Whenever we travel by flights using paid revenue tickets we always look for the best options available including the airlines, ticket cost and flight routing. I would suggest adding one more dimension to this which is "alternate airports".
Checking alternate airports is useful as there are market forces which would create competition at a given airport and thus bringing down the ticket costs at certain time while another airport would be much more expensive. This applies to alternate airports from your "Source" as well as your "Destination" airport (Do note that we are not talking about flying the budget airline). Also the same airlines which might fly non-stop from your close in airport might be relatively cheaper when they become one-stop from airport which is not in your vicinity or one-stop away from your actual destination.
Here are few tips you can do to check if you have selected best option:
Let's look at an example here:
You are looking to fly from SFO to ZRH one way on June, 9th 2018 with maximum one stop and prefer Swiss Airlines:
Let's use Google Flights for this search and make sure we use the close in airports at the source in the search, which in this case is OAK and SJC. Below are the one-stop options available as per google flights:
As you can see from above the cheapest option is Icelandair followed by Turkish Airlines and both going from our preferred airport of SFO to ZRH. You can also see that there are two expensive non-stop options on United Airlines and Swiss Airlines.
Let's use some of the tips and make some changes to our search for destination airport in 3rd country and see what happens. Here I am changing the airline to "Swiss" only and changing my destination to HKG (Hong Kong) which provides an on arrival visa to most nationals and thus would avoid any boarding issue from SFO.
As you can see from above, you are looking at Swiss Airlines with a reasonable cost of $844 serving non-stop between your intended source (SFO) and destination (ZRH). And by the way do check out for any smart tips suggested by Google Flight tool, such as above where it suggests you can get the flight for just $452 if you want to fly on June, 10th, 2018.
So in short you are just paying ~$235 more than the cheapest flight on Icelandair and are able to travel on your preferred Swiss Airlines for your preferred date and time. So, next time you are out to book flights do not discard options which might look far fetched.
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