As I’ve mentioned before, the miles and points game is getting harder and harder to win. Credit cards are harder to churn and airlines have tightened up on releasing award space, especially in business & first class. You will find yourself in economy class more often than not, not because you don’t have the miles but because you can’t find any other seats.
Yesterday, one of my favourite travel bloggers – Drew from Travel is Free posted an intriguing round the world trip using only low cost carriers (LCCs). One of the commenters led me to a similar post by Trevor of Tagging Miles.
So I started thinking, “I am an eco-tourism & birding travel blogger based in Australia, what could I do with LCCs”?
Air Asia is a given with a wide network all over Asia and serves several Australian airports. The closest to me in Brisbane would be the Gold Coast OOL. Cebu Pacific also has a nice network but only serves Sydney but once you get to Asia it is very cheap and very useful.
So even after the miles & points game is dead, I can still get to some amazing birding hotspots in Asia! But what if I want to go further away, say all the way to Africa? I’ll need to switch to a different LCC’s network. Enter FlyDubai. Now we can use either Colombo, Sri Lanka or Kochi, India as a connecting point and the best thing is that both places have access to great birding destinations – Thattekad and Kithulgala respectively!
So here’s an example of a one-way trip from Brisbane (via OOL) to Entebbe, Uganda which is one of the countries on my proposed “Godmother of All African Adventures“.
We would fly on Air Asia to Colombo on Air Asia and stopover a couple days to re-visit Kithulgala which I loved the first time we were there. I’ll convert everything to USD to suit most readers.
Next we fly from Colombo to Entebbe on FlyDubai.
Please note that some LCCs will charge extra for checked bags, meals, seat assignments so you need to check the T&Cs of each carrier and consider if you would have any checked bags. If you can make these flights work for you, you can get from Brisbane to Uganda for $573.
If you booked direct from BNE to EBB, the cheapest fare I could find on Expedia to use as an example is this one on Etihad (which is a really good airline) for $811.
So you can save $238 by using the LCC option which may or may not be significant to you but you also gain the opportunity to stop over in Sri Lanka enroute! Or you may decide $238 isn’t enough to lure you away from flying a top rated airline that would earn you some miles in AA or VA’s programs.
I can think of many people who would prefer to pay more for Etihad and many who would choose Air Asia & FlyDubai. But it’s always nice to have choices!