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How far in advance to book flight to the Philippines

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by gkrane, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    How far in advance should I book flights to the Philippines to get the best rates?
     
  2. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    508
    420
    63
    It probably depends a lot on the airline you're flying with. I booked with Philippine Air a year ahead of time and got a good price.....might pay to check with a travel agent.

    Where are you planning to go in the Philippines ?
     
    jodylynn007 likes this.
  3. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    Going to start off on a liveaboard that leaves from Puerto Princesa and then going to spend a few days in Anilao. I think leaving out of Corpus Christi my airline options are United or American.
     
  4. Damselfish

    Damselfish ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    9,170
    1,731
    113
    Earlier often seems to be better, but it's hard to predict fares. Some of the general booking sites like Kayak attempt to estimate if a given fare will go up or down.

    Your options are more than American or United, you will very likely wind up on a mix of airlines and you'll want to play around and see what is available. I don't think American even flies to Manila itself, through them you would be on a codeshare with a partner airline such as JAL. United flies to Manila or did, but their schedule isn't great and they don't have much of a presence there. But they also have partners that fly there, such as ANA. Or you might just wind up hopping to someplace like Houston or LA and taking some other airline. Philippines Air direct from LAX would be a common route and sometimes the best deal, but they're not partners with any particularly useful major US airlines. Philippines Air does run some pretty good deals - far in advance may work, or catching one of their periodic fare sales is good, but I don't know if there is any usual schedule to when the sales happen.

    You could also check if it makes sense to fly into Cebu from the US, which they seem to be trying to expand as a second international airport. Fewer flights than Manila but it might be more civilized if it works out. (Manila is over capacity and can be a mess. If you can avoid changing terminals between your international and domestic flights it's a good thing, though that part has improved somewhat. They have 5 unconnected terminals and you can lookup which airlines use which. If you decide to stay overnight in Manila then of course it doesn't matter.) If you're ending your trip in Anilao obviously you'd leave from Manila, but it's possible the open jaw thing won't hurt you on price.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
    gkrane likes this.
  5. flyboy08

    flyboy08 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    3,815
    2,691
    113
    Sometimes it's cheaper to buy two RT tickets...like USA to Franfurt...and then Franfurt to Manila and back. Same exact flights if you go direct, but can be considerably cheaper...just play the lay overs correctly.

    I do this when flying to Ljubiana and save around $800 bucks!
     
  6. jodylynn007

    jodylynn007 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Westminster, BC CANADA
    453
    411
    63
    I fly Philippine Airlines to Manila (direct from Vancouver, CANADA) and often purchase a year in advance... I watch their website and Facebook page for the periodic sales that they have and can often find a great deal.

    A phone app that you mind find useful though is called 'Hopper', you can put your planned travel dates into it and it will advise whether it is a good time to buy, or not, and it will alert you automatically if the price drops into the GREEN (good time to buy) zone.
     
    gkrane likes this.
  7. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    Since this will be my first international trip, I think one challenge I will face is managing the arrival and departure times properly to avoid issues. It appears that some of the flight have 18 hour layovers to contend with.
     
  8. Damselfish

    Damselfish ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    9,170
    1,731
    113
    Where are you winding up with the 18 hour layover? Sometimes that means you need to go back to the drawing board, but yeah it happens often enough. Sometimes it's a good opportunity to either see a few sights, or crash at a hotel to rest and catch up with the timezone, depending where in your trip it occurs. Like you might not actually want to travel for 24 hours then hop right on a liveaboard anyway. On 3 trips to the Philippines think we've spent at least 3 nights in Manila. Even for a day-long wait where we're not really overnighting, we're inclined to get a room and relax.
     
  9. KUFan452

    KUFan452 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Arlington, VA
    56
    2
    8
    I bought my ticket to Manila about 300 days in advance because I found a great deal. I continued to watch the fares and they were fairly consistent until about 2 months out. I would suggest checking out "hipmunk.com" which sorts by "agony" and lets you pick different filters for other wishes. You can set email alerts so you know when the price changes. My guess is that the cheapest option would be United through Houston to Tokyo and then on ANA to Manila, but you might find sales on Emirates or Qatar if you don't mind a stopover in Dubai or Doha.
     
  10. tridacna

    tridacna ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: New Jersey
    7,209
    4,502
    0
    I paid $660 round trip United from Newark. Booked 6 months in advance. Trip in Mar 2017.
     

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