The commercial airlines’ lowest regular offer is the APEX (Advance Purchase Excursion) fare, which provides confirmed reservations and allows “open-jaw” tickets. Generally, reservations must be made seven to 21 days ahead of departure, with seven- to 14-day minimum-stay and up to 90-day maximum-stay restrictions. These fares carry hefty cancellation and change penalties (fees rise in summer). Book peak-season APEX fares early; by May you will have a hard time getting your desired departure date.
Although APEX fares are probably not the cheapest possible fares, they will give you a sense of the average commercial price, from which to measure other bargains. Specials advertised in newspapers may be cheaper but have more restrictions and fewer available seats. Most flights are direct to Istanbul, but including a connection to Ankara, Izmir, or Antalya at no additional charge. Other carriers with significant service to Turkey include: Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, KLM, United Airlines, Lufthansa, and British Airways.
OTHER CHEAP ALTERNATIVES
CHARTER FLIGHTS. Tour operators contract charter flights with airlines in order to increase traffic to Turkey during peak season. Charter flights fly less frequently than major airlines, make refunds particularly difficult, and are almost always fully.
FLIGHT PLANNING ON THE INTERNET. The Internet is without a doubt one of the best places to look for travel bargains—it’s fast and convenient, and you can spend as long as you like exploring options without driving your travel agent insane.Many airline sites offer special last-minute deals on the Web. You can check out the websites of each airline that flies to Turkey – among them Turkish Airlines and many European and North American carriers STA and E! Student Universe provide quotes on student tickets, while Expedia and Traveloclty offer full travel services. Priceline allows you to specify a price, and obligates you to buy any ticket that meets or beats it; be prepared for antisocial hours and odd routes. Skyauction allows you to bid on both last-minute and advance-purchase tickets.Just one last note-to protect yourself, make sure that the site you use has a secure server before handing over any credit card details. Happy hunting booked. Schedules and itineraries may change or be cancelled at the last moment (as late as 48hr. before the trip, without a full refund), and check-in, boarding, and baggage claim are often much slower. However, they can also be cheaper. Discount clubs and fare brokers offer members savings on last-minute charter and tour deals. Study contracts closely; you don’t want to end up with an un overnight layover.
TICKET CONSOLIDATORS. Ticket consolidators, or “bucket shops,” buy unsold tickets in bulk from commercial airlines and sell them at discounted rates. The best place to look is in the Sunday travel section of any major newspaper (such as the New York Times), where many bucket shops place tiny ads. Call quickly, as availability is typically extremely limited. Not all bucket shops are reliable, so insist on a receipt that gives full details of restrictions, refunds, and tickets, and pay by credit card (in spite of the 2-5% fee) so you can stop payment if you never receive your tickets.