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Air travel. Here is lots of good advice for air travel

Book your ticket through a travel agent wherever possible. Insist that the agent checks all available flights and prices. Return scheduled flights are usually cheaper if you are able to stay over a weekend.

Check whether there are senior citizen or child discounts.

Charter flights are much cheaper than scheduled flights, but you must be sure you can meet the conditions and limitations set by the charter company.

Do not book a ticket unless you are sure that you can travel at that time. Airline policies on postponement and refunds vary according to the type of ticket, but may not be generous. Do not book standby unless you are prepared to be disappointed.

If possible, pay for your ticket with a credit card. This will usually give you free travel insurance.

Read your ticket immediately. Check that the information is correct. Make a photocopy of your ticket or write down the number and keep it in a safe place. This will help you get reimbursed if your ticket is lost or stolen. If that happens, contact the airline or your travel agent immediately and put in a lost-ticket claim. Duplicate tickets are usually issued only subject to an indemnity if the original ticket is used.

Before you leave home or work for the airport, call the airline or the check-in desk at the airport to find out if the flight has been delayed.

Flight delays are more common on charter flights. If your scheduled flight is delayed, or the airline has overbooked and there is no seat for you, the airline should provide you with a refund on your ticket. For refunds for delays on package holidays, see your booking conditions. You can expect your airline to provide you with refreshments and accommodation in the case of substantial delays.

Pack your luggage personally, lock your case or bag (preferably with a combination lock) and see it is checked in. Never pack any of the prohibited items shown on your ticket. Never carry anything for anyone else, unless you know them personally and have checked out the item fully.

Be prepared for substantial security at airports. You maybe subjected to a short body search.

On international flights check out your duty tree allowances. Do not take more unless you are prepared to pay duty.

Remember that smoking is not permitted on planes on most domestic flights and is forbidden in some terminals.

You can fly at greatly reduced rates by delivering a package as an air courier. Some companies advertise for freelance couriers in newspapers or magazines. You can also check the Yellow Pages under Courier services although some listed companies don't use freelancers.

Even if you don't fly regularly, consider joining a frequent flyer program. Some credit cards award a points system for 'air miles' traveled, which entitles you to free travel after you have accumulated a certain number of points. However, membership of this system is not automatic and has to be requested by the cardholder.

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