Resources - Airfare Tips

Airfares and other Flight Related Tips

How to get the best airfare quote


When asking for a quote, please let us know:

1) the names of the passengers to book
2) the Destination
3) the Dates and Times (if applicable) that you have to be at the destination, when you will be ready to leave or when you need to be back in Sri Lanka.
4) the maximum validity and flexibility (e.g. date change or possible refund) of the e-ticket required. Note: If we do not have this information in advance, a request for change cannot be accommodated. In the case of a multi-destination itinerary, please specify each travel date. Once a restricted non-refundable ticket is issued, it is usually not possible for these restrictions to be changed.
5) your telephone number, email address and passport photo page copy. If the passport photo page scan is not available at least the details given in it in full.

The airfare is a function of the load factor on the dates and flights that you have chosen, the fuel cost, the travel validity and flexibility of the ticket required, peak/offpeak/shoulder time of the year (seasonality), the competition on the route, the routing (number of stops and transits on the itinerary),  the origin, the destination and the profile (age and other factors) of the target customer. Yield Management uses a concept of fare buckets, to control the yield on a given flight or combination of flights.
So an itinerary that makes the airline identify you as a passenger on corporate account flying economy directly to a high-demand financial hub destination on a low competition route, with a tight time frame, in peak season inbound/outbound, would increase costs substantially. It also means that a one-way ticket can be more than a return ticket, and also that a ticket from a "developed market to a developing market" can be (but is not always) almost double that of the "developing market to a developed market" ticket.

Try and get your entire itinerary into one ticket

Please do not buy only a part of your required flight itinerary before finalising the cost of your total journey. "How much can just a one-way cost?" If not originating in Sri Lanka, the amount can be significant. Always use your flights in the sequence that they appear on your ticket. Do not try to use the middle sectors of your itinerary first, or try to omit using a segment in the middle of your itinerary, as all your onward bookings will be cancelled even if you have a ticket (because it amounts to Tariff Abuse). Once you have bought a non-refundable fare, there is very little we can do to help you to minimise costs.
Always keep a minimum of four (4) hours connecting time in between flights if you are flying on two separate tickets without overnight stops. If one of your flights is delayed and the ticket is restricted, neither of the airlines will take responsibility.
Single one-way fares are often very expensive indeed, as the market pricing depends on the profile of the target buyer as explained above. Examples of very high price one-way tickets include (among others) - from London to Budapest, Mumbai to Delhi, Dubai to Amman, Colombo to Singapore, Chicago to Boston, Sao Paolo to Rio de Janeiro, Chengdu to Hong Kong, Singapore to Colombo and Hong Kong to Singapore.

Connecting Flights

When combining two or more airlines to get to a destination not directly served by any online carrier, it is necessary to consider whether an offline carrier has an agreement with an online carrier to the destination of your choice, through a SPA (see Jargon Buster). For example, an airticket from Colombo to London may cost LKR 90,000 on an airline, and an airticket from Heathrow to Los Angeles may cost LKR 140,000 on an American carrier, but through agreements and market fares, it may be possible to obtain a single return ticket on a carrier to Los Angeles for LKR 120,000 using the same airline combination. Fares are for illustration only. If you have two tickets - and sometimes, this is unavoidable - and there is  a flight delay or schedule change, neither airline will take responsibility for the misconnection.
Have a look at the Planning Your Trip page for important tips on Ticket Validity etc. If you are visiting Europe or the Americas, and plan to explore by train or low cost airline, it would be worth your while considering an Open Jaw ticket. In business class and for reverse direction fares, sometimes two one-way tickets are cheaper. We will give you these options as long as it does not amount to Tariff Abuse.

What's in a name ?

When making a booking, just any "given" (as opposed to "first") name that appears in the passport  - preferably the one that is used at home, and any one "last name" ("surname") are enough. There is a limit to the characters that can be held in your booking (this varies), so you might be denied boarding if the name booked is too long. This applies to multiple surnames too. Initials are not accepted to some countries including Australia and USA, and any one full, given name is required. Booking multiple names also makes recognition by frequent flyer programmes for auto-accrual of miles, unlikely as well. We will not make a booking until you instruct us to do so. See: Company Policy

Duplicate Bookings

When clients shop around for fares, some travel agents make a speculative booking. This ties up the airline's inventory (a wasteful exercise), so the last agent you call will see on their system that the flight is full, and will probably quote you a ridiculously high fare. Then all of the agents you called will be alerted of their duplicate bookings, and all of them will have their bookings cancelled within about 24 hours automatically by a "reservation bot". It is for this reason that we do not make bookings until you specifically request us to do so. When you do make your reservation that you want to go with, ensure that all the other agents that you called cancel their bookings, otherwise it may result in you losing your seat(s), just before you ticket it.


Budget Airlines

Budget Airlines, also known as Low Cost Carriers (LCC), are point to point airlines, which take you directly where you want to go. Since they are point-to-point you should avoid making fast connections, as you may not have time to re-check your bags at the via point. If you miss your flight through no fault of the airline, you will have to buy another ticket (the airline will not take responsibility for the misconnection). You should also check on additional Fees and Charges.

Business class service

1) Limo transfer booking, if applicable, subject to airline distance limitations.
2) Specific available seat booking on the flights;
3) Email or SMS flight alert 3 hours before the flight if there is a flight delay.
4) eBoarding Pass where available 24 hours before the flight all the way to the destination, with Lounge Access confirmation.
5) Frequent flyer number automatically entered into the system and stored for automatic inclusion for future travel.
6) Any other destination advice as required
7) free online hotel bookings if required
8) one free ferry or train booking if required


Special Requirements and Preferences

Before you fly, if you have any seat, meal preferences or wheelchair requirements please do tell us in advance. In many cases these can be accommodated free of charge,  and you will be served first before the usual menu meal service is brought round.

Reverse Direction and itineraries not including Sri Lanka

Many people assume that the cost for flying London-Colombo-London for example, is the same as flying Colombo-London-Colombo. This is called Reverse Direction, and fares are usually very different. Only a few airlines sell reverse direction fares here in Colombo, and options are limited. The choice is even more limited where itineraries do not include Colombo at all (for sale here in Sri Lanka), but they do exist.

Frequent Flyer Program(me)s

We recommend that you join the Frequent Flyer programmes of the airlines that you use most often. If you fly frequently, advantages such as extra baggage allowances, the use of airport lounges irrespective of the class of travel, business class priority at the baggage belt, priority checkin, easier seat reservations and eventually, upgrades and fare-free flights. Frequent Flyer programmes are for frequent flyers, so the benefits are not attractive for infrequent travel. But you should. It's free, and it's very easy and quick to join on the web. When you enrol, please make sure that you use one first name (what you are called) and surname only. We will make your reservations using this name and your frequent flyer number, so that airline systems will auto-accrue your miles.

Note: Please ensure that you give us the number before you travel.

Frequent Flyer programmes are not very developed for "other benefits" in Sri Lanka. The multi-Freddie-winning Skywards programme, now in partnership with Qantas, by Emirates is one of the best one to join. Skywards, with probably the best web interface of all, will enable you to earn benefits on both westbound and eastbound flights of Emirates and their partners. SriLankan FlysmiLes (since 01 April 2008), is also worth joining since they have the most flights out of Colombo. It is also worth joining the programme of any one OneWorld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance carrier. SriLankan joined OneWorld on 1 May 2014, which makes OneWorld an obvious choice, with seamless connections to almost anywhere in the world. A frequent flyer moves ahead in tiers only of the carrier flown - but earns "spending miles" on all partner carriers.

Note: Join online giving just one surname and one given name (your most used given name as in the passport), so that no legacy reservation system throws up an error.

E-tickets: what you need to know

Paperless- or E- tickets, mandatory since 1 June 2008, mean that you cannot lose your ticket, wet it or otherwise mutilate it and it will be stored in our reservation system until the end of your journey. You can recall details for a travel insurance claim, among other benefits. You can also date change your itinerary if the airline allows us to do so, without having to visit the airline office without airline office charges for doing so. This is sometimes free of charge. Your eticket is a Contract of Carriage. This means that you have an agreement with the airline to take the passenger to his/her destination and back, on the given specific flights. Charges for changes can be substantial. And, since the name is specific, the ticket is not a commodity that can be sold.

Tentative Reservations, Bookings and Ticket Issuance

Book/Reserve/Tentatively/Make a booking means to enter the flight itinerary into the system with the name (passport details if available). There is no obligation on either side at this stage (customer, airline, travel agent). Cancellation can be made at any time by either party. Fare changes based on market changes, Fare changes based on booking class structures, Tax changes and Ticketing deadlines are applicable for these bookings; the price is not protected.

Issuing / Ticketing / To Issue / to Ticket means to make the payment and issue the ticket. Once this is done, name changes are not possible. The price is protected, and cannot change. The airline has a responsibility to carry the passenger to the destination (and back for return tickets). If there is a cancellation of flights after ticketing, the airline has a responsibility to either make a full refund or give alternate travel arrangements on other airlines (at no extra cost). Date change fees and refund fees may be applicable.

Duplicate and Speculative Bookings

Please don't make duplicate or Speculative bookings with multiple agents, all your bookings will be detected by reservations bots and cancelled by the airline. We only make bookings that you have instructed us to make, and will immediately cancel it if you instruct us to do so. If you are reasonably certain of your intention of flying, by all means make a tentative booking.

The following links may be useful to you.
Airport codes
Airline codes
Airline Alliances - which is best ?
Airline Quality - SkyTrax
Company Policy
Conditions of Carriage
Corporate Travel
World Airline Awards
World Airport Awards

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Tourama (Pvt) Ltd
3/1, 304 Union Place,
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.
Tel: (+94 11) 2326181