The Pitfalls of Being a Flight Test Engineeer

When any heavy maintenance was carried out on our helicopters, the helicopter had to have a maintenance check test flight with the maintenance test pilot and the maintenance test engineer. Heavy maintenance is when any engines, main, intermediate or tail rotor gearbox, main rotor head or main rotor blade, tail rotor blade, flying control equipment and control runs are replaced. Basically, any large maintenance service period that stopped the helicopter flying for more then a month.

The reason for the test flight was to ensure that all systems are serviceable and that the helicopter will remain serviceable when it is inflated to the edge of its flying envelope. The maintenance test pilot is a very experienced pilot, as is the maintenance test engineer.

The flight test can take from as little as 40 minutes up to an hour depending on how many tests are to be carried out on the equipment that has been changed.

After the maintenance crew, of which the flight test engineer could be one, have completed all their repairs and are satisfied that all non aircraft equipment such as ground equipment and tools are removed from the aircraft and returned to their correct storage places, the aircraft is prepared ready for the flight. The test pilot will only accept the aircraft if all the relevant paper work is signed and the ground crew has signed the aircraft fit to fly.

During the test flight the test engineer will ask the pilot to carry out certain maneuvers of the aircraft and when the pilot carries out these maneuvers the flight engineer will check all the communications from the instrument panel and document them for analysis on the aircraft's performance.

When your pilot that is at the end of the test flight he likes to add his little maneuver by dropping the helicopter out of the sky. This is called autorotation, leaving your stomach and its contents about 500 feet higher than your body. You know then that you have a pilot with a sadistic streak to his behavior

No More Scary Landings in Hong Kong

From its fanfare opening in 1925 to its closure almost 45 years later on 6 July 1998, Kai Tak was the major Hong Kong airport that provided a spectacular aerial return for passengers arriving at or departing from, the former British colony.

However, with a runway that jutted out almost its entire length into Victoria Harbor, mountains to the north and surrounded on three sides by skyscrapers, landings at Hong Kong airport were always challenging for pilots. Frequent crosswinds and monsoon conditions often made for scary touchdowns for quite a few flights!

An airport with only one runway, conceived and constructed in an age of smaller propeller-driven aircraft it started to struggle from the jet age onwards, especially following the introduction of Boeing 747s, and when the Airbus first touted its double-decker A380 super airliner , the writing was on the wall for Kai Tak.

Following the handing back of Hong Kong back to China when the UK's lease on the colony was up, the new masters of the dominion decided to construct a brand new airport further along the coastline on an artificial constructed island, but one with a far easier approach than Kai Tak.

It was not the difficult approach for pilots that finally forced the relocation of Hong Kong airport, but rather the need to increase its capacity and capacity to handle more traffic and larger jets. For, in addition to being the fifth busiest airport for passenger traffic, Hong Kong is also the world's largest cargo handling airport and is a prominent hub for entry into China. The old airport at Kai Tak simply could not handle the level of anticipated traffic for a location located in such a strategic site for South East Asia trade.

Now, all flights to Hong Kong International Airport arrive at Chep Lak Kok which, nine years after opening, added a second terminal building in 2007. With two runways the airport is capable of handling 50million passengers per year and 85 different airlines now use it flying to 150 world destinations.

Situated 18 miles to the west from its outdated predecessor, the new Hong Kong International Airport is a superior superior facility conceivable, designed and built for the 21st century, but the operators are not resting on their laurels. Plans for refurbishment and improvement have already begun and will see a change to the lay-out of the departures' Immigration Hall, as well structural improvements to the runways and taxeships to cope with ever-increasing traffic. There is even talk of construction of a third runway as the airport firmly cements its place as the hub to southern China.

How to Start Planning a European Trip on a Budget

You can approach the planning of a trip in a number of ways. For me I narrow it down to where I roughly want to go and then figure out how much it will cost. From here I can add or subtract locations or side trips. As I’m currently beginning to plan a trip to Europe I thought I might walk through the process and demonstrate at least how I begin to put a trip together. Do be aware that the costs listed below are from internet searches I performed on January 30th 2008 and should be understood to be samples of potential prices only.

Recently my Dad (who has never been to Europe) asked me to go with him and show him around at the end of April. After prodding for specifics his only request was that it be Italy, Spain or Germany. With only about 10 days to spend overseas I decided against Germany. Although Germany is probably my favorite country in Europe, Italy or Spain can really give the first time traveler to Europe a sense of being in Europe in a small amount of time. In Italy you have the normal circuit of Rome, Florence and Venice all within relatively close proximity to each other, making for easy and quick train travel. In Spain, my favorite cites Barcelona, Girona, Granada, Seville and Madrid, are likewise relatively close and inexpensive. Personally, there is so much about Germany I love which is at different ends of the country a quick 7-10 day trip would not be enough time.

With my location narrowed down and a trip duration in mind I begin with the most important part of a trip to Europe, the flight. Using kayak.com I start by plugging in the major airports I would like to fly in and out of. Since we want to go to Italy we can start with (for simplicities sake) New York to Rome with flexible dates during the time frame I can get off work. Of course you will want to plug in the nearest international airport to you. Searching within the last week of April through the first week in May I found the cheapest flight to be: NYC- to – Rome from the 29th through the 9th = $756 With this as my working number for ticket prices I look into other possible cities to fly into for cheaper tickets NYC – to – Florence from the 29th through the 13th = $956—-nope NYC- to – Venice from the 26th through the 10th = $850—-nope NYC- to – Milan from the 25th through the 9th = $852—-nope Not finding anything cheaper I then start thinking about flying into one city and flying out of another. This has the benefit of saving the time (which is limited) of backtracking as well as the cost of an extra train ticket back. Since my working plan is to fly into Rome and visit Venice last I check these two cities on the dates of the cheapest flight above. NYC- to – Rome : Venice- to -NYC from the 29th through the 9th = $852

For $100 more I can eliminate 4-5 hours of travel as well as a train ticket that will cost at least $100 one way. So far this seems like a better deal. Just for the sake of argument then, why not check into what it would cost to throw in a wonderful Spanish city, Barcelona. My Dad wanted to see Spain and an over night ferry from Barcelona to a city near Rome is relatively fun and cheap when you think about the cost you will be paying for accommodation anyways. NYC- to -Barcelona : Venice- to -NYC from the 29th through the 9th = $816

Well, we almost saved 40 bucks and get to see Barcelona. If we can get from Barcelona to Rome for around $40 we are practically making money (well not really but you get the idea). Sticking with the ferry idea for now a quick check of directferries.co.uk gives me: Barcelona -to – Civitavecchia (near Rome) (20 hours overnight) = $65 on Grimaldi Ferries Considering accommodation is going to be anywhere from $25-$35 in Rome or Barcelona and we saved $36 on the flight by going into Spain this sounds reasonable for a quick visit to Barcelona and does not cost us more at all. For even more savings we can try to fly from Barcelona to Rome but we must keep in mind that 1. it won’t be an overnight flight so accommodation will be an issue again and 2. Budget airlines don’t usually fly out of the major airports, making travel outside the city and issue. None-the-less checking clickair and ryanair for a few samples does not hurt. clickair has Barcelona- to – Rome (Fiumicino) on the 2nd = $29 (the 2nd however is a bit late) ryanair has Barcelona (Girona)- to – Rome (Ciampino) on the 1st = $20

All in all we now know that stopping in Barcelona is a great idea and getting to Rome will be cheap and easy. With our air plans figured out we can start to look at what this trip is going to cost us in ground transportation. I prefer trains over renting cars in Europe; I just can’t relax in a car and the cost of gas and concentrating on the road usually outweighs the freedom. With that in mind it’s time to figure out if buying point to point tickets is cheaper than buying a rail pass. My rough plan is to fly into Barcelona head to Rome (fly or sail) then go from Rome to Florence to Venice. Ill check the cost of point to point tickets between these cities as well as a few side trips to get a spread of costs using the worksheets at noambit.com Rome- to -Florence (1-2 hours) = $65 Florence- to -Venice (2-3 hours) = $58 Rome- to -Pisa (3-4 hours) = $47 Pisa- to -Florence (1-2 hours) =$19 Florence- to -Rimini (1 hour) = $50 Rimini- to -Venice (1-2 hours) = $70 With these numbers we can see that our simplest trip, Rome, Florence, Venice, is going to cost roughly $123. Our most expensive plan, Rome, Pisa, Florence, Rimini and Venice is going to come in around $196. A quick look at rail pass prices shows us that we will only really benefit if we want to do the longer trip and then only barely. A four day rail pass (you can travel for any four days within two months) runs about $202. About the same as our longer trip but also with an included 20% off discount on the ferry from Barcelona. The problem I see here is that traveling that much, especially since we are adding the city in Spain, is not going to give much time to see anything. At this point I’m going to opt to pay full price on the ferry and buy point to point tickets in Italy. Even adding Pisa on is only going to cost about $134 total.

To this point then, assuming we throw in Pisa (a day trip) on our way to Florence and pay full price to take the ferry over from Spain we are looking to spend about $1015 to spend 10 days and see five cities in two countries in Europe. Its time now to figure in accommodation. A rule of thumb for me is to plan on spending a minimum of $50 a day for a bed and food. Sometimes this is high (not very) sometimes this is low (more and more each year). For the sake of demonstration however I looked up budget hotels and hostels for the locations I plan on visiting to get a rough idea of what I will be spending. 30th April – Barcelona =$20-$35 1st May – Boat to Rome = already figured in 2nd-4th – Rome =$20 (camping) $30 (hostel) 5th-6th – Florence = $15-$25 7th-8th – Venice = $45

What we end up with is a range of $200-$265 that I need to budget for accommodation. Adding in food takes a bit of guess work but $15 dollars a day is a good workable number. If need be you could eat twice at a Mc Donalds and “live” or grab some bread and cheese from a grocery store and still have some left over for a couple slices of pizza or Doner Kebab. Of course if you are going to Italy for the food or wine you will have to plan on spending more money but $15 should get you by. Our final cost is going to be the sight seeing and extras (taking the metro, bottle of wine, train reservations). Since my Dad has never been there I will want to show him the Vatican museum, the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, The statue of David, la Sagrada Familia and a variety of other things. For a trip like we have planned above, in Italy for only 10 days, $150-$200 should be fine.

When all is said and done I can count on spending around $1365 – $1480 for the whole trip. This, as we have seen is rather bare bones so there isn’t a lot that can be cut if this were out of my budget(which it is very close to being). I could of course opt out of going to Pisa but ultimately in terms of trains this only saves me $10 and that doesn’t seem worth skipping a city I have never seen. What you will decide to cut (perhaps the duration you’re overseas or how many cities you can see) will depend on what is important to you on this visit to Europe. What is important is that you find a way to fulfill your dream of traveling to your country of choice and I hope that this article helps you find a way to make it work with a limited budget.

The History of Eastern Airlines

Once considered one of the “big four” US carriers, along with American, Delta, and United, it had been innovative and highly successful, having evolved into the world’s second-largest airline during its six-decade history.

Tracing its origins to Pitcairn Aviation, which had been formed on September 15, 1927, it had inaugurated airmail service the following year between Brunswick, New Jersey, and Atlanta with open-cockpit PA-5 Mailwings.

But North American Aviation, a holding company for several fledgling carriers and aircraft manufacturers, purchased the company a year after that, and, changing its name to Eastern Air Transport, inaugurated passenger service with Ford 4-AT Trimotors on the multi-sector hop from Newark to Washington via Camden, Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond on August 18, 1930. Acquisition of the Curtiss Condor enabled it to extend the route to Atlanta.

After absorbing Ludington Air Lines three years later, it was able to incorporate a New York-Philadelphia-Washington triplet to its system.

Eastern’s growth, like that of many other carriers, was jumpstarted by the Air Mail Act of 1934, which entailed the awarding of government contracts to private companies to transport the mail, while the US Postal Service selected them based upon the bid they submitted in competition with others. Although this prompted the formation of upstart companies to operate the airmail routes in the hopes of being chosen, it equally required the separation of the then-common aircraft manufacturer-and-carrier co-ownership.

Circumventing the restriction imposed upon it as a result of its Spoils Conference involvement with General Postmaster Walter Folger Brown, Eastern Air Transport changed its name in 1934 to the one by which it would be known throughout its history, Eastern Air Lines.

Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, purchased the carrier from the North American Aviation holding for $800.,000 and took over the helm, implementing an aircraft modernization program.

Building its soon-famous Great Silver Fleet, he quickly replaced the slow Curtiss Condor biplanes with all-metal Douglas DC-2s, one of which became the first to land at the new Washington National Airport in 1941. Leaving its imprint on an expanding East Coast network, Eastern plied the New York-Miami sector with wider-cabin, 21-pasenger DC-3s in 1937.

Like many US airlines, whose growth was interrupted by the necessity World War II imposed on it and the requisition of its aircraft for military purposes, Eastern commenced its own military support flights in 1942, connecting the three states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas, spreading its wings to Trinidad in the Caribbean, and ultimately forming its Miami-based Military Transport Division, for which it acquired Curtiss C-46 Commandos.

The seed to its pioneer, tri-city northeast shuttle was planted two years later when the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) awarded it the New York-Boston route over American.

The technological advancements of the 1950s, expressed as range, payload, speed, comfort, and safety increases, occurred so rapidly that, by the time an aircraft was produced, its replacement was already on the drawing board.

The quad-engine DC-4 soon supplemented its 39 twin-engine DC-3s, and its network now encompassed Detroit, St. Louis, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Lockheed L-649 Constellation, inaugurated into service in 1947, yielded to the higher-capacity L-1049 Super Constellation, which plied its signature New York-Miami route as of December 17, 1951. The Martin 4-0-4s replaced the DC-3s and by the middle of the decade, the first DC-7Bs sported Eastern’s livery.

Acquisition of Colonial Airlines gave it access to New York State, New England, Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico City.

The propjet took the form of the four-engine Lockheed L-188 Electra, which was inaugurated into service on January 12, 1959 between New York and Miami, and the pure-jet in the form of the four-engine Douglas DC-8 only a year later, soon supplemented by the smaller-capacity, but higher cruise speed Boeing 720.

Eastern was the first of the big four US carriers to operate the 727-100 tri-jet “Whisperliner”-specifically on the Philadelphia-Washington-Miami run-and the twin-jet DC-9-10.

The famous hourly New York-Boston-Washington air shuttle was launched on April 30, 1961 with the L-188 Electra, for which it advised, “No need to make a reservation. Just ‘show and go.’ All sections are with backup planes standing by to assure a seat for everybody waiting at scheduled departure time.”

One-way weekday fares were $69.00 to Boston and $42.00 to Washington, while the round-trip weekend prices were $55.00 for adults and $37.00 for children to both.

The shuttle was eventually operated by DC-9-30, 727-200, and A-300 aircraft.

Breaking its hitherto East Coast shackles at the end of the 1960s, it expanded to Seattle and Los Angeles on the West Coast, to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas with its acquisition of Mackey Airways, and to several Caribbean islands after purchasing Caribair.

Passing the torch to another famous aerospace personality, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker relinquished control to Colonel Frank Borman, who had orbited the earth in Gemini VII in 1966 and the moon in Apollo VIII two years later.

Eastern entered the widebody era with the Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar in 1972, became the first US carrier to operate the European Airbus Industrie A-300 in 1978 when it ordered 23, and was the launch customer for the Boeing 757-200.

After acquiring Braniff International’s Latin American routes in 1982 and establishing a hub in San Juan, it became the world’s second-largest carrier in terms of annual passengers after Aeroflot, establishing hubs in New York, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, and San Juan and toting its “We have to earn our wings everyday” slogan.

But, while it may have earned its wings, it did not necessarily earn the profits to support their lift. Debt from aircraft purchases needed for its expansion and labor disputes necessitated the $615 million purchase by Texas Air Holdings, which also owned Continental, in 1986, and Eastern became a carcass of fodder. Airplanes were sold. Employees were laid off. Assets were transferred to Continental. And its image rapidly deteriorated, especially when it virtually eliminated in-flight service to reduce costs.

Declaring bankruptcy in 1989 and ceasing operations two years later, on January 19, the one-time “wings of man” became the Icarus of deregulation after a six-decade flight.

How to Find Cheap Travel Deals on the Internet

There are several good and reliable travel sites on the Internet where you can find great travel deals and save big bucks on your next holidays. However, getting the best deals is not always as easy as we think. Even though there are hundreds of travel sites out there, getting a bargain is not always simple.

Some of the well known sites, which I have personally used without any problem, are: Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Cheap tickets, Ebookers and Last minute.

Still, to find a good deal within these sites is not straightforward, a digging job has to be done to find the gold, despite the easy to use and wonderful sites these brands above and other companies have.

One of the activities that should not be missed is comparing your traveling schedule among the sites of your choice, because no one has the best prices, for all routes, always. Each one has its own specials and when someone has a bargain in certain route, usually the others have not the same special price.

To do this job, there are some websites which compare among these popular travel sites for the destination of your choice and after spotting the lowest fare, you can always go back to the lowest fare site to review the conditions and make the purchase, if you wish.

Major airline sites, often have special deals which are not published through travel sites, so taking a look to the airline sites, which travel to your selected destination, could give you surprisingly good fares for your flight.

Regardless the site or sites you choose to look for your travel information keep in mind the following tips when planning your next holiday.

Book as advanced as you can. Airlines fares increase as the time for departure approaches.

Try to arrive and depart in a mid-week day. Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

If you have flexible dates, chances to get a bargain will increase. Sometimes, a trade show or a special event will make the city of your destination very expensive for a given week, while a couple of days later or earlier, the prices could drop sharply.

For obvious reasons, avoid holidays. It is practically impossible to find a bargain during holidays, even more, airlines increase prices during holidays.

If you are traveling during Christmas, usually the Christmas day itself is cheaper than the days before. The same applies to Thanksgiving and other crowded holidays.

Try to use several websites to research your travel information, and then you will identify the most appropriate website for your needs.

When traveling to Europe from the US, try getting to a major city like London, and then use the local cheap fare airlines to travel around Europe.

When booking a hotel, use Expedia or Travelocity to see the pictures and location of the hotel, even if you book later in other site with better price.

Use as many sites as needed to book different parts of your holidays, if you get the best price in each one of them.

After you select a flight or hotel in any travel site, get into the airline and hotel sites directly and compare prices.

Verify that the site where you are purchasing has good reputation and uses SSL encryption when you pay online with a credit card.

After you receive the confirmation code from the travel site where you made the purchase, mail directly to the hotel and/or airline and confirm that they got your reservation exactly as the one you purchased.

Following these tips will give you the lowest fares available on the Internet and will avoid you unpleasant surprises when traveling.

Three of the Best Options for Emirates Business Class Flights

When it comes to booking holidays abroad, it is important that you book flights with a carrier you can trust as you will want to get your trip off to the best possible start.

You may also find that booking business class seats is advisable, as the extra space you are given and the excellent level of service will put you in the perfect frame of mind to fully enjoy your break before you even land at your destination.

Emirates is a well-respected airline and since it started flying in 1985, it has worked hard to develop a strong reputation.

With the airline based in the United Arab Emirates, one of the best places to visit when flying with the carrier is Dubai.

This is where the first Emirates flight took off from all those years ago and when you choose Emirates business class to Dubai, you will not be disappointed.

Travelling in such luxury could prove to be the perfect way to start your break, where you will be able to stay in high-class hotels and enjoy some of the best shopping facilities in the Middle East.

Modern architecture will surround you and you will find that there are still examples of the emirate’s early heritage too – not to mention its beautiful beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun.

Another destination that you can reach with Emirates is Sydney in Australia.

The city is a vibrant and exciting place to visit, with a mixture of attractions ranging from its famous landmarks and historic districts to its plethora of shops and restaurants, as well as its beaches.

Walking along the harbour is one activity you should certainly make time for, giving you the chance to take in the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You can also take a boat trip out on to the water to get a different perspective on the city.

Meanwhile, Bondi Beach is just a short distance from the city centre and you will find that many of the bays along Sydney’s coast are the perfect places to relax for an afternoon.

If you want to jet off to a far-flung location, why not consider booking flights to Kuala Lumpur? This Malaysian hub is an exciting melting pot of cultures from all over south-east Asia and you will find plenty to keep you busy during your break.

As well as its famous modern landmarks like the Petronas Towers, you will also discover examples of its Hindu culture, particularly if you visit the Batu Caves where temples have been incorporated into the limestone caverns.

Data Science Certification – Flight to a Glorious Career

WHO ARE DATA SCIENTISTS?

Data scientists are experts with the expertise and skills to interpret the complex data. They combine a mathematician’s and a computer scientist’s skills. This enables them to straddle both the business and IT worlds. That’s why they are paid really well, in comparison to other analytical experts.

ABOUT DATA SCIENCE CERTIFICATION

With the progressive growth of data science across each and every sector of industry, technology trends have shown how significant they are for the effective functioning of a diverse range of businesses. One can learn data science at a variety of institutions. There is no need to go to college for several years and get a degree. Today, we can acquire an equivalent qualification through on-line data science certification courses. The best part of a certification course is that it is similar to a data science degree and one can study at his/her own convenience.

ADVANTAGES OF CERTIFICATION

DATA TRAINING is essential for professionals and freshers looking for a career as because:

  • The data-driven economy has made organizations open their doors to big data, increasing the value of a Scientist who knows how to effectively drive the value of a large amount of data. It helps you acquire a competitive edge over others and to stay one step ahead of your competition.
  • A recent report from the TDWI clearly states that “46% of organizations cite inadequate skills and employees for Big data Analytics”. It can help the organizations to fill the gap and inculcate skills which employees lack and also help experienced professionals to advance in their careers.
  • The enormous growth across industries is a clear indication of the variety of job opportunities available in industries across various sectors. Getting certified leads one to greater heights in the professional hierarchy where is plenty of room for aspiring data scientists.
  • The application of big data is not a passing or temporary trend. It’s here to stay and will escalate at an exponential rate, further holding out a promise for the future in the field of data science. Their future looks secure.
  • With the wealth of information available regarding fresh job seekers available on social media, corporate databases etc, Data Scientists can hunt fresh talent for the organization and recruit the best to fit the organization’s needs, speeding up and streamlining the recruitment process.

CONCLUSION

They have the capability to add value to the organization and to their careers. Today, a data scientist is a vital component in the success of any organization as they have the necessary skills to handle complex problems.

Holland Tulips

The tulip flower, the symbol of Holland, has its roots in Asia and the Mediterranean. Holland is the tulip capital of the world, although it is not a native Dutch flower. There is not a single species of tulip indigenous to Holland. Tulips grow so well in Holland due to the pleasant climate. Tulips were introduced in the Netherlands during the 17th century by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist. He achieved immense recognition for his works with medicinal herbs in Prague and Vienna. In 1593, he accepted a position as the head botanist of the Dutch University in Leiden.

At Leiden, Clusius founded the first botanic garden focusing on ornamental plants rather than medicinal ones. In this garden, he developed a private tulip collection with the tulip bulbs and seeds brought from Constantinople (presently Istanbul) and thus introduced the flower to Holland for the first time. Some local gardeners broke into his garden and stole many of the specimen tulips. It is from these that the now famous Dutch bulb industry began. Tulips rapidly gained popularity as a trading produce, especially in Holland. The interest in these flowers was enormous and bulbs were sold for incredibly high prices.

Through various botanical experimentations, Clusius and other horticulturists discovered new color variants in tulips. The popularity of tulips soared and in a little while the demand increased drastically. In the months of late 1636 to early 1637, there was a complete “Tulipmania” in the Netherlands. People began speculating with tulips. Conversely, during the first few days of February 1637, the Dutch tulip market crashed dramatically.

Many tourists visit Holland just to see the bright colored flower and the amazing view of the bulb fields. The flower fields in the west of Holland are at their peak during the months of April and May. There are numerous flower exhibitions held in Holland every year in which tulips form a major part. The Keukenhof in Lisse is the most exciting and colorful spring attraction in Holland, where tulips, along with daffodils, hyacinths and other flowering bulbs, are the main crowd pullers.

Taking The Stress Out Of Air Travel

Unfortunately, flying can be a turbulent experience – and that’s before you even get into the air. With the crowds, the queues and security checks that take longer than ever before, airports can be stressful places, especially if you’re not familiar with the way things work.

The most important thing you can do to make your flying experience as pleasant as possible is to allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. This means arriving at least two hours before your plane is scheduled to leave or, if possible, even earlier.

There is nothing more stressful than sitting in a traffic jam and seeing the time until your plane’s planned departure tick away. This is the absolute worst way to commence a journey, so ensure you double check all flight times before departure and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Don’t forget to take into account the chance of heavy traffic, delays or possible security checks of vehicles.

If you have an early morning departure, then it’s a good idea to travel down to the airport the night before your flight and take advantage of an airport hotel. Almost all large airports have hotels on site, from Heathrow to Honolulu, and will allow you a full night’s sleep, avoiding the hassle and stress of having to rush to the airport in the early hours. Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and take a shuttle bus, (which most airport hotels provide for free) to the airport.

Once you arrive at the airport, locate the correct check in desk by looking at the large screens which show the flight timetables. If you have hand luggage only, some airports and airlines offer a new service called “online check in”, through which you can print off your own ticket and avoid the check in queue altogether. This is especially useful for short haul and business travellers, but unlikely to be of much use to those who are going on holiday and therefore have large amounts of baggage.

Don’t underestimate the amount of time needed to pass through security and into the departure lounge. During peak time this can take up to half an hour, so it’s essential you budget for this. Another mistake that novice travellers have been known to make is not allowing enough time to reach their departure gate. At large international airports, getting to the gate can take twenty minutes or more, and may even require travellers to take internal transport system.

So as long as your plan your journey and allow yourself plenty of time, it’s easy to take the turbulence out of flying!

10 Ways To Save Money On Flight Tickets

1. Have patience. It does take effort to get a good price on flights. Now, don’t let that deter you, because saving $100+ on flights can mean having more money to spend on sight-seeing, hotel, dining out, tours, etc. This means that if you want to travel in Spring, you should start checking prices in the late Fall or Winter. Sometimes there are last minute deals, but more often than not, you will find the best deals at least 21 days before your departure date.

First thing in the morning (around 9:00am, and in the evening, after 6:00pm) I like to browse travel websites to see if there are any deals being offered that day. I also like to delete my browser history and cookies, because sometimes travel websites and airlines will remember your search and this might cause prices to actually increase.

My favourite website is Skyscanner. One of the great features about this website is that you can check to see what the best price for the day is for travel worldwide from the airport of your preference. For example, I live in Toronto, so I will enter flights from Toronto (YYZ) to Everywhere. This is a great feature because it will tell me where on that day, which date, month, etc. is cheapest for me to fly anywhere in the world. [I used this site recently to help me get tickets for my trip to Seoul, South Korea in April. Other airlines were charging $1,000-$1,500+ for flights to Seoul, but Delta was having a promotion and I was able to get round trip flights for only $850 CAD / $770 USD with the exchange rate.]

Another great feature on Skyscanner, is that you can put in your destination and dates of travel and sign up for “Price Alerts” so they will email you if the price goes up or down for your specified dates of travel. [My sister just used this feature to help her get a flight to Edmonton, Alberta for travel in May. Prices for one-way tickets were around $300-$400 and she was able to get it for $269 CAD.]

Another website I like to use is Expedia. Everyday they will shows travel deals available to the top domestic and international tourist destinations. They will also include deals packages for “Flight + Hotel”. This helps me get a feel for what the average cost is for example, a 4 night trip to Las Vegas. Let’s say the price for flight and hotel to Vegas for 4 nights on the Strip is $500-$600 per person from Toronto, I like to try and keep an eye out for deals that are equal to or below this price – that’s how I know I am saving money and getting the best price.

One thing about Expedia however is that the price advertised is not always available. If I am looking on their flight deals for last minute getaways, I might see round trip tickets to Miami for $250 CAD (departing from Toronto), but once I click on the deal, it may say the price has increased to $350 CAD instead. This isn’t always the case, but it does happen sometimes which is something to keep in mind.

Other websites that I like to use are: Kayak, Redtag, Sunwing, Bing Flight Predictor and Airfarewatchdog.

2. Check the airline’s direct website. While these third party travel websites can be great, sometimes the best unadvertised deals are found directly through the airline’s website. I recommend signing up for email promotions offered through your preferred airline. For example, since I live in Canada, I am signed up for Air Canada’s travel promotions. This let’s me see special offers available as soon as they go live on the Air Canada website.

I really wanted to do a weekend trip to NYC with my sister this past February to celebrate her 21st birthday. In addition to checking third party websites, I would also play around with dates by entering the travel in Air Canada. They did not advertise this deal, but I was able to find direct round trip flights from YYZ to LGA for $199 CAD. This was a great deal that I was so happy to find through Air Canada. Sometimes the Airline’s website will offer promotion codes as well, so it is worthwhile to take a look.

3. Check departures/ arrivals from alternative airports. This is not always convenient, but sometimes a lot of major cities have more than one airport or have another airport within close proximity to them in another city. For Toronto residents, we have Pearson Airport that offers domestic and international flights and Billy Bishop Airport that offers select flights within Canada and the USA. There is also the option of driving across the border and flying out of Buffalo Airport too. It is almost always cheaper to fly out of Buffalo airport than Pearson or Billy Bishop. But the downside is most, (if not all flights) are not direct and you will have to pay for parking since most people leave their car at the airport while travelling. Flying out of Buffalo is always a last resort for me, because it is a 90 minute drive from Toronto (you have to consider gas charges) and depending on how long your trip is, parking costs may bring that discounted flight up to or around the same cost as the flight would have been if it had departed from YYZ or YTZ. However, sometimes there are significant savings to be had when flying out of Buffalo, which will definitely make it worth your while. [When I handled the company corporate travel at my previous job, last minute trips happened often and if a group of 2 or more needed to travel to the USA, flying out of Buffalo saved the company upwards of $300-$600 + per flight ticket.]

This can also be said of not just the departure airport that you choose, but also the arrival airport. For example, when flying to NYC, there are essentially three airports that you can choose to arrive in: LGA, JFK or EWR. Sometimes you can get a better price when arriving at one airport over the other. One thing to keep in mind however is the travel from the airport to your hotel. If you are taking public transit, you can get to Manhattan from LGA for as little as $2.50 when taking the bus and subway train. However it is a bit more pricey when getting to Manhattan from EWR because you have to take New Jersey transit, then switch onto the Manhattan transit system. If you are taking a taxi, prices to get from each airport into Manhattan can vary. This is an important point to keep in mind and I recommend you conduct your own research before traveling.

4. Follow airlines and third party travel websites on Twitter (social media) and sign up for their mailing list. One of the great features about social media is that airlines can use this to advertise special travel promotions through certain social media outlets. Sometimes an airline will offer a special promotion code through their Twitter or Facebook page that isn’t advertised on other websites. West Jet offers Blue Tag Thursdays, which is a special promotion that is offered only Thursday afternoons (unless they have another special running during this time). You can find this on their website, or watch for it advertised on their Twitter or Facebook page. When signing up to third party or airline website’s mailing lists, they will sometimes send private promotional offers to their subscribers that give you secret access to their sale.

5. Don’t be afraid to book your flight and hotel separately. Sometimes you can get a great deal on sites like Expedia when you bundle your vacation and book flights and hotel at the same time, but this is not always the case. If you see an exceptional deal on a flight, book it now, don’t wait! You may be able to find a better price on the hotel later. I also recommend that if you do in fact see a great deal on a flight, please book it now, rather than wait until later that same day. Let’s say you see a great deal on a flight to San Francisco in the morning, but wait until you get home from work to purchase the tickets, this may not work to your advantage.

I will give you an example: I grew up in San Francisco and was looking for flights to go back and visit (this was back in October 2012), but they were around $600 and I wanted to wait for a better price. A few weeks later, Delta had a sale and was offering flights from Toronto to San Francisco for $437 CAD. This was an unbelievable price, considering all I was seeing was $600+ in the previous weeks, so I didn’t wait around and purchased the tickets immediately. I checked later that afternoon to see if the deal was still live and the price had shot back up to $600. I highly recommend booking when you see a price you feel is a great deal, because it may disappear sooner than you think.

Sometimes if you are booking multi-city flights, it may be more cost effective to book them separately than go with the same airline. For example, last summer (June 2013) I wanted to fly from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and finally from Los Angeles back home to Toronto. I spent about a month and a half checking prices daily to get the best deal. I was eventually able to get a sale through Air Canada for the flights from Toronto to Las Vegas and from Los Angeles back to Toronto. I waited on booking the USA domestic flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles because Air Canada obviously didn’t offer this and prices were around $100 USD for this one-way flight at the time. About a week later, I was on Southwest.com and I saw they had a “Getaway” deal for $49 USD for the flight I needed from LAS to LAX. This was a great deal, so of course I booked right away. My entire multi-city airfare ended up costing $515 altogether. [YYZ to LAS and LAX to YYZ cost me $466 CAD and the Southwest flight from LAS to LAX cost $49 USD].

6. Know what time of year and which days are cheapest for flying. Travelling on Tuesday and Wednesday are generally cheaper than any other day of the week. (Generally, searching mid-week for flights produces the best deals too). From experience, I also find that Thursday and Saturday can offer the best price sometimes as well. Of course doesn’t happen all the time and you will have to experiment with dates, which is why Skyscanner is great for deciphering which day is cheapest to depart and return. Days that tend to be most expensive are Monday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. Airlines know that most business trips take place Monday – Friday, which is why it tends to be more expensive to depart Monday and return on Friday. However, business travelers have started to fly out on Sunday instead of Monday in hopes to get a more affordable fare, but this doesn’t always work. Getting the cheapest departure date of the week of course is dependent on the flexibility of your travel dates.

The time of year also helps. It is usually cheaper to fly to Europe in the off-season and shoulder seasons (late fall, winter and early spring). Last year (2013) my parents traveled to Paris in April with direct round trip flights with Air Transat from Toronto for $671 CAD each. This isn’t the best price I have seen, but it was definitely the best deal at the time for non-stop round trip flights. Traveling during the off or shoulder season isn’t always negative. Sometimes due to poor weather, you will not want to travel during the off-season, but generally the off-season is less crowded and offers better prices.

I find that right now (early Spring) it is a bit more expensive to fly to Las Vegas (around $400-$500 CAD) because most people like to go there during the Spring time before the weather gets too hot in the Summer months. [I am comparing this to flight deals I saw this past winter for around $350 CAD.] It’s always wise to check out what events are happening during the dates you want to travel to a particular destination. Sometimes a holiday or big conference meeting could jack up the fares. I always suggest scoping out the average price for flights to your preferred destination, then keeping an eye on how the price fluctuates.

7. Save money on your baggage. Most airlines now charge you $25 each way to check your luggage. And they will charge you extra if your luggage goes over the airline weight limit. You can avoid this by packing light and making sure that your luggage does not go over the limit (check the airline to confirm the weight limit and for prices on checked luggage). Also, if you are going on a short trip, consider sharing one checked luggage bag with your travel partner(s). This can save you $50 on travel costs, since it costs $25 each way to check your luggage.

If you are going on an even shorter trip (weekend trip), consider only bringing carry on luggage and forget about the checked bag. Most airlines will let you bring a small amount of liquids on board the plane. If you are just going for a quick weekend trip, you might be able to get away with just a carry on bag. I did this for my trip last month to NYC. I went to my local dollar store and bought a small travel pouch of clear plastic containers. This allowed me to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, night/ day cream, foundation, etc. It also included sticker labels so I knew what everything was. I do realize that this is not practical for everyone, but for a 2 night trip, I would much rather spend $1 for the travel pouch at Dollarama then $50 for a checked bag. It also saves me the hassle of waiting to retrieve my checked bag at Baggage Claim.

8. Shop around for travel / health insurance. I always recommend getting travel or (extra) health insurance for your trip, but sometimes you are not getting the best price when you select the insurance package offered through the airline when you book your flights. Usually your work insurance will offer some type of travel or health coverage when traveling. Talk to HR about this if you are unsure. You can also buy insurance through your bank – that’s where I tend to find the best prices. This will also be cost efficient in the long run in you plan and traveling multiple times during the year. [Rather than pay for insurance each time you book a flight, you can get covered through your bank or alternative place for the year for a set fee.] If you are over 40 years old (or have a history of health issues), I recommend purchasing extra health coverage (even you already are covered through work). Unfortunately we can never predict what might happen while traveling, and if, heaven forbid, anything did happen, you will be happy that you purchased the extra health insurance. This is something that is unique to each person, so I cannot tell you what the best option is, that is something that you need to discuss with HR, your bank and family in order to see what the best choice is for you.

9. Avoid paying for seat selection (if you can). Some airlines ask for an extra fee to make advance seat selection, sometimes it is included in the price – if that’s the case then great, but if you have to pay $20 or so to make an advance seat selection, I would pass. You can usually check in early (24 hours before flight departure) and make the seat selection for free. You may be able to get the seats that you wanted, or you may not. It’s a hit or miss. If you don’t have a preference on where you sit, or willing to take the risk, then avoid paying the additional fee for advance seat selection.

10. Take advantage of travel reward programs. There is so much competition between airlines and credit cards today, so sign up for their travel reward programs. Talk to your bank and see what travel reward credit card works best for your needs. A lot of them allow you to collect points on your everyday spending so you can redeem them for free flights. Some of these credit cards do have stipulations, such as you can only book the flights through your bank, or there are black out dates for travel. However, due to the vast amount of travel reward credit cards being offered today, they are getting better and you can find one that does not contain any of these stipulations. That means you can use your points to redeem flights anytime, anywhere. Sometimes these cards do come with a slight annual membership fee, but the rewards alone are worth it.

The same goes for airline frequent flyer programs. The more you fly with one airline, the more frequent flyer points you will collect. This works great for business travelers because while their company pays for their trips, they are be able to collect frequent flyer points so they can redeem for their personal holiday travels. Some companies even allow employees to book their own flights, then submit the receipts for reimbursement. This allows the employee to get points on their travel reward credit card in addition to frequent flyer points.

I hope these tips will help you when booking your next vacation or trip. Please note that these tips have worked in my own experience, but may not work for everyone. The main thing to keep in mind is that the key to getting the best deal on your flights is to have patience and be flexible with your travel dates.