Do you agree that “promo fare is life”? If yes, then you should definitely read this guide about booking cheap flights to/across the Philippines!
Did you know that, several years ago, flight costs are almost doubled than it is today? One of the interesting things I hear from veteran backpackers is that they used to shell out P7-12,000 for a single round-trip domestic flight. Nowadays, with the travel industry growing and the rise of budget airlines such as Airasia and Cebu Pacific, traveling to/across the Philippines is now more accessible.
In addition, there are new tools for the modern traveler. Some popular websites for scanning the cheapest rates include Skyscanner, JustFly, etc.
Whether you’re a local Juan or a foreign traveler, here are hacks you can use to score cheap tickets for traveling to/across the Philippines!
1. Stalk airlines on social media
In Facebook, one way to make sure you are always getting the latest update is to change your following setting: Go to the airline’s page, click the Following button in the upper navigation bar, and select In Your NewsFeed > See First.
2. Sign up as a member in airlines’ websites
If you’re a registered member, you may get a chance to book a day ahead of the scheduled promo booking period. For instance, Big Members are often given a 24-hour advanced access in Airasia’s seatsales before it becomes available to the public.
3. Browse in incognito mode
Don’t you wonder why rates in an airline’s website jack up by your second visit? Airline websites keep cookies (i.e., data of your visit) and if it seems you’re interested in a particular route/schedule, it automatically increases the rate on your subsequent visits.
To enable incognito mode, here are the keys you should click:
- Google Chrome: Ctrl + Shift + N
- Mozilla Firefox Or Microsoft Edge: Control (or Command) + Shift + P
- Safari: click “Safari” in the menu bar and select “Private Browsing.”
This trick is something that I personally tried after I realized the rates have immediately changed after my initial search in an airline’s page. I opened a new incognito tab and compared the prices and indeed there’s a few hundred peso difference.
4. Book solo
If you’re in a group, you might want to book the tickets separately. The reason is that airlines only have limited slots for discounted seats for a particular flight. If you search flights for 1 person, you’ll get better chances of finding promo fares compared to searching for 2+ people.
5. Book during red-eye hours
The best time to book is between 1AM and 4AM because fewer people are up during this time.
6. Secure a fast internet connection
This is something I don’t often see in articles about tips on booking cheap flights in the Philippines.
In one of Cebu Pacific’s past piso sale, the website was mostly be inaccessible due to massive traffic. Hali (and even several of my friends) weren’t able to book, but I was able to search and book flights smoothly. The difference? Hali was on a 3-mb internet connection while I was on 30-mb.
7. Choose early morning or late night schedules
Early morning flights (6AM or earlier) and late night flights (10PM or past) are less expensive compared to other schedules of the day. This is because a lot of people are not willing to get to the airport during these hours so demand is lower.
Personally, I prefer these schedules because not only do I save on ticket costs, I also get more time to explore the destination I’ll be traveling to.
8. Keep your baggage to 7kg limit
Budget airlines are a great option for backpackers. You can spend as little as P700-2000 for a flight, but only if you’re bringing a carry-on luggage (max 7kg), not checked-in. If you avail of excess baggage you’ll find that the overall price tends to go up quickly.
Some travelers try to sneak their way past this restriction, but a lot of times the airline staff actually take the time to weigh your luggage especially if it looks too heavy.
Budget airlines make their money thru add-ons including excess baggage, flight meals, seat selection, and more, so it makes sense that these have premium prices.
tl;dr Go for a budget airline if you only have carry-on luggage, but if you’re bringing excess baggage you might want to go for a mid-range airline where you’ll be more comfortable, with little difference in price.
That’s it. What are your tips for booking cheap flights in the Philippines? Share them below!