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Monday, 03 December 2012 00:00
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Book your flights now to avoid Xmas, New Year rush

With increased operational capacities coupled with the coming of more airlines into  schedule domestic operations, which promises of offering of  more air seats for sales during the Xmas and New Year’s holiday travels in Nigeria, there is no guarantee that there would not be a rush and consequently increased air fares during the  period, BIODUN AKOMOLAFE advises intending air travellers that this is the right time to do their air ticket bookings.

Historically, festive periods in Nigeria are noted for upsurge in the number of travellers across the country. While many, especially immigrant workers in the cities travel to their home cities, town and villages to celebrate with the family members they had left behind for quite a long time, others travel during the period to celebrate festivals in other locations just for a change of the environment. But the such travel could be expensive and burdensome if not planned a head.

For many reasons which include the growing middle class, bad conditions of the roads, high level of insecurity on the roads and underdevelopment of other modes of transport – rail and water, many travellers take to air travel which is regarded as fastest, safest and most economical. 

But to get cheaper and seamless air travel during festive period live the forth coming Xmas and New Year’s holidays in Nigeria an intending traveller may need to consider this write up.

Even at the time when there were ten airlines operating schedule domestic airlines in the country offering about 5000 seats for sales every day, the airlines always have the problem of  meeting  the demand for air travels during festive periods.

There were cases of when many passengers get stranded at airports on the eve of such festivals because they were unable to secure seats on flights to their destinations.
This is because many of such passengers did not plan a head for the trip.

They want to make more profit from the last minute sales transactions or delayed in their offices only to realise that the seats are fully booked by the time they get to the airports and in some cases may have to pay through their noses for the available seats.

It has also been noted that each festive period has a pattern of movement which affect the operations of the airlines during the period.

Empirically, traffic, during the Muslim festivals, moves toward the northern part than to any other part of country, while the southern part of the country witnesses more inflow of traffic during Christian festivals.

Considering the religious distribution of the populations of the country which is a key factor in determining who travels to where during a religious festival, shows that the South East, South South and Middle Belt parts of the country are highly populated by Christian faithfuls who  travel during Christian festivals.

So, a passengers coming from the northern part of the country to any part of the southern part of the country for the Xmas and New Year festivals should know that it is advisable to book flight now and not a week to the festivals.

Reasoning in line of the aforementioned factors, an air travel agency operator, Olumide Ohunayo advises Nigerian air travellers to always plan their trips ahead to get cheaper flights.

Olumide noted that for a traveller going to spend his holidays in the any of the Eastern part of the country should have by now know which airport is nearest to his  destination and which airline operates into the airport. Doing so would, according to Ohunayo help the passengers to plan a head a enjoy seamless booking and trip.

A passenger to the East during the Xmas and New Year festivals should know which of these airports, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu, Calabar, Uyo, Asaba, Warri or Benin is nearest to his or her destination. They should know the airlines that operate into the airport and at what time. Having these at hand they can book their flights and go about their normal businesses until the very day for the trip.

Another aviator who does not what identity disclosed in print simply said “don’t delay It's such a hassle searching for cheap flights, right? It's fine to keep putting it off until the last minute--assuming you don't mind paying through the nose when you do finally get around to it.

Sure, sometimes people find a good deal at the last minute, but that's the exception rather than the rule. In most cases, the longer you wait, the more you pay. Start searching a few months before you fly. The sweet spot for finding a good fare is about six weeks ahead of departure.”

The increasing frequency of travel makes it important to predict cheap airline fares so that they can be purchased at their lowest possible prices, providing savings and solving some of the problems of getting to their destinations.

Small travel agencies in a bid to make more people travel by air allow flexible/affordable payment option for passengers who booked a head.

The payment option lets you put down a down payment and decide how you wish to spread out paying the balance.

So to avoid the rush and high cost of  air travel associated with festive periods  Nigeria especially as the Xmas and New Year’s holidays  are around the corner, intending air travelers are advised to book their flight before it is too late to do so.