendly airport to sleep in as most chairs have armrests, and there are few quiet corners. There is plenty of space to stretch out on the floor.

If you do want to sleep in the airport, I recommend these areas:

  • Terminal 1 (Qantas): in the arrivals area there are benches near the luggage conveyor belts. When I slept here last, there was security monitoring all night but if you sleep near the staff entrance (down the end where the bathrooms are) there is a staff entrance and it gets noisy around 4 am as staff arrive. There’s also a lot of powerpoints on the pillars near the benches!
  • Terminal 2 (International): You will find quite a lot of passengers sleeping in the arrivals hall, though many chairs do have railings. This is probably the busiest place at night if you want to be surrounded by people. For a quiet spot, head up to the check-in hall. There are a few chairs, however, if you don’t mind sleeping on the floor, there are plenty of quiet spots to enjoy a good kip.
  • Terminal 3 (Virgin): There are limited options to sleep in this compact terminal. The best place to sleep in T3 is down the escalators near the shops, pre-security. There’s a quiet corridor you can stretch out in if you don’t mind sleeping on the floor.
  • Terminal 4 (Low-cost): Again, there are not many spaces in Terminal 4 to sleep. The corridor connecting Terminals 3 & 4 is fairly quieted. Another option is the area pre-security. You’ll often find people sleeping on the floor or window ledges.

Are there showers at Melbourne Airport?

There are free showers in Terminal 2. Take the corridor on the departure level between Terminal 1 (Qantas) and Terminal 2 (International). Around halfway down near Nando’s, there is a bathroom. You will need to bring your own towel and toiletries, or purchase from the nearby stores.

I recommend travelling with an eco-friendly microfibre towel.

Are there in-terminal hotels at Melbourne Airport?

At the time of writing, there are no in-terminal hotels.

Currently, the airport is in talks with Aerotel about building a property on-site as the airport continues upgrades to the International terminal. No deals have been signed yet.

Construction of a new dual-branded Accor property has begun construction at Melbourne Airport. This will become a Novotel and ibis Styles property, located adjacent to Terminal 4 (the low-cost terminal). The opening date is slated to be in 2021.

Which hotels are near Melbourne Airport

Check out the handy comparison chart below to choose the perfect hotel near Melbourne Airport:

HOTELLOCATIONRATINGFREE
WIFI?
FOOD?FEATURESPRICE
PARKROYAL
Melbourne Airport
At the
airport
4-starYesOn-site restaurant
& bar
Walk to terminal
Pool
Gym
$$$
Holiday Inn
Melbourne Airport
Next to
the airport
4-starYesOn-site restaurant & barGym
Free shuttle to
the airport
Walk to terminal
$$
ibis Budget
Melbourne Airport
Next to
the airport
3-starNoContinental breakfast
Vending machines
Budget-conscious
Walk to terminal
$
Mantra
Tullamarine
4-minute drive
to the airport
4-starNoOn-site restaurant & barFree shuttle to
the airport
Pool
Gym
$$
Hyatt Place
Essendon Fields
10-minute
drive
to the airport
4-starYesOn-site restaurant & bar
Close to DFO shops &
restaurants
Free shuttle to
the airport
Gym
Close to shops
$$

The Best Hotels at Melbourne Airport

PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport - The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport

The closest hotel to Melbourne Airport’s domestic and international terminals. Linked directly to the terminal via sky bridge, PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport offers the ideal location for travellers.

Whether you need to rest before a flight or refresh before heading home, spacious guest rooms are appointed with comfortable beds, choice of pillows and both showers and baths. Rooms also come with city skyline, airport and mountain views.

During your stay enjoy the hotel amenities, including access to the indoor pool, gym, free WiFi, and on-site restaurant & bar.

If you are connecting onto another flight, PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport offers bookings for day-use rooms between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm daily. Book for three-, five-, or eight hours and have access to all of the hotel’s facilities, including free WiFi.

You can reach the PARKROYAL Hotel within a 3-5 minute walk of T1 (Qantas), T2 (International Terminal), and T3 (Virgin Australia) terminal by a covered walkway. You can be at the hotel within 5-10 minute walk of T4 (low-cost terminal).

Location: Arrival Drive Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport - The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport

Conveniently located only 400 metres distance from the airport terminals, the Holiday Inn offers comfort and convenience for those seeking a budget-friendly Melbourne Airport hotel.

All rooms at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport are fitted with Queen or Double beds. Rooms come with a refrigerator and tea/coffee making facilities. There’s also a spacious desk for those who need to work, flat-screen TV, and an on-site gym & restaurant and bar.

Your trip will be made more convenient when you are picked up or dropped off at the terminal with the free shuttle service to Melbourne Airport (available 24/7), or simply walk!

Real talk: the rooms are okay at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport, but they are not amazing. They are a little dated and I would personally choose to stay at the (pricer) PARKROYAL, (budget but small) ibis Budget, or the new Hyatt Place Essendon Fields (that’s about 10-minutes away).

All that said, the Holiday Inn offers a superb location on the airport grounds that you can’t beat. Just don’t fall for their expensive prices!

Location: Melbourne Airport, 10/14 Centre Rd, Tullamarine

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

ibis Budget Melbourne Airport - The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
ibis Budget Melbourne Airport – The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

ibis Budget Melbourne Airport

If you are looking for a convenient, comfortable but cheap hotel near Melbourne Airport, this one is for you!

The ibis Budget Melbourne Airport is within walking distance of the Qantas terminal (less than 400 metres!), and a short walk to the other terminals at Melbourne Airport.

Comfortable beds will great weary travellers with either queen or double beds and a private ensuite with shower. There are also rooms with two single beds and a bunk bed for when you are travelling with family or friends. Day rooms are available.

For those travelling on business, the full-size desk and high-speed free WiFi will keep you connected and on track to deliver any project.

Continental breakfast is served every morning and there are vending machines on-site. It’s also a short walk to the nearby BP petrol (gas) station and adjacent McDonalds if you need a late-night snack.

This is the perfect hotel for early morning flights when you don’t want to spend a fortune!

Location: Caldwell Drive Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Mantra Tullamarine Melbourne Airport - The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Mantra Tullamarine

Whether you’re flying in or flying out, Mantra Tullamarine Hotel is the perfect stopover hotel for travellers seeking a comfortable, modern hotel that’s fuss-free.

Located just four minutes away from Melbourne Airport, the Mantra Tullamarine has a range of contemporary designed room types, including studios and suites. They also offer interconnecting suites for those travelling with family or friends. All rooms come with WiFi, cable TV, and plenty of space to move.

Come summer or winter, unwind as you enjoy the indoor heated lap pool, spa and fully equipped gym. Best of all there is a free hotel shuttle bus to Melbourne Airport that is available on-demand!

Location: 2 Trade Park Dr, Tullamarine

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Hyatt Place Essendon Fields - The Best Hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Hyatt Place Essendon Fields

Forget the hotels at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, the newest hotel near Melbourne Airport is the Hyatt Place Essendon Fields.

This classy hotel provides a convenient location just 10 minutes from the airport for travellers to relax and unwind, but still remain close to city amenities.

With four room types featuring King and Queen beds, you are sure to find your perfect room. Plush beds will welcome you with luxe throughout the room and bathroom. If a room with a view if something you seek, be sure to ask for a room with City Views!

Be sure to take advantage of the free WiFi, fitness centre, and onsite restaurant and bar during your stay. They also offer a free hotel shuttle to Melbourne Airport for guests.

One of the benefits of staying at Hyatt Place Essendon Fields is the proximity to the Australian Conference Centre and the Essendon DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) shopping mall. Here there are shops, dining, and convenient connections to take you to Melbourne’s city centre.

Location: 1 English St, Essendon Fields

Check the price → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda


Planning a trip to Melbourne?
Read these first!

What to do in Melbourne: The Ultimate Guide!

Explore Melbourne on a Budget

3 Camberwell Brunch Spots I’m Loving

Explore Melbourne neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood!


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The Best Hotels near Adelaide Airport (ADL)

Adelaide is South Australia’s coastal capital. Best known for its wineries, beaches, sports, and being the only city in Australia who has Giant Pandas (seriously!)

It’s also one of the best places to get an affordable international flight to Australia with major airlines including Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jetstar, Malindo Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar, and Singapore Airlines serving the airport!

Start, or end, your trip right. No matter your budget you will find the perfect accommodation in Adelaide.

Where to stay at Adelaide Airport

There are no designated hotels or rest zones within Adelaide Airport, however, I have been told that the airport is fairly tolerant to people sleeping there providing they arrive before the airport closes (between 10pm and 4:00am)

Atura Hotel

The newly opened Atura Hotel is located directly adjacent to the terminal with access from Level 2. The charming boutique hotel offers guests city view and runway views – perfect for aviation aficionados!

In the hotel lobby, you’ll find a restaurant, bar and hotel check-in area are all combined into one large communal space.

Check the prices → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Where to stay near Adelaide Airport

Please note: there are other options near Adelaide Airport,
however, after seeing and experiencing some of these facilities
these are the ones I would recommend my friends and loved ones.

Aviators Lodge

This budget-friendly, unfussy motel features a restaurant/bar on-site near Adelaide Airport. It’s a little bit dated but still comfortable.

All rooms offer tea/coffee making facilities, a TV and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. WiFi is provided and guests have access to on-site laundry facilities.

The location opposite Harbour Town DFO (direct factory outlet) is perfect for those wanting to go for a wander and check out the shops, or needing a light meal. There is fast-food outlets open 24/7 at the shopping centre.

To get to Adelaide Airport, it’s approximately a 5-minute drive or a 20-minute walk. If you are looking for a hotel with a shuttle to Adelaide Airport, you can organise one for an additional fee.

Check the prices → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

BIG4 West Beach Parks

Relaxed accommodation beside the beach. Perfect for families who want space to play.

With a range of accommodation styles to suit all budgets, consider what is important to you when you stay. Accommodation types include comfortable cabins, beach houses, and even eco glamping tents!

Features onsite pool. Nearby Mega Adventure (ropes course), beach, Harbour Town (shopping + dining), Glenelg foreshore (shopping + dining).

Adelaide Airport is a 10-minute drive to Adelaide Airport or 20-minute bus ride away.

Check the prices → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Oaks Liberty Towers

Comfortable apartment hotel in Glenelg, some with beach views. This accommodation is perfect for families or those who seek comfort in a great location but want to have all the mod-cons of home. Many of the rooms do feature fully equipped kitchens.

On-site amenities include a well-equipped gym and indoor pool. Best of all, the Oaks Liberty Towers are a 10-minute drive from Adelaide Airport.

The hotel is a short walk to Glenelg beach. Mosley Square/Jetty Road (shopping, dining, nightlife) is a 5-minute walk away. From here, you can also take the tram from Glenelg to Adelaide’s city centre to explore. Nearby is The Beach House (amusement park) and a playground will keep the kids busy!

If Liberty Towers are full, check out Oaks Plaza Pier which is a little more expensive but offers more amenities.

Check the prices → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda

Lockleys Hotel

This clean low-key motel and restaurant is just minutes from Adelaide Airport. The perfect place for those seeking budget accommodation in Adelaide or will only have a short-stopover but need a place to rest, you’ll rest easy at the Lockley’s Hotel.

Adjacent to the motel is a pub and restaurant. It’s only a short drive or bus ride to the beach or the city center if you have time to explore.

The Lockley’s Hotel has an on-site pub and restaurant offering breakfast, lunch or dinner options.

Check the prices → HotelsCombined 

Mayfair Hotel

Be in the heart of the city with a stay at one of Adelaide’s best boutique hotels. They are well known for their plush beds and luxury mattresses. So consider a night in with a movie on the TV and snacking on the complimentary minibar. Need something more active? Hit the on-site gym to burn off all the delicious treats you’ll eat while you stay in Adelaide.

Across the road from Rundle Mall (shopping), a short walk from Rundle Street East (dining), and next to Hindley Street (bars, clubs, dining), this hotel has everything an intrepid city explorer needs to feel at home.

Within walking distance to Adelaide Festival Theatre and Adelaide Oval events. Best still, it’s only a 15-minute drive to Adelaide Airport or 30-minute bus ride.

Check the prices → HotelsCombined | Booking.com | Agoda


Booking a trip to Adelaide? Check out these resources to make your journey a little easier.

  • Airbnb: there aren’t many hotels nearby the airport but there are plenty of options on airbnb! Sign up using this link to receive $38 off your first stay!
  • Uber: while there is finally competition through ride-sharing services such as Ola and Didi in Adelaide, Uber is still king! You can find the rideshare pick-up area near the Hertz car pick-up area. Use this link to sign up to save on your first ride!
  • Taxi: There is a taxi stand to the left as you walk out of the terminal. Taxi prices are fairly reasonable and it will cost around AU$20-$30 to travel from the airport to accommodation in Adelaide CBD.
  • Adelaide Metro: South Australia’s public transport is known as Adelaide Metro. Pick up a ticket or recharge from the WH Smith’s located just outside the airport terminal. This will be valid on all public transport, including the JetExpress and JetBus’ that service the airport as well as regular buses, trains, tram, and O-Bahn service. Travelling from Adelaide Airport to the city? Take the J1X!

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How to Find Cheap Flights: 9 Ways to Save

It can be overwhelming when planning travel, but no more so than when booking flights.

We’ve all experienced the monotonous, repeated searching that comes when trying to book the cheapest flight possible. You may be like me and love the grind, but there comes a time when I hit a wall and pray to the airline Gods to just let me find what I’m looking for.

I’ve rounded up all my best tips that will save you time, frustration and most importantly money when booking you next flight. These are my best cheap flight hacks, including some tips on how to search for cheap flights anywhere.

Here are my best tips on how to find cheap flights!

1. Keep your cache clear and use ‘Incognito Mode’

Okay, I am a believer that if you search for flights incognito really does save you money. This conclusion was made after doing hours (seriously) of research for an article I was quoted in for the South China Morning Post and through booking my most recent flights to Africa.

During my process booking through an OTA (Online Travel Agency, like those that Skyscanner and Expedia link to) to find a great priced fare from Asia to Africa (via the Middle East) I found that each time I searched the price went up. Thinking it was just that the flights were full I didn’t think too much of it.

Once I made my decision on which flight to buy, I went back to the OTA to book. The flight displayed as $500AUD more expensive than the initial search.

Being a savvy traveller, I cleared my cache and tried again. Low and behold, the cheaper price showed up.

I chose to book direct with the airline (for $70AUD) more for two reasons:

  1. I think it’s cheeky that these OTA’s and aggregators do this to customers, many who don’t know.
  2. The OTA wanted to charge me, a passenger buying a business class ticket, to choose my seating and for a meal which would come standard on the airline I was flying.

Please don’t fall for their tricks and be a saavy traveller when booking your next trip.

2. Be flexible

When people book flights typically they decide on the destination first before checking what prices are available.

Instead, if booking cheap flights is your priority you will need to flip that approach. Check what prices are available via your favourite online travel agency, like Skyscanner, Momondo, or Google Flights to various destinations around the world. Decide which of those destinations appeal to you. Then, select the dates you like that have the cheapest airfares available.

If you have a pretty tight window in which you can travel consider some of these other tips to try and get the best deal.

Once you are in Asia or Europe, finding a cheap budget flight to get you to your final dream destination is easy!

3. Follow Flight Deal Websites

This is my ultimate tip for how to save money on flights. I have only seriously begun to follow flight deal websites for the past three months and I’ve already saved just over $14,000 on 3 Business Class flights. Whaaaat?!!

Gulf Air: Khartoum to Bahrain – AU$1,315
Gulf Air: Bahrain to London – AU$3,842
Air Canada: London to Toronto – AU$9,858
Total = AU$15,025
The price I paid = £544,80 (plus £76.27 fee to ensure my ticket was flexible.)

Total: £617,25/AU$999.85
Total saving = AU$14,025.15

I am kicking myself though because my friend Josh got his flights for even cheaper by booking a few days before me and on a German website!

As I live in Australia, I mainly look to Secret Flying. They showcase global deals. The others tend to focus on their home country (if US-based, they tend to focus on NYC or LA most heavily. Something I’ve never understood because some of the best deals I’ve found have originated in the Midwest.)

Personally, I’m still not sold if Dollar Flight Club or Jacks Flight Club offers great value for money (as they publish only a limited number of free offers to non-members) when many of these other sites will have the deal they listed.

4. Check the ITA Flight Matrix

The benefit of searching on the Matrix, as opposed to Google Flights or another OTA like Skyscanner and Expedia, is the ability to conduct more complicated searches. Searching for open-jaw flights and multi-city itineraries are a breeze with this tool.

There are two important things to know when using the ITA Flight Matrix:

  • The ITA Flight Matrix will show many but not all airlines, such as US carriers Southwest and Allegiant Air.
  • While you can’t book through the ITA Flight Matrix website, it will give you a good idea of which airline/s are offering the best deals. You can then purchase the flights yourself, go to a travel agent to finalise your booking or use bookwithmatrix.com to find where you can get the deals online.

If you want to learn more about using the ITA Matrix for booking cheap flights I highly recommend you read Johnny Jet’s article on it here which will also give you more tips for booking cheap flights.

The face you make when you realise you have landed at an airport closer to France than Belgium’s capital…

5. Consider flying out of different airports (or even different countries!)

No matter where you live in the world, you may be living just a short flight or train ride away from an airline offering super cheap deals.

Sometimes those lesser-known airports which are just a short train or car ride away from your dream holiday destination can offer you significant savings and are one of the most overlooked ways how to find cheap flights.

For example, on a recent trip to Amsterdam, KLM wanted me to pay €300+ to fly from Brussels Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol when the train in the basement of the Airport would take me direct to Schiphol for less than €30.

With the array of low-cost carriers (LLCs) across Europe, there may be some great deals to cities just a short train, bus or drive away from your holiday destination.
Looking at Brussels again, I got a great deal flying from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL), via Sofia (SOF) on Israir and Ryanair. Just don’t do what I did and realise you were flying to an obscure airport when you are already on the flight!

How to get cheap flights in Australia:

If you are in Australia, consider utilising other airports. While most travellers look to Sydney or Melbourne, Brisbane can be an affordable alternative.
The countries third-largest airport has a growing network of international flights, particularly to Asia. While you probably won’t be flying on an A380, there is a good chance you may be flying a B737-8 on Qantas routes to Hong Kong and LAX or a B787 on EVA Airways flights to Taiwan.

Flights to Brisbane from Australian capital cities are reasonably affordable, and if you can’t get a flight direct to Brisbane Airport, you can fly to Coolangatta, also known as the Gold Coast Airport. From there take Bus 777 to Broadbeach South Station and then take the AirTrain from the Gold Coast to Brisbane Airport for $35 one-way. (You save over $5 if you book online!)

On the other end of the scale, Darwin and Cairns often operate season flights with select airlines, including Chinese, South Korean and Chinese carriers.

Adelaide Airport has a growing network of international flights, including the recently added fifth freedom flight (more on what they are below) on the Adelaide – Bali route on Malaysian low-cost carrier Malindo Air.

Melbourne operates two airports: Melbourne Tullamarine – the main hub – but also Melbourne Avalon, conveniently located right next to the Great Ocean Road, for those wanting cheap flights around Australia with regular Domestic flights with Jetstar or cheap flights from Australia internationally with AirAsia twice a day.

Business class at bargain prices on Scoot! Perfect for a day flight.

6. Let budget airlines be your friend

While we all like to fly down the pointy end of the plane, it turns out that those holding an Economy ticket will also find their way to their final destination!

Budget airlines offer significantly cheaper tickets than their full-service counterparts, and that comes with some compromises, but if saving money is your end goal then this is how to do it.

A few important tips to consider before booking with a budget airline:

  • Always read the fine print.
  • Double-check the airport location (I’ve ended up closer to France than Belgium by accident when I made this very silly mistake).
  • Book and pay for your luggage allowance before flying, if required. They will charge you extra if you pay for it at the airport. Oh, and be sure to follow the strict weight and size limits set by the airlines.
  • Print your boarding pass before you arrive at the airport. Some airlines will charge you at check-in to print your boarding pass.
  • Remember: the reason your seat is so cheap is that there are no-frills attached. You will need to buy or bring your own food, drinks, and comfort items. There’s also unlikely to be entertainment.

Below is a list of just some of the budget airlines around the world. Those with two asterisks next to them (**) are new airlines coming soon. Those in italic are my personal favourites!

Consider these budget carriers:

Australia & Oceania
Jetstar
– TigerAir

Europe
– AirBaltic (Latvia)
easyJet (UK)
– Eurowings (Germany)
– FlyBe (UK)
– French Bee (France)
– Jet2.com (UK)
– Lauda (Austria)
– Level (Spain)
Norwegian (Norway)
– Onur Air (Turkey)
– Pegasus Airlines (Turkey)
– Pobeda (Russia)
– Ryanair (Ireland)
– Transavia (Netherlands)
– Volotea (Spain)
Vueling (Spain)
Wizz Air (Hungary)

North America
AirCanada Rouge (Canada)
– Allegiant Air (US)
– Air Transat (Canada)
– Canada Jetlines (Canada) **
– Flair Airlines (Canada)
– Frontier Airlines (US)
– Intrejet (Mexico)
JetBlue (US)
– Southwest Airlines (US)
– Spirit Airlines (US)
– Sun Country Airlines (US)
– Sunwing Airlines (Canada)
– Swoop (Canada)
– VivaAerobús (Mexico)
– Volaris (Mexico)

South America
– Azul Brazilian Airlines (Brazil)
– EasySky (Honduras)
– Flybondi (Argentina)
– Flycana (Dominican Republic)
– Gol Transportes Aéreos (Brazil)
– JetSmart
– Sky Airline (Chile)
– Venezolana (Venezuela)
– Viva Air (Colombia)
– Volaris Costa Rica (Cost Rica)
– Wingo (Colombia)

Asia
– AirAsia (Malaysia)
– AirBlue (Pakistan)
– AirIndia Express (India)
– Cebu Pacific (Philippines)
– CitiLink (Indonesia)
IndiGo (India)
– HK Express (Hong Kong)
– Jeju Air (S.Korea)
Jetstar Asia (Singapore)
– Jin Air (S.Korea)
– Lanmei Airlines (Cambodia)
– Lion Air (Indonesia)
– Lucky Air (China)
– Nok Air (Thailand)
– NokScoot (Thailand)
– Peach (Japan)
Scoot (Singapore)
– SpiceJet (India)
– Spring Airlines (China)
– Tigerair Taiwan (Taiwan)
– Vanilla Air (Japan)
– VietJet Air (Vietnam)
– West Air (China)
– Wings Air (Indonesia)
– ZIPAIR Tokyo (Japan) **
– 9 Air (China)

Middle East
– Air Arabia (UAE)
– flydubai (UAE)

Central Asia
– Air Manas (Kyrgyzstan)
– Buta Airways (Azerbaijan)
– FlyArystan (Kazakhstan)

Africa
– Air Cairo (Egypt)
– Fly540 (Kenya)
– Fastjet (South African owned)
– FlySafair (South Africa)
– Jambojet (Kenya)
– kulula.com (South Africa)
Mango (South Africa)


7. Pack carry-on only to take advantage of the best budget flights

If you want to take advantage of the cheapest seats possible, this is the way to do it.

It’s truly amazing how easy it is to pack carry-on only, even for week-long trips. And let’s face it, if you are like me, you’ll probably recycle the same outfit three times by adding a new necklace, scarf or different pair of pants. We won’t tell anyone your little secret!

8. Use Multi-Stop Tickets

Did you know some of the cheapest flights can be found by simply adding a stopover?

Two cities that I regularly find great deals departing from are Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB) and Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK).

Another factor which helps with the flight cost is that both of these countries exchange rates are often lower than my own (I usually pay in Australian Dollars or US Dollars). Be sure to compare prices because by booking your ticket through the OTA’s local website and paying in a different currency is one of the best travel hacks I can give you.

One thing to know is that for what you save in money with multi-stop tickets, you usually lose in time, whether it’s because of the detour to the hub airport of the airline you are flying versus a direct flight.

When booking be sure to investigate whether your airline has a stopover program. Some countries – like Singapore, Iceland, Dubai, and Bahrain – offer a select number of days stopover in their home country. For some of these, this includes free or reduced accommodation, vouchers, and some other benefits. It’s the perfect way to get a taste of a country you’d like to visit in the future!

9. Use the ‘Everywhere’ destination on Skyscanner

I have a love-hate relationship with Skyscanner but one feature I do love is their ‘Everywhere’ destination tool and is a great tricks to get cheap flights. Using this you can search the world to find the cheapest trips from your home airport (or perhaps one nearby!).

Most recently I found some great Business Class sale flights on Oman Air from Jakarta, Indonesia to London, UK via Muscat, Oman. All in all the flights would have saved me well over AU$6,000 one-way and cost me less than AU$800 return! Unfortunately, I made the rookie error of ‘thinking about it’ instead of booking and by the time I came back they were sold out. Drat!

Another tip to consider when using Skyscanner is by setting the destination as the country you want to travel to. For example, I would set my departure location as Melbourne (MEL) but put the arrival city in as ‘China’. This way Skyscanner will search all the Chinese airports and come back with the cheapest route for me.

It is important to consider the cost of repositioning yourself for the flight though. For example, it were to fly out of Jakarta instead of Melbourne (the city I live in), I would need to factor in the cost for a seat from Melbourne – Jakarta in order to reposition myself for the flight. Sometimes you’ll find that awesome deal you found isn’t so awesome when the repositioning flight is a few hundred dollars!

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World’s Busiest Airline Flight Routes

Which flight routes do you think are the busiest? If you said New York City to London (like I did) you’d be wrong.

Last week OAG Aviation revealed the list of the busiest flight routes in the world. This report showed some fascinating data, such as that 15 of the world’s top 20 busiest flight routes are found in Asia and that one Australian flight route is still the second busiest flight route in the world with around 148 flights each day!

There were plenty of other interesting facts such as that the world’s busiest international flight route is also one of the shortest at just 296km. The world’s busiest domestic flight route is nearly double the length at 451km.

You can read the full report here or read on to find out the top 20 busiest flight routes in the world!

World’s 10 busiest air routes

  1. Jeju – Seoul, South Korea – 79,460
  2. Melbourne – Sydney, Australia – 54,102
  3. Mumbai – Delhi, India – 45,188
  4. São Paulo – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 39,747
  5. Fukuoka – Tokyo, Japan – 39,406
  6. Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – 39,291
  7. Sapporo – Tokyo, Japan – 39,271
  8. Jakarta – Surubaya, Indonesia – 37,762
  9. Los Angeles – San Francisco, USA – 35,365
  10. Jeddah – Riyadh, Saudia Arabia – 35,149

World’s busiest international air routes

  1. Kuala Lumpur – Singapore – 30,187 flights
  2. Hong Kong – Taipei – 28,447
  3. Jakarta – Singapore – 27,046
  4. Hong Kong – Shanghai Pudong – 20,678
  5. Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur – 19,741
  6. Seoul – Osaka – 19,711
  7. New York La Guadia – Toronto – 17,038
  8. Hong Kong – Seoul – 15,770
  9. Bangkok – Singapore – 14,698
  10. Dubai – Kuwait – 14,581

Let me know in the comments below:

Which of the world’s busiest flight routes have you flown on?