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How to get cheap air tickets to Philippines

Posted by on Sep 18th, 2009
Filed Under: Air Travel, Questions

Question

Michelle : Hi Tourism-Philippines,

Great site here! I have a few questions regarding air travel to Philippines –
1. I read somewhere that purchasing 2 one way ticket to Philippines is generally cheaper than to buy a return ticket. How true is that?

2. What are the best websites to seek for cheap air tickets to Philippines (i’m from Europe)

3. Flying within Philippines seems to be very expensive! What are the things i should look out for when boking internal flights?

4. When in Philippines, booking 1 way ticket back, is it better to look for agencies to do the booking? I heard that there are really good promos especially from those Chinatown agencies.

Thank you!

Answer

Tourism Philippines Writer RyanRyan: Hi Michelle,

Let us see if we can answer those questions for you.

“I read somewhere that purchasing 2 one way ticket to Philippines is generally cheaper than to buy a return ticket. How true is that?”

It really depends with which airline you will be flying with. I have noticed that on some airlines like Air Asia – it is cheaper to book 2 one way tickets to the Philippines than getting a return ticket. The best way you can check if the airline you are flying with offers this is to try to check it online (when you do the online booking, try checking the prices). For one thing, I do not think this holds true for Cebu Pacific nor Philippine Airlines. I tried checking their prices online and pretty much it does not really make any difference whether you book a 2 one way tickets or a return one. One thing you should also watch out for if you should decide to book the tickets for the one way – see if you are charged the taxes and surcharges twice.

“What are the best websites to seek for cheap air tickets to Philippines (i’m from Europe)”

You may try Expedia or Kayak, but really, we do not really use them ourselves and instead find and book the tickets ourselves directly from the airline company.

“Flying within Philippines seems to be very expensive! What are the things i should look out for when boking internal flights?”

Yes, generally, although the prices have significantly went down compared to years ago, air travel is still a little expensive compared of course with domestic air travel in the more established tourist destinations in the region (Thailand, Malaysia). It was only in the past 10 years that the country focused on tourism, so much of the infrastructure especially in the more off the beaten path destinations is virtually nonexistent. If you really want to get away from it all, it is possible to go to a lot of destinations in the Philippines without seeing another Westerner for weeks!

One solution to the expensive airfare is to watch their websites all the time as promos are likely to be announced for seat sales. Cebu Pacific is the most popular in this category – however, if I am not mistaken,you still cannot book the tickets from abroad- plus Cebu Pacific is notorious for the worst customer service in the local airline industry. While Cebu Pacific offer a seemingly low airfare, book at your own risk. Refunds are not returned, flights are delayed and schedules are shuffled all the time and fat chance if you will ever get compensated for it. I am talking from personal experience.

For off the beaten track destinations and renegade routes (like Batanes and Tawi-Tawi) and tourist destination-tourist destination routes, SEAIR tops the list. You can fly from Cebu-Caticlan(Boracay)-Puerto Princesa (Palawan) without having to fly back to Manila. They also fly to Batanes in the north and Tawi-Tawi to the south. The airfares a bit expensive on the renegade routes but watch out for great deals on their website.

For the traditional routes, Philippine Airlines is the best. After all,they are Asia’s first airline! And it helps that they have their own terminal in Manila. They have a budget version (PAL Express) but serves a limited number of routes.

And there is Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit) who figured in a number of minor accidents this year.They’ve got cheap flights too (sometimes), but yeah, the number of minor accidents keeps us wondering if we should ever fly with them.

We will comprehensively cover the airlines by first week of November so watch for that.

“When in Philippines, booking 1 way ticket back, is it better to look for agencies to do the booking? I heard that there are really good promos especially from those Chinatown agencies.”

Travel agencies usually can give out cheaper airfares (because they buy these seats by bulk) but not all the time. You can try your luck on some of the agencies,just be clear how much they charge on top of your actual fares. Because in the end, you may have instead just booked it yourself online and saved yourself some cash.

Oh yeah, before I forgot, you have to decide which places you want to go in the Philippines as well so you can plan your trip better. A lot of people think they can see and experience the entire country in two weeks. You just cannot.The Philippines has a total land area bigger than the United Kingdom and scattered through 7,107 islands- this makes travel to the country a real challenge – but chances are,you will see scenery you will never see anywhere in the world.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

Ryan

Editor addon

Scott: Hi Michelle,
You should also check on the visa requirements. You will more than likely need a ticket to a destination outside of the Philippines to be allowed to enter the country.

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PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He loves advising travellers to Philippines and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Philippines with everyone. Learn more about me [+]

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