Recently we worked with a family trying to get to Dallas for a family reunion. Because of the short time period, they weren’t able to implement some our ideas for eliminating their airfare but we did find ways to reduce their costs considerably.
The biggest problem they faced was that they had 12 people traveling and would need airfare plus at a minimum, 3 hotel rooms. The costs for this trip were getting out of hand and many of the options were also limited because 10 of them were flying out of Salt Lake City, Utah and 2 were out of Boise, Idaho. They thought they would all just fly out of Salt Lake, but Salt Lake City is a very busy airport with limited options which creates the perfect scenario for higher airfare.
We started to look around at options other than Salt Lake. A 6 hour drive to the south provided cheaper airfare out of Las Vegas, but not enough to justify a 6 hour car ride, only then to hop on a plane for several more hours, so we continued to search. Mean while additional pressures, fuel prices and summer travel getting more busy, were rapidly sending what was a somewhat acceptable airfare to a completely out of control and out of reach airfare.
Finally we saw airfare out of Boise which was not only reasonable but also had a unique twist to it as well. The flight from Boise to Dallas was not only $290.00 RT compared to $434.00 from Salt Lake, but it stopped off in Salt Lake City on the way to and returning from Dallas.
So taking advantage of the lower fare, the family called the airline and asked…. What if we miss the flight from Boise to Salt Lake City, could we continue on if we got to Salt Lake City in time? (which is where they live) Initially the airline seemed to be ok with this, but finally said no because of it being the first leg of the trip. So being creative again, they found cheap one way tickets on Southwest Airlines to Boise, about $50 one way. Even with this they saved nearly $1,000.00 on the airfare.
They only needed a oneway ticket to Boise as their return flight also changes planes in Salt Lake. If they carry on their bags from Dallas to Salt Lake they just need to depart and not take the last part of their flight. You may be able to ask if you check your bags that they only go to your “new” destination, but don’t assume, always ask well in advance.
If your ok with the risks and you have done your homework ahead of time, this is another way to save hundreds of dollars on flights. In addition the family used our tip of arranging a home exchange and eliminated their hotel costs completely. Over all savings on this trip are right around $4,000.00. Not bad for some creative thinking.
*Originally posted 5/2011