Tips for Booking Flights To The U.S.


ISO Customer Care | Dec 27, 2023 Student Life

With the growth of international student admissions in the United States, we’ve looked past the darker days of COVID-19 and happily re-welcome students looking to resume their academic efforts. This guide will assist students as they undergo one of the more challenging parts of reaching the US – air travel.

Airlines find many ways to make passengers spend more money to improve their overall travel experience, but this guide is meant to get the most value going from point A to point B. ISO strives to make transitions for international students as smooth as possible, so here are some tips to help make the right choices for you and your wallet before coming to the states.

Popular Isn't Always Better

Tired of the everlasting lines you tend to find at most popular airports?

  1. Look around the city on a maps app – understanding distances between where you will land and your destination can be helpful in choosing where to go.
  2. Check for alternative airports – you may find that alternatives are smoother to travel to.
  3. Determine if the alternative is right for you – sometimes the shorter wait lines may not be worth the extra travel if it is too out of the way.

Booking Flights Smartly

Booking flights close to your trip date is a dangerous game – here’s how to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Check for international flights at least 2 to 6 months beforehand. Flight tickets left to linger until the date of flying will be much more expensive than their further out counterparts.
  • Utilize Google Flights in preparation for peak season – it’s fast, simple to understand, and uses many resources for their deals and pricing.
  • Compare prices in front of you – don’t pay for them yet but gather as many booking sources as possible. It’s a simple tactic, but largely taken for granted by travelers.
  • Code sharing. In cases of connecting flights, you’ll see some being offered by one company that agrees to allow another company to operate the aircraft with their own staff (ie – a Delta Airlines flight crew flying, providing pilots and attendants for a flight marketed by Korean Air). This will allow for much easier connections, less baggage transfers, and the usage of only one ticket.
  • With codeshare flights, airlines take the ease off some of their operations by outsourcing passengers from other airline groups, leading to more direct flights through the partner airline. These flights are generally marked by the words “Operated By” on your itinerary.

    If you notice that the company there is different than the marketing airline provider you booked with – Korean Air in the example above, you may need to reach out to the staff of the operating airline (Delta in this case) if you need assistance.

    Allowance for Baggage = Allowance for You

    As a traveler, you will need to manage the amount of baggage you bring without going overboard.

    • Redistribute weight from your check-in luggage – valuable and heavier items in your luggage might cause them to be overweight, so placing them in your carry-on can help in lightening your load.
    • Pay attention to carry-on policies – airlines may allow not only for a small luggage to bring on, but also any personal backpacks or laptop cases, which means more space for you! There are also no weight restrictions for carry-ons, so meet your dimension requirements and pack as much as you can.
    • Wear that thick jacket from your luggage – it’s cold outside and probably taking up a lot of space, so why not? Plus, if your airline mistakenly loses your luggage, you won’t need to immediately consider buying new clothes.

    Don't Go Broke to Budget Airlines

    Budget airlines may be lucrative for repeat flyers, but your wallet may not feel the same way.

    • Check the fine print on carry-ons – small baggage may not always be free to bring on to flights, which varies from airline to airline.
    • Be careful of carry-on dimension sizes, as they vary from airline to airline and are liable for being charged if they go over the maximum amount.
    • Hidden fees lurk in the dark – flight necessities like blankets and headphones that travelers take for granted may come at a cost for budget airlines, so bring your own if you can! Your thick luggage jacket probably makes for a better blanket anyway.

    We wish your time here is greeted with great success, and that your journey here is as fruitful as your studies. We also hope these tips were helpful in overcoming these airline hurdles, so your financial responsibilities don’t have to stay in seat 21B. Lastly, if you’re looking for affordable nationwide insurance coverage anywhere in the United States, enroll in an ISO plan today!

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    Founded in 1958, ISO prides itself on being the leader in providing international students with affordable insurance plans. Administered by former and current international students, we are able to assist our member with multilingual customer service in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and more. ISO serves over 3,200 schools/colleges and more than 150,000 insured students every year.

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