UAE National Day holidays: How to book flights and save money

More than a million people expected to fly out of country during four-day break



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Fri 26 Nov 2021, 10:44 AM

Last updated: Sat 27 Nov 2021, 2:03 PM

The holiday season is upon us which means airfares have reached its peak. In the coming week, it’s estimated that over a million people will be flying out of the country for the four-day break as the UAE marks its golden jubilee on December 2.

Dubai Airports (DXB) has announced an exceptionally busy 11 days as 1.8 million passengers are expected to travel through DXB between November 25 and December 5.

Etihad Airways has opened a dedicated early check-In facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport to make the travel experience as smooth as possible during the peak travel season in the coming weeks.

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Even though airfares have doubled to certain busy destinations, it does not mean that travellers can’t get good deals on fares.

What travel experts suggest

Travel industry executives suggest that residents should take a few steps when planning holidays during peak travel seasons which can help them save handsome money.

Mamoun Hmedan, chief commercial officer and managing director for Mena and India for Wego, said travel plans are susceptible to change due to Covid-19 scenarios. As a result, most airlines waive cancellation fees, offer refunds and flexible change fees.

“While some airlines provide refunds in the form of cash, others provide it as ‘travel credit’ or vouchers that can be used for future travel with a specific validity period. Consider your needs and choose wisely,” he said.

He said residents can save a decent amount if they’re flexible with their travel dates, either by booking well in advance or avoid travelling during the peak dates.

“Most people are understandably wary of making early bookings these days. Travel rules can be reversed, and countries can go into lockdown just like that. That said, we believe that as long as you keep yourself updated with the latest news, you can easily make timely, educated adjustments.”

According to Wego managing director, certain destinations tend to be much more expensive during festive seasons. Thus, think out of the box and opt for a resort holiday. Yet another option is to choose a staycation and explore multiple nearby cities in the home country.

Hmedan says taking a few extra minutes to compare flight prices can, sometimes, also save a good amount of money.

Mir Wasim Raja, manager, MICE and holidays, Galadari International Travel Services, also advised residents to pre-book their flights much before their departure date and also be flexible by booking flights a few days before the start of the holidays. He also recommended flying to smaller airports of the country, if possible, and choosing a budget carrier over a full-fledged airline.

It’s also advisable to book a hotel away from the city centre because downtown hotels are generally quite costly.

“If travellers do good research, they can save a decent amount during holidays. But they’ve to plan well in advance. If you have plenty of time and like flying, you may opt for transits which will save the money that can be used for exploring more places,” he said.

“Also, tickets to smaller airports are more economical and people should also look into this option. But they must do good research before choosing this option.”

Raheesh Babu, chief operations officer at Musafir.com, suggested that residents should stay flexible and search for flights from other emirates in the UAE as well.

He, too, recommended that travellers should plan their holidays well in advance. “If you’re planning to travel in December, book tickets around September to take advantage of the low fares. Plan trips during midweeks as fares are lower on weekdays as compared to the weekends,” added Babu.

Useful travel tips:

  • Check airline's cancellation and refund policy
  • Book tickets well in advance
  • Have flexible travel dates
  • Book hotel away from city centre
  • Avoid travelling during peak dates
  • Resort holidays can be better choice than opting for downtown hotels in peak season
  • Opt for staycations during peak travel season
  • Compare flight prices
  • Fly to smaller airports
  • Always purchase travel insurance
  • Research about your travel
  • Check 1-2 transits on the way to your holiday destination
  • Budget carriers offer cheaper airfares

Source: Wego.com, Galadari International Travel Services, Musafir.com, KT Research


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