Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Self Planned Three Weeks Trip to Europe - Bookings - Air Tickets



Initial Programme (Not being used)


We had initially made a programme which looked like this:-

Day
From
To
At
Mode/ Action
1
India Location
Budapest

Fly
2


Budapest

3


Budapest

4


Budapest


Budapest
Vienna

Rail
5


Vienna

6


Vienna

7


Vienna

8


Vienna

9
Vienna
Salzburg
Via Hallstatt
Road
10


Salzburg

11


Salzburg

12
Salzburg
Prague
Via Cesky Krumlov
Road
13


Prague

14


Prague

15


Prague


Prague
Amsterdam

Air (Or Prague to India)
16


Amsterdam

17


Amsterdam

18
Amsterdam
Paris
Paris
TGV (high speed train)
19
Thursday

Paris

20
Friday

Paris

21

Paris
Mumbai
Air

(Note – the Yellow shaded portion was our requirement. The central Europe circuit as we perceived gets over at Prague and one can return to India from Prague)


We have kept it in abeyance at the moment but I reproduced it for two reasons. Reason no I, it is an easily doable programme for anyone interested to go through that circuit.
Secondly, it is a ready-made itinerary on which we have devoted considerable time. We are not using it at the moment but if some one gets motivated to look at it and follow it, let it be useful to them.

Final Programme

Our distilled itinerary which was finalised after due analysis and for which we had to start bookings looked something like this:-

Day
From
To
Mode
Activity
0
Mumbai
Paris
 Air

1

Paris


2

Paris


3
Paris
Ghent
Bus

4

Ghent


5
Ghent
Amsterdam
Bus

6

Amsterdam

Tulips & Windmills
7

Amsterdam


8
Amsterdam
Cologne
DB Train

9

Cologne


10
Cologne
Koblenz
Car
Rhine Valley Trip
11
drive
Frankfurt

Rhine Valley Trip
12
Frankfurt
Berlin
Loco more Train

13

Berlin


14

Berlin


15
Berlin
Dresden
Car / Bus

16

Dresden


17
Dresden
Prague
DB Train

18

Prague


19

Prague


20
 Prague
Budapest
Bus

21

Budapest


22

Budapest


23
Budapest
Mumbai
Air


Air Travel Booking

Making of itinerary took time but tougher then that was bookings. Myriad options and lot of confusion. For flights as well as local stay and intercity transfer, what to choose, based on what criteria, etc became all confusing. Economy, the number 1 Indian reason for any selection (Remember, Indians always ask when they look at the best of the Car, “Kitana (mileage)  Deti Hai”) finally emerged as the main selection criteria though comfort, convenience, etc also were other criteria.

To search for our flight, we took initial help from Kayak.com, a booking website for all travel needs. There are many more such portal giving out similar information but it was selected for giving comprehensive information of the flights. Once few options were shortlisted and studies, we realised that those options are the best options. Once options are shortlisted, we do the booking through Airlines website.

Initial plan was to use Turkish Airline. What tilted the balance in favour of this airline? That is very interesting. If one flies Turkish and has a layover of 6 or more hours (upto 24 hrs) at Istanbul, which is hub of Turkish Airlines operation, that person (s) can do a city tour of Istanbul, an ancient and beautiful city complimentary, including suitable meal (whatever falls in the tour time, BF or Lunch). This tour is conducted by Touristanbul (istanbulinhours.com). The temptation of visiting Istanbul as a by-product of the trip was irresistible.

We decided to let go of this temptation for the simple reason that we were not sure how much energy we would be left with after a long tour of 6 nations and 10 destinations to go for Istanbul tour. We felt that we would do a blatant injustice to Istanbul, a city which deserves due respect, if we take the tour half-heartedly. This plan has been kept in reserve for future trip (s). I mentioned trip(s) in the last sentence because I am a rank optimist.

Once we got over the temptation of flying via Turkey, realism took charge of us and we zeroed down on Air France option to fly into Paris and fly out of Budapest to Mumbai via Paris. Why Air France? Because that was the best option available among the shortlisted options.

What emerged from all this research is, options are many. Some of the options may be even more cost effective (like Aeroflot or other airline). The point that must be taken into consideration is, the selected airline will always take you to its hub (say, St Peters burg or Moscow in Russia if one flies Aeroflot) and to your destination.

A fine balance between economy and time invested on the travel needs to be made. Traditionally, all airline generally operate in classical Hub and Spoke style (unless some airline specifically has a direct flight, generally very costly). They get all in-bound flights from take-off city to their operations hub and then send out out-bound flights to the their destination.

After all the Permutations, we booked our most optimum flight for the journey.

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Thank you for sharing these informations with us, it will help many of us who are keen to travel at their own. Very well researched and penned.

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  3. Nice and interesting information and informative too.
    Can you please let me know the good attraction places we can visit: Mumbai To Paris Flight

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