You got visa stamped and ready to go US. For most of you this would be your first time flying or first trip from India to US.
This post will help you understand the flight booking process and provide you with some air travel tips to USA. Cheap flight ticket from India to USA might not be the best always.
Air Travel Tips to USA
- Find a travel companion to the same university from your departing city.
- Book flights together (India to USA), if not get same connecting flight from second flight (if you have connections).
- Search for best airfare deal not the cheapest airfare (check with multiple travel agents)
- After you find the lowest priced ticket through travel agent, then shop online (or vice versa).
- Negotiate to get the lowest air fare to US
- One way fare is about 70% to 80% value of round trip fare.
- Register for frequent flyer account with the airline which you plan to book ticket.
- Provide the frequent flyer number to travel agent while issuing the ticket.
- Don’t forget about registering for frequent flyer account. After accumulating 25,000 miles, you can get 1 round trip ticket within US.
- Find baggage allowance before paying for the flight.
- You may have to pay $50 for the second suitcase (How to Pack Suitcase)
- Some airlines will allow students to carry 2 checked bags for free (23kgs or 50 lbs each) [List of things to Carry to US]
- Avoid certain airlines (know for poor customer service and frequently delayed flights and lost bags)
- Lowest fare doesn’t always provide best flight connections and options.
- First time travelers ask for Window seat. If you are tall, ask for aisle seat.
- Most likely you will have to get connecting flight within US before you reach your final destination.
- Universities located in Major cities will have direct flight from India (Mumbai to New Jork) or direct entry from second connecting flight.
- Port of entry in US will be the first city where you land (not your final destination) [Port of Entry in US - Procedures]
- You have to clear Immigration and Custom procedures before boarding the next flight within US
- Allow atleast 3 hours between connecting flight, that will give enough time to clear customs and immigration procedures.
- You will have to take your suitcase and clear customs and check the bags-in for local domestic connection.
- If you miss the connection, don’t panic. Inform the person who will be waiting to pick you from the airport.
- Airline will get you on the next flight to your destination.
- Have some US Dollars in hand and atleast $1 bill to make phone calls. If not ask someone with cell phone if you can make a phone call.
- Find a way ( phone or email) to inform the party who will be waiting to pick you from the airport, if there is a flight delay.
Flight Ticket Price
If you have already booked your flight tickets, post the route, airline and fare cost as a comment. It should give an idea to others and you may find a travel partner too.
I have lot more travel tips, so stay tuned to the latest blog posts. Do leave a comment if you find this post useful and share it with your friends (facebook, orkut, by email..).