Finding a good fare to India -- 2005
Nobody likes paying more than they have to for air tickets, so maybe we can pass on our experience finding a fare for this season as a kind of bench-mark for those still seeking. The purpose of this thread is to keep the information in one place so it is easy to access and spare the board a lot of redundant threads. It will be a 'sticky' and new threads that belong here will be moved.
In general, you will find the best deals with travel agents who specialize in budget tickets -- some times called 'consolidators' or 'bucket shops' -- typically, these will be small, low overhead outfits catering primarily to an ethnic clientelle (which typically travel fairly regularly to visit family 'back home'). You will often find adverts for these shops in the weekend travel section of major newspapers or a local Indo paper if your city has one. Mostly anyone of Indian extraction in your town will likely know of shops offering good deals as family visits 'home' are a regular thing and this is common knowledge in the community. Otherwise, if your town has a 'Chinatown' or Indian commercial area, this is another place to start.
Airlines sometimes have restrictions or limitations to discounted tickets, but this is not always the case. For instance, some airline's tickets are good for 12 months and return dates can be freely changed, while some are only for shorter duration and have a fee for change of return date. My experience with Asian airlines flying trans-pacific routes (Korean, Singapore) do allow change of return date up to the 12 months maximum. This appears to be less common for flights from Europe. If an open 12 month ticket is available, there is little reason to consider 1-way tickets which are invariably more expensive than a discount return fare.
Open-jaw tickets: Some airlines have more than one destination to India. When this is the case, it is usually possible to fly into one city (say, Chennai) and fly out from another (perhaps Delhi). Sparing yourself a long 'backtrack' can be a real advantage, especially when time is limited, and as the flight price is generally just the average of the two round-trip fares so it shouldn't cost extra.
For those living on the west coast of N. America, getting a cheap ticket to Bangkok and buying an onward ticket from a Bangkok discounter is often an economical alternative. The current Calcutta round-trip fare is around $250 US, Bombay or Delhi a bit more at $350-380 typically -- and you can 'open-jaw' tickets (i.e. Bkk-Bom returning Del-Bkk) for the average of the two fares. Olavi.com is one such Bangkok agent, but there are plenty of others to be found in the tourist area of Bangkok.
-Some may have good luck finding a good fare on-line, although this is usually not the case from Canada. If you have had a satisfactory experience using a web-site, let us know about it.
-If someone runs across a listing of charters to Goa for the season, please give us the link, when I checked last week it didn't look as if '05-06 schedules were posted
-If you have a question about fares from particular places, or general questions about airline quality or aviation news that might be of interest, you can post it here also.
-So that the thread does not become too unwieldy, please title your post so that information can be more easily retrieved.
So what have you found? be sure to tell us where you are flying from and any restrictions, if any, on your ticket. Let us know the name and contact details of any discount travel agent that you have used and found satisfactory. Airline prices change, as do currency rates, so please stick to recent quotes and not ones from years past.
from Vancouver: Discount fares and travel agents
There is a wide choice of airlines flying to India from Vancouver. Basically, you have a free choice of flying via the Pacific, or via Europe. The fares are often comparable, and it may come down to the preference of speed or a desirable stop-over. The travel agencies listed below are ones that I have found to be competitive on flights to Asia -- they are the ones I check each year to buy my own ticket and I have included input from GoanCanuck and thank him for his assistance in putting this post together.
It is worth my while to deal in Vancouver even though i live on the Island; I deal by phone with no problem. Of course there are hundreds of travel agents in Vancouver and obviously I don't check them all, so you may well find someone offering something better -- either as a limited-time special, or on their regular fares, or just another travel agency closer or more convenient to where you live. Please post it to this thread with the details!
These prices are for comparison purposes -- prices change every month, and special limited-time deals happen as airlines find that they have a lot of seats to fill. I got these quotes May 6.
--I am only including info on flights from YVR that do not require traveling through the USA
--The fares are for Oct-Nov departures. Traveling in Dec/Jan will probably be costlier. 'Taxes' , when given, are estimates only -- these include fuel surcharges and departure taxes so are difficult to calculate precisely until you actually order a ticket and they plug the data into the computer. And I forgot to ask a couple of times because I didn't want to be too much of a nuisance. Fuel surcharges are changing monthly and headed upwards.
Via the Pacific:
Singapore Airlines has several destinations in India so is a very good choice for those who would like to start in the south, or for it's 'open jaw' possibilities: Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Amritsar. All SIA flights will require an overnight in Singapore and a decent hotel is provided and with most of a day to look around as most, if not all Indian flights leave in the early evening (and arrive at an inconvenient time).
Cathay Pacific: flies via HK to BOM or DEL. no overnite, but several hours layover at the airport. I'll check out schedule later and add details as an edit.
China Eastern Airline: I can't get much out of their website, but they currently have by far the lowest price fare and they fly to both DEL and BOM via Shanghai. Good connection also.
KLM: Delhi and Mumbai via Amsterdam. good connection. Special fare for tickets purchased before May 30.
Lufthansa: The best flight in terms of overall flying hours. DEL or BOM via Frankfurt
Various combos with AC/AI or others. Air India will include the DEL-BOM leg of an otherwise open-jaw ticket which could be useful.
All prices in $CAD
Gaba Travel 7290 Main St. (604) 324-3336 (I've used them, no problem, also a Surrey branch)
Singapore - $1610 plus taxes ($160-170 estimated)
Cathay Pacific $1625 plus tax
China Eastern: $1350 plus tax ($180-190 est)
Lufthansa: $1610 plus tax
Gill Travel 6603 Fraser St (604) 324-3000 (GoanCanuck's usual choice)
Singapore $1610 + $160-170 est.
Cathay Pacific: $1630 plus tax
China Eastern: $1350 plus $189-190 tax est.
KLM: for tickets purchased before May 30 $1550 plus $130-135 taxes
Lufthansa: $1825 plus tax
AC/AI: via Toronto $1800 plus tax (there must be better deals around)
Bains Travel 6550 Fraser St (604) 324 2277 toll free 1-800-661 3488
(has Surrey branch)
Bains Travel is a British Airways specialist although they sell tickets of all airlines. On the first of December every year British Airways has a seat sale for people who wish to travel between January and May and Bains travel has the best deal on these tickets.
edit: as of June 16, several seat sales in progress:
Singapore: $1350 + tax (for departure before Dec, ticket purchase by July 15)
Cathay Pacific: $1400 + tax
British Airways $1380 + tax ( a layover in London with no hotel provided)
______________________________ __________ _______
Goyal Travel 4152 Fraser St. (604) 877-7777
Japan Airline: $1600 + 175 tax. overnite in Tokyo on way over, hotel provided.
Let's hear what you've found from your area. Don't be intimidated by the detail above, the contact information for a reliable agent with the best deal you've found would be great! I'll be updating the Vancouver information in July when I start shopping for my own ticket.
For Airline Ratings, check out:
For Info on Airline Seat Pitch (Leg room), check out: http://www.airlinequality.com/Product/seat_intro.htm
Our upcoming tickets are from Edmonton to Cochin via LHR and Dubai - open jaw- then from the Maldives, stopover in Dubai/LHR back to Edmonton..$1700. plus tax CAD with Emirates..Purchased from Trek Escapes..Edmonton..
Ottawa HK Mumbai return
:mad: Ott - Toronto - HK - Mumbai return...dec 2004 - Jan 2005 Algonquin Travel $1900 Canadian.....all taxes included...allowed...
[cry] I thought this was expensive!!
Flights to Goa
I'm looking for any info on direct flights to goa from Heathrow. Or an alternative route if it is not too expensive. Any help?
I haven't found a full listing of Goa charters for the season, but you can try putting specific dates, or range of dates, into the blanks in the linked site. For example, I plugged in a mid-november date and came up with a fare of £329. I don't really know how good this outfit's fares are as I don't have anything to compare with.
Other than charters, you will probably have to transfer flights at Mumbai or Delhi.
Has anyone else looked into Goa flights yet?
and thanks for links, crvlvr
Toronto-Kiev-Delhi return on AeroSvit $1275 CAD incl. taxes. (4 month ticket). Left on January 16 2005, returned May 1st. Payless Travel - Yonge St.
I am a relative beginner to air travel so what follows will be quite shallow! The trip to Delhi was good: my luggage made it safely, but we were about half an hour late in arriving. The service was good as far as I can tell.
As I entered the airport for the return trip home, I was met by a sign that read: "Flight VV152 to Kiev has been cancelled. Sorry for the inconvenience". Of course, that was my flight, so I went to the AeroSvit desk to see what could be done. After two hours and a bit of prodding, the AeroSvit people got me on a flight with Aeroflot to Toronto via Moscow. I guess it pays to reconfirm.
online airticket bookings
Okay, I should contribute before inquiring. Here are good websites for flights:
ex Thailand (domestic and international, esp good Indochina fares) - http://www.travexnet.com/
ex Malaysia (good companion fares) -
or need a flight to Bangkok from Malaysia to catch a cheaper flight to India -
ex Australia (lots of Asian flights deals - print quote out and take it to Flight Centre for them to beat the price) -
or ex Australia
Note. the website above is handy since there is a live web chat (on the right) where you can get an online agent to search a (personalized) fare
Just a bit off the topic - here is a good user-friendly site to check visa requirements for any country - http://www.visalink.com.au/front.shtml
from Syd/Melb to Mumbai/Delhi
Return ticket ex Melbourne/Sydney to Mumbai/Delhi for AUD 990 (3 months ticket) or AUD 1290 (1 year ticket) on Malaysia Airlines - fare valid from July till late November 2005 - search this fare here
Flights to Goa from Heathrow are generally expensive.
The main three airports to Goa from the UK are Gatwick, Manchester and now Birmingham from November 2005.
I fly to Goa without accommodation and it costs me about £450 for a months return via bahrain...good for duty free.
syd/melb - india , A$950 + tax , Qantas,
syd/melb - Mumbai , A$890 + tax , Singapore air, 3 months fare,
by redtree travels , +61 2 88248146
Flying to Goa
is quite useful but I plan on travelling in september and can't get information for those dates I presume this is because the season doesn't start until later it would be helpful if they told you that information on their website.
I now plan on flying in to Cochin instead via Sri lanka with Sri Lankan air. Thanks for all your help.
The charter flights to Goa start in October. Keep in mind that a charter flight ticket is ONLY valid for 28 days.
On a side note, China Eastern has one of the worst reputations. Check this http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/c_eastrn.htm
The price of an economy class return ticket on the new Air India flight is $1880 plus taxes. This price is for Vancouver-Toronto on Air Canada and Toronto-Amritsar on Air India for October departures.
Air Canada has announced that it is going to operate a daily flight from Toronto to Delhi via Zurich. I guess this means that there is going to be no longer a non-stop flight from Toronto to Delhi. Read the details http://micro.newswire.ca/release.cgi...3213-0&Start=0
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