If you have only ever booked a flight via a travel agent or within a package holiday - you probably have no idea what the difference is between scheduled flights and charter flights. Believe us! - we know exactly how you feel - we didn't know either!
Basically schedule flights run every day / weekly, etc. at the same time and charter flights are the holiday flights booked by holiday companies chartering a plane from an airline and can be at any time. Another thing to appreciate when booking your flight is that scheduled flights get more expensive as they near their departure date, whereas charter flights usually get cheaper (the holiday company is keen to fill the aircraft and will therefore offer good discounts to achieve their aim).
Having cleared up this confusion, you have to decide whether you want to travel schedule or charter. If you decide on schedule, the earlier you book, the cheaper your flight will be. However with the charter option, waiting for the price to come down, you run the risk of not being able to get on to the flight of your choice. Therefore you have to find a flight that is suitable and then decide just how long to wait before making your booking, so that you get a good price, but also that you secure your seat.
Through experience we have found that checking on teletext, although this can be a helpful guide to what is available, flights displayed on teletext pages are not always available when you get around to ringing the company. A good place to start is either the World Wide Web or by telephoning some of the travel agents that deal with flights. Here are a few links to web sites and some telephone numbers that may be helpful.
If you decide that you would rather speak to someone who can offer you the information that you require, don't hesitate to call one of the numbers listed below. Most of the operators are keen to search for a suitable flight for you and will then hold the information in your name so that when you ring again they can check if there is still availability and whether there has been a further reduction of the price.
Flight Companies and their Telephone Numbers
Cheapest Flights - 0800 195 3032
Flight Finders - 01733 324539 (Sue)
Flight Line - 0800 541 541
Holiday Insurance is a must - you can either book insurance when you book your flight or you can take out an annual holiday insurance.
If your holiday is a 'one-off' trip, you are probably best advised to book your insurance with your flight, but annual cover is the best option if you plan to take further holidays within the year. Remember if you have an annual insurance you are covered for holidays within the UK too. Also ensure that you take the 'Annual Multi-Trip - Worldwide' to be certain that you are covered for the USA.
Details of Holiday Insurance can be obtained from most of the web pages of the flight companies listed above or via telephoning their offices.