Before I became travel agent I had no idea why certain airlines flew to certain destinations. And why you always had to stop over in some airports before you could get to your finally destination. I have also spent many hours sitting in transit areas, waiting on connections.
But now that I work inside the travel business I have had my eyes opened to a whole knew way of travelling that I never knew existed
So here is a brief breakdown of how it all works and a few tips that may make your next long-haul flight a more bearable one.
Hub cities – what is it all about?
Pretty much every country in the world has their own airline, some have more than one, like the US for example.
And every airline will have a hub city or maybe more than one. For example here in New Zealand our national carrier is Air NZ and its hub cites are Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
A hub city is basically an airlines home base or its hometown.
When you choose to fly on an airline depending on where your flying from, you will either start or end your journey from one of their hub cities, or you will need to transit through their hub cities to go onto your final destination.
As New Zealand is at the bottom of the world, most of the time you will be originating or ending at our home base. But if we look at the Emirates network for example, their hub city is Dubai.
I sell this particular airline a lot and to get to any destination with Emirates you will be at some point in your journey passing through Dubai. Unless you are travelling between Australia and New Zealand, as New Zealand is the end point of their network.
Sometimes due to having to travel through an airlines hub city this may mean back tracking a bit for your journey, so keep this in mind. So for example we sell Emirates to Dehli, India a lot and for this particular flight you ned to fly all the way to Dubai, and then back track back to India. If you are happy with that as most customers are because they want to fly this particular airline then this is a great choice, just don’t get caught out with cheaper fares that have longer flight times because you aren’t aware of the flight route.
A fare may seem really good when you look it up on an online search engine but if you add up all the transit time in airports and flying time, it may actually be worth paying a little more for that more direct flight.
In 2015 when I travelled to Turkey to attend the 100th Anniversary services at Gallipoli I priced up flights in and out of Istanbul. Due to the busy time of year our flights from New Zealand were pricing up over $3500 each.
So on planning our trip, we decided it would be cheaper to go in and out of Paris with Emirates which wasn’t as busy for that time of year, so was over $1000 cheaper than other destinations in Europe with any other carrier.
We then managed to get an awesome flight with Air France from Paris to Istanbul for about $250 NZ each. Ultimately we were still saving a lot of money.
As we were going to be away for a month, we decided to leave two days prior to our Tour starting so we had to fly all the way to Istanbul in one go.
We may have saved a lot of money, but after flying from here in NZ to Sydney with a 1 ½ hour stop there, then to Dubai with a 5 hour layover then to Paris where we had a seven hour layover which turned to an 8 ½ hour stop due to a delay on our next flight. By the time we got to Istanbul, I was seriously wishing I had just paid the extra money.