It is possible to get domestic flights in Nigeria at rates far below those normally quoted by the airlines. For instance, air fares can be as high as N25,000 for Lagos-Abuja, N21,000 for Abuja-Kano, N19,000 for Lagos-Kano, N22,000 for Lagos-Port Harcourt, and N19,000 for Lagos-Enugu.
However, for someone person who knows how to go about it, he or she can get up to 50% off in some cases. You can have Lagos-Abuja for N10,000, Abuja-Kano for N15,500, Lagos-Kano for N14,000, Lagos-Port Harcourt for N16,000 and Lagos-Enugu for N16,000.
It is the same picture for virtually all Nigeria domestic commercial flight destinations. If you care to find out, you may discover that the person seated next to you on the same flight paid a fare that is much more or much less than you paid.
The question is, how do you get the cheap flights?
1. Plan your trips
Planning your trips involve anticipating the need for business, social and leisure travels, and scheduling them well in advance.
Leisure and social travels may understandably fall within periods of heavy travels but scheduling them well in advance will help in securing a low fare.
For business travels, as much as possible, timing should avoid the busy travel hours of the day and days of the week. Last-minute flight bookings leave no room for a low fare.
2. Window shop for flights
The opportunity to window shop for flights in Nigeria is getting better with new airlines joining the domestic airline business. Prior to May 2014, the active participants were only Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Overland Airways, First Nation and Med View Airlines. However, Azman Air added its flight operations in May and Discovery Air has also joined.
Peace Airlines has already obtained an Air Operators Certificate from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, meaning it can hit the skies anytime from now, while Westlink airlines and Hak Airlines are at advanced stages in the process of obtaining their Air Operators Certificates.
As more seats become available for various destinations by different airlines, fares are being used as a weapon of competition to attract passengers. Air fares for same destination may differ by time of the day, day of the week or date in the year, from the same airline. Fares for the same destination may also differ by airline.
It is interesting to know that information in respect of the variations in fares is always available on the websites of the various airlines operating in the country. This makes it possible for prospective passengers to search around the websites of different airlines to compare flight options and choose the ones they find convenient, considering price and timing.
Based on results from searches for flights offered by different airlines for a proposed destination, one can adjust one’s schedule to fit a flight that is considered highly advantageous.
Apart from the various rates quoted on the airlines’ booking platforms, enquiries from airlines can reveal other fare arrangements that are rock-bottom but with certain terms and conditions that one may want to take or leave.
By following the above guide, a discerning prospective air traveler in Nigeria will surely get an opportunity to secure a cheap flight from the domestic commercial airline operators.