Do it yourself
I was looking for flights back to Germany and have got the impression that somehow I’m not as successful as I would like to be.
Given that I’m booking three months in advance and I’m not tied to a specific date, route or airline, there should be some pretty inexpensive flights from Sydney to Nuremberg or at least to Frankfurt.
But the cheapest that I could find was $920 via Beijing with Air China which I did not consider as a nice option. Next to that a pretty convenient option via Kuala Lumpur about $1470.
It seems to me like there must be other options that are just hiding from my aged eyes. I was using www.hipmunk.com, which I like a lot for its very convenient user interface and great sorting options.
But there must be something else! And it is. A blog post from Julian came to mind. So I decided to use the experience of an expert. I like to ask an expert. Of course as I am an expert in my profession and work as consultant. So this is daily business.
Therefore I launched a flight contest for $44. You can get the contest launched for less, but I decided to pay more because I think experts shouldn’t work for cheap. You can launch your contest and get a 25% discount if you want to.
Here are my findings how good this works
First of all, it’s only worth the effort if the flight your looking for is more than just from NUE to TXL or whatever other simple thing. But I was aiming for a good affordable way to get the family from Australia to southern Germany with a nice layover maybe.
Pretty fast, one of the experts came up with a flight from Sydney to Singapore (1st layover) to Riyadh to London (2nd layover) to Nuremberg. This option had a amazing price tag of $614 per person. But sadly on further inspection it did not quite match my expectations in terms of quality. I have opted “I’ll pay more for better airlines”. The airlines on this offer were the ones with the worst ratings available. I can absolutely stand this if it’s for a short flight, but not over the long haul like from Singapore to London with a stop over of more than 6 hours.
Actually I didn’t realise this until I hired that expert (which is the way of saying: “this guy shall get the money” at Flightfox) and booked the last leg of that offer (yes, you still book your flights on your own at Flightfox). But as I booked the cheap Ryanair flight from London to Nuremberg and was about to book the Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, it got pretty bad. During booking I was asked to give an address in London which I didn’t had at that time. I have to say this saved me from booking that Airline and that I looked up some reviews at this point with showed me how embarrassing that airline seems to be. I ended up asking the expert for another option and expressed my concerns regarding Saudi Air and that 6 hour stop over. But this time the expert was not nearly as fast as with the first offer. A day later I switched experts and moved from RDX to Bloodhound (experts are nicknamed at Flightfox).
The second expert offered a pretty good setup in the first place. He found flights from Sydney to Singapore (layover) to Kuala Lumpur to Frankfurt for $810 per person. At this time, as I’ve already booked the flight from London to Nuremberg I asked him to help me finding a setup that includes this. He answered right away and found a connecting flight with Malaysian Airlines from Singapore to London.
I booked the flights and after that the other expert got back to me with the same flight plan that I’ve already booked announcing it for $688.
The flights were not as cheap as shown on Flightfox, but I still got a deal way better than what I was able to find on my own.
Why are the prices different from what the experts say?
To be selected, the experts have to compete with each other. One very important measurement for the customer is the price. I think that’s the reason why some (maybe all) experts just don’t add costs that they should add. In my case this was extra luggage on the low-cost airlines Scoot and Ryanair. In addition to that, I selected premium seats ($50) for the Kuala Lumpur to London flight which is arguable for sure.
All in all, I’ve paid $875 per person which is $137 more than advertised by the expert, but still $595 less than what I came up with without help.
That’s what I call a good advice from an expert, even if there is room for improvement. And that’s why I’m happy to pay for this advice.
I wish you a good flight next time you get to it!