We spend loads of time researching our options on how to emigrate but don't even think twice about looking at travel security and/or costs.
Buying a cheap flight ticket with a budget airline will quite often cost more in the long run if you start adding everything up. They fly to/from remote airports. You have to get to/from those airports. The allow less luggage and sting you on the excess. You buy food in flight. Somtimes you might have to stay in a hotel before your flight as it is leaving so early you can't get there by train/bus to catch the flight. It's worth looking at the over all costs, luggage allowances and calculating the cost for excess luggage to see which works best for you.
Booking the flight
http://www.expedia.co.uk is a good start.
http://www.travelsupermarket.com is heavily advertised on TV however - I find most deals on there are more expensive than via expedia.
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego Itasoftware is not a flight booking site. Itasoftware is probably the best search engine to find cheapest option with the regular carriers such as Air Canada, BMI, BA, United and so on. You can search on specific date or in a span of 30 days (you set start date), one way flights and multi segments. When you've picked the flight you want, print out the information and take that to your local travel agent. They can then book the flight for you using the flight codes.
Finding the best seat
http://www.seatguru.com lists just about every airline there is with a seat map and information on which seat is the best and which you should stay away from. Note that Seatguru do not list budget airlines. At time of writing this wiki the all new shiny with bells and whistles Boeing 777 on Air Canada is not listed. However - if that is what you want it looks like it flies every day at 1pm out of Heathrow to Toronto and it's getting great reviews.
Get more from your flight
You will probably do more than one trip to Canada before you do your official landing. It could be worth looking at joining a frequent flyer club for a particualr airline. As you are going to be based in Canada using Air Canada's Aeroplan is the most logical option. With each flight you take you gain frequent flyer miles. If you bank with CIBC and manage to get an aerogold credit card you will get miles on the dollars you spend every day using that card. You could even get 15.000 miles just for applying and successfully becoming approved an aerogold visa card with CIBC. Those 15.000 miles can be used towards flights or shopping for your new home. But most importantly - what ever club you join, make sure you put all your travel towards that alliance and soon you could be looking at free (well, almost) trips or even a free upgrade to business class when you finally go for your landing. That business lass upgrade will also give you up to twice as much luggage allowance.
The best place to find out about which frequent flyer program suits you best is at www.flyertalk.com WARNING!! Flyertalk is probably the most addictive site there is. Once you've figured out how to play the numbers game you will also be addicted to flying and will find yourself racing around the globe on milage runs or segment runs just to reach that next benefit level with lounge access, extra luggage alloance, priority boarding etc.
After the bomb alert august 2006 it has been all over the news that security got stricter and it is staying strict. It has lapsed a little so now you can travel with carry on (which you couldn't directly after) but there is a size restriction and your limited to one piece.
However - airlines will in many cases have a lower size restriction than the regulated max size allowance on carry on. Plus they will have a weight restriction as well. Some airlines as low as 6 kilos. There is NO exception as in handbags, laptop bags, camera bags. One carry on - that's it. Having said that - musical instruments such as ONE guitar is allowed as hand luggage in addition to the regulated one bag.
Checked in luggage
Checked in luggage is generally 23 kilos per bag on long haul and no more than 2 bags per person in economy. That will give you a total of 46 kilos. NO AIRLINE will let you check in a bag that weighs more than 32kilos. That is due to health and safety of the baggage handlers as they shitft bags manually. Bags weighing more than 32 kilos must go as cargo.
Excess fees varies with each airline. Some will charge a flat rate per x-kilos regardless if you are 1, 5 or 10 over limit. Some will charge x£ per kilo. Always check with the airline website and NOT with a third party site as the airline will/should have the correct information on what THEY allow.
(what not to wear and what not to pack)
Wearing metal belt buckles etc will trip metal detectors and will delay the security screening. If you are in a hurry don't tempt fate. You could miss your flight and it will be no-ones fault but your own as you haven't done your research.
Laptops have to be taken out of the bags and laid in a separate tray for x-ray. Nothing else is allowed in that tray with that laptop.
Mobile phones, PDAs etc, will trigger metal detectors and regardless of that fact has to go in tray with anything else you carry. As do your jacket, coat, often shoes, hat, cap, scarf.
Jewelry (gold, silver) will not set off detectors and screeners are inconsistent when it comes to wrist watches.
The luqid ban prevents you from bringing aboard a bottle that is larger than the stipulated 100ml regardless if it is empty or not. All liquids have to be in a clear re-sealable plastic bag no bigger than a small sandwich bag you buy at tesco. You are only allowed ONE such bag with liquids. All other liquids has to go in the checked bag.
Lighters are no longer permitted in carry on NOR in the checked bag. That collectable Ronson, Dunhill or Zippo could be fedexed to your destination. A zippo can have it's insides removed (fuel wad, flint, wick) and once at destination you can buy new insides to make it usable again. New and unused lighters with no gas (and never have had gas inside) can in some cases be allowed.
If you have long hair you may be asked to run your fingers through your hair just to prove you are not hiding anything. (I've been asked to undo the ponytail and shake through the hair).
Be polite, smile and thank the security for making sure you have a safe flight and they will be nice to you as well and you will go through rather smoothly. Co-operate and they won't go to town with you.
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