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Airfares with benefits

Posted on May 26, 2014 by

Make the most of your long-haul travel by taking advantage of flights with added bonuses. 

Free stopovers, side-trips and transfers are among the sweeteners that airlines are offering to business and leisure travellers who are taking off overseas.  

Bonus offers and options are not always immediately obvious, but could help you to save significantly. And while the internet may have made it easier for travellers to research their options, understanding all of the available choices can be time consuming and confusing. For many people, it’s not always obvious how each airline’s offers differ and what special bonuses are available in conjunction with particular fares or on particular carriers. This is where the expertise of a good travel manager comes into play. 

Some examples of flights with bonuses include extra side-trips or stopovers for passengers flying along haul, airport transfers may be included if you’re flying business or first class or you may be able to fly in Airfares with benefits and out of different countries if you’re taking part in a cruise or overland coach ride as part of a corporate incentive trip.  

To help business and leisure travellers understand the options that are now available to them, FCm’s airfare experts have compiled a selection of flights and fares that come with extra benefits. 

1. Free side-trips

If you’re flying long haul, you may be able to add a destination to your itinerary without digging deep for another airfare. Airlines occasionally offer side-trips within a particular country or region, in conjunction with long haul flights.  

2. Bypass the visa queues and paperwork 

Some airlines have now introduced On-board Immigration or fast track security clearance. Garuda Indonesia last year brought into place the ‘immigration on board’ on certain flights. It is an immigration document handling service that provides ‘Visa on Arrival’.  

Etihad now offers U.S pre-clearance when travelling via Abu Dhabi Airport. The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Terminal 3 in Abu Dhabi Airport is a purpose-built facility that allows U.S. bound passengers to undertake all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi prior to departure. 

Having cleared CBP, guests can check-through their baggage to their final destination in the United States. On reaching the U.S., guests will be treated as domestic arrivals, which allows for faster processing at their arrival airport. 

3. Take me for a ride

For travellers who book business or first class fares, the special bonuses sometimes start and end well before and after take-off. For example, Emirates and Etihad offer premium passengers chauffeur-driven transfers to and from the airport.==

4. Suite as – standalone beds and showers. 

If you are flying at the front of the plane, one of your biggest travel headaches may be nothing more taxing than converting your reclining massage chair into a fully-flat bed.  

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has solved this problem by separating the two. In addition to having individual cabins with sliding doors, the first class suites on SIA’s A380s have armchairs and ready-to-use standalone beds.  

Emirates has also broken new ground in the first class cabins of its A380s by offering shower facilities.  

5. Circle fares 

If your itinerary will take you to more than one location, you don’t necessarily need to buy a series of costly add-on fares. 

The oneworld alliance carriers offer a range of Circle fares that are ideal for travellers who plan to visit multiple destinations within a particular region. Examples include the Circle Pacific fare, which allows travellers to explore the countries and continents that border the Pacific Ocean. Participating airlines may include ANA, British Airways, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and their affiliates. 

6. Open Jaw fares 

In many instances, you can visit several countries or cities on your trip without needing to return to your initial destination to catch your flight home. With an Open Jaw airfare, you can fly in to one city and home from another. A hypothetical example could be a fare that allows you to fly from Singapore to Japan, Narita Airport and home from Osaka, International Airport after travelling within Japan by road or train.  

7. Companion fares

Airlines occasionally offer bonuses for two customers travelling together. Examples include companion fares, which effectively allow travel companions to save by booking and travelling together. 

For example, Etihad currently have a promotion running where by you pay using Visa to receive a discounted fare when 2 people are travelling together. 

8. Help with the kids  

Etihad have recently launched the ‘Flying Nanny’ to make the in-flight experience easier for parents. There to provide an extra pair of hands – whether it’s helping to get the children settled for bed, keeping them entertained or simply offering advice and support to parents. Every Flying Nanny will be equipped with a goody bag of games and activities to help keep the kids occupied, easing the pressure on you.  

Japan Airlines (JAL) have also introduced four seats at the rear of economy for women's grooming and feeding babies on its flights between Tokyo and Honolulu.