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Rules to Better Flights - 15 Rules

  1. Here are some general tips for booking flights:

    • Wherever possible, book direct flights, and try to minimize connection times.
    • Wherever possible, try to get flexible flights in case they need to be changed.
    • Appointments - If accommodation is also required then enter the accommodation details into another appointment
    • When booking flights, know the preferred time (on weekdays, avoid evening flights before 8pm. Peak times incur a Uber surcharge)
    • eg. Some people prefer 10am flights, some are not keen on overnight flights
    • When booking, always ask for an exit row or a window seat.
    • eg. Some people have 19" laptops and it is hard to open in other seating.
    • Avoid Paper tickets - they are hard to change. Go for E-tickets
    • When booking, leave an option to upgrade to business class
    • Note: On Qantas this can only happen if you have avoided the evil fare types of N, O, or Q (aka ReadyDeal fare)
    • Before finalising the booking always get written confirmation by having your boss sign a print-out of the itinerary or via email or IM.
    • Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your luggage. If you will be visiting an unsafe airport or location, it might be worth upgrading to a more secure suitcase such as the type suggested in this YouTube video, "Defeat Dishonest Baggage Handlers"

    Learn more on Rules to Better Flights.

  2. In order to book a flight, you will need to obtain your boss' approval.

    When you need to book flights or accommodation for training or client work, liaise with the administration staff.

    1. Get your manager's approval to investigate bookings and confirm dates.
    2. Have a conversation with the receptionist/admin and provide some options for the bookings. Eg: “Fly from X to Z on (date) late PM?or “I have previously stayed at ABC Hotel for work for this client and it was a convenient location at a good price.?
    3. Receptionist/admin to research 2 or 3 options, aiming to keep the expenses low.
    4. Admin has a conversation with you, going over the options and confirming decisions based on the research provided.
    5. Final total to be approved by manager or Adam in an email (CC financial controller)
    6. Admin to book and send calendar appointments as per Booking Flights.
    7. When you receive a confirmation email for the booking, forward it to the financial controller for reconciliation with bank statements.

    Admin - follow this rule to find the best flights:

    Get approval from your boss to make the booking by sending a purchase please email:

    Include the screen shot of the flight options and costs.

    Await your boss' approval to purchase the flights. Chase up promptly, as flight costs increase.

    Note: It's often a good idea to email to your boss' PA, to have the flights booked for you.

  3. This is how you should create an appointment in the Outlook calendar for flights:

    • Make sure to invite any relevant parties even though they may not be flying
      E.g. The Boss's wife would like to know when he is flying out and coming home.
    • Enter all of the flight details into the appointment - include both the departure time (for the person flying) and the arrival time (for the people picking up the passenger)
    • Make sure to include any unusual information about the flight
      E.g. "You are not flying with your preferred airline because xxx..." OR "As per our conversation, you are flying via Melbourne, because xxx..."
    • Always include the price of the ticket in the message
    • Do not forget to categorize the appointment as CONFIRMED RED so it cannot be overbooked
    • When possible, always include the terminal number in the location feild and if a non-standard terminal
      E.g. Jetstar flights highlight it with: "WARNING: Different terminal. Allow more time".
    • Include the duration of the flight in the message of the appointment
  4. Do you know how to book better flights?

    1. Visit the sites below
    2. Enter the destinations with corresponding dates to receive a quote from each site
    3. Use the quotes to locate the best price or deal
    4. Compare all alternatives researched and select 3 of the best options. Make a recommendation for the option you feel is best (include reasons) and get their approval before booking
    5. Book the flight

    These are the best sites to check in order of preference:

    These are the best sites for flights within the US:

    These are the best sites for flights within China:


    • Some travel companies, such as FlightCentre, are able to match or beat the prices quoted by their competitors so be sure to ask them for a competitive fare
    • Make sure that before comparing the prices the quotes include all the taxes/surcharges/fees
    • Booking sites often charge a fee for the service, for instance
    • Ensure that the quotes you receive are ‘flexible’ (i.e. they provide an option to alter the travelling dates once the tickets are purchased)
    • Remember to convert all prices to Australian dollars when comparing quotes
    • Avoid Paper tickets – they are hard to change. Go for E-tickets
    1. Follow the steps 1-3 above to receive quotes for the destinations required from every site e.g. Sydney to Seattle
    2. Then repeat the steps 1-3 again, with the following changes:move
    3. Create a first quote to travel from Sydney to Honolulu (return)
    4. Create a second quote to travel from Honolulu to any US domestic destination required e.g. Honolulu to Seattle
    5. Add the two quotes together to receive a final quote

    Compare the quotes generated from points A and B and select the cheapest one.

  5. Follow the steps 1-3 above.

  6. Follow the steps 1-3 above. Focus primarily on the US websites.

  7. Do you create an online itinerary?

    As well as sending details of bookings to the traveler's outlook calendar, we also use to consolidate the details of bookings for flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. TripIt can make a single, easy-to-read online itinerary that can be viewed by anyone you choose to share the link with, making it easy to keep co-travelers, spouses, co-workers, etc. in the loop.

    After joining, forward a copy of each booking confirmation to to store the details of upcoming journeys. Multiple items can then be merged to form one master itinerary that covers the whole trip.


    Figure: A TripIt Itinerary example

    For more information or to join, visit

  8. If you decide to get insurance for your trip, the type of insurance you choose will depend on your needs.

    For example, if you're travelling within your home country you might decide to only get insurance for a hire car – but this can be a trap: hire car insurance is expensive, and you might find that it is cheaper to buy travel insurance to cover the whole trip, which includes car hire insurance, than it is to purchase insurance just for the car.

    53a2eb hire car provided insurance
    Figure: Bad example - Getting insurance through the car hire provider, with AUD$6,000 excess, is $23.25/day

    Figure: Good example: Allianz travel insurance for within Australia covers up to AUD$6,000 excess on a rental vehicle – this works out to be about $5.15 a day for a 9-day trip

    International travel:

    If you're travelling outside of the country , you should definitely take out travel insurance. If you book and pay using a credit card, you might be eligible for free travel insurance through your credit card institution, but don't assume this cover will be right for your needs, or will necessarily cover the whole travel party.

    Credit card insurance – travelling solo:

    If you're the card holder and you're travelling alone, you should be fine with the insurance provided by your credit card institution.

    Note: if you're travelling for business and would like to be covered under credit card insurance, you will have to pay for the trip on your own credit card to get the coverage, and then be reimbursed for the costs by your company.

    ccb9e6 credit card insurance coverage table
    Figure: Good example – but only if you're travelling by yourself

    "Supplementary" card members (spouse and dependent children) aren't nearly as well covered as the primary card holder – C is the big one! (Source: American Express Ultimate credit card travel insurance policy)

    Option 1 – traditional insurance: Recommended. - If you’re travelling with kids, you are better off going with traditional travel insurance to ensure all travellers are fully covered.

    Option 2 – credit card insurance: Not recommended. - Not all cards will cover the family for important categories like medical insurance, and for those that do, they are often greatly reduced. For example, if a family of 4 have their luggage stolen, the credit card holder might be covered for up to $10,000, with another $10,000 coverage to be split among the remaining family members – or as in the policy shown in the figure above, the 3 remaining family members will not be covered at all.

    Frequent traveller: - A good option for those who fly regularly travel internationally is annual multi-trip cover, which can cost as little as $1 per day (depending on your needs and policy provider).

  9. Do you keep your finance manager in the loop?

    Save your finance manager the trouble of chasing you for the purchasing records by forwarding them a copy of the flight (or accommodation) invoice as soon as you receive it.

  10. Qantas has introduced a flight upgrade initiative called "Bid Now" that allows members of their frequent flyer program to place a "bid" to get their Economy class bookings upgraded to Business class. 

    To make a bid, follow these simple steps:

    • Within 7 days of flying, visit the "Bid Now" page (if you've booked more than 7 days in advance, use FollowUp Then to set a reminder for yourself)
    • Enter your last name and booking reference into the field provided
    • You will be asked to nominate a "bid" (set amount frequent flyer points and/money) for the upgrade, as you would in a blind auction
    • Within 24 hours of the flight, you will be notified if your bid was successful
  11. Use a price comparison website to choose the hotel you'd like to book, but don't book directly through that site right away. Always call the hotel first to see if they can give you a better price. This article explains how this can save you hundreds

    The best price comparison websites for accommodation are:

    As with flights, book the accommodation details as a separate appointment in your calendar (or if for the accommodation is for someone else, in the calendar for the person who is travelling).

  12. In addition to being useful for providing travel insurance, some credit cards come with additional travel benefits. 

    For example, the Qantas American Express card comes with $450 of Qantas travel credit each year, which completely offsets the $450 annual fee. To take advantage of this offer, the cardholder can simply call the number on the back of their card and follow the prompts.

    Other advantages of this card include free access to a Qantas lounge twice a year, and accrual of Qantas points on everyday purchases. 

    If you have an airline-affiliated credit card, it's always worth digging into the benefits - you never know how much you could be saving.

  13. Some airlines offer rewards schemes to win over businesses. For example, Qantas has started a frequent flyer program for businesses.

    This program lets businesses accrue points and credits. It’s simple: set up a business membership with Qantas, and then remember to enter the ABN alongside the traveller’s frequent flyer number when booking a flight.

    The traveller’s Qantas Frequent Flyer membership will still accumulate the same amount of Qantas Points and Status Credits as they would normally. The only catch is if the traveller does not have a Qantas Frequent Flyer account, the business will not be able to claim points for the travel either.

    Not all travellers will have a frequent flyer membership, but for those that do, the Qantas Business Rewards Program is well worth taking advantage of.

    qantas business rewards points activity
    Qantas Business Rewards Points Activity screen
    **Figure: Always remember to include the company ABN alongside that traveller’s frequent flyer number for rewards that benefit both the company and the individual


  14. Do you check your boarding pass

    Most people don’t pay much attention to their boarding pass beyond their gate and seat number, but if you know what to look for, there’s a lot of information stored on a boarding pass!

    PRN reference: ** Passenger Name Record. It’s a six-digit alphanumeric code. **Sequence:  This is the order in which you checked in to your flight, e.g. if your sequence number is 066 you’re the 66th person to check in. **Boarding door: ** Have you noticed this, which tells you whether to board the plane from the front or rear? **SSSS: ** Secondary Security Screening Selection picks passengers either at random or due to red flags (such as buying a one-way ticket with cash).

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