Flights to Asia are no longer cheap as anyone who has priced airfares recently can attest.
Too start off we should get an idea of the differences in the prices in the last 7 years. The Asia cheap flights went from close to $500 Bangkok LA or Bangkok San Francisco to over $1000 today; at this rate it is not hard to imagine the prices doubling again in the next 7 years as things like carbon taxes and higher fuel cost combined with general inflation and more people in Asia joining the ranks of the middle class and spreading their wings, doubling of airfares really isn't that far fetched. The cheapest flight from the west coast of the USA either Seattle, San Francisco or Los Angeles today is going to cost you over $1100 USD even if you do everything right like book in advance 60 to 90 days, Book on a Monday - Tuesday, and select mid week flights while being flexible with multi stops and longer layovers.
China Air and Eva Air out of Los Angeles or San Francisco these 2 airlines can get you to Bangkok cheaper that any other airlines out there on a regular and consistent basis. Something recently learned is that China Air will allow you to exchange frequent flyer miles for a discount on the flights, 5% on an $1100 flight is $55 USD; this kind of thinking will make them a favorite of the budget travelers and businessman that are flying on their own dime. The great thing about this is that China Air will actually ask you when you are booking if you have any miles to cash in! I don't ever remember a big western airline encouraging me to cash in my frequent flyer miles.
Air Asia, Tiger Air, Cebu Pacific, Virgin, China Southern many of these are becoming household names even in the west if you have any exposure to Asia at all certainly every one has heard of the virgin group of companies run by Sir Richard Branson. I love to talk about these cheap regional airlines as they are what keep the big guys honest. They are at a disadvantage that they are not in the big databases and so you do not pick up these flights unless you specifically look for them. I anticipate that a booking engine will evolve that will include these cheaper air carriers which will put a lot of pressure on the big travel sites to get them into their mix as well right now they are controlled by the big airlines who have zero incentive to include the little niche budget airlines.
Finding a hub city that has service from one of these carriers can result in fantastic savings when you get off the big international carriers like United, JAL, Asiana, Malaysia Air, Thai Air ect. This is where the special deals come in subscribing to the airlines news letters setting up notifications on Side Step, Mobisimo and the big sites Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity to hub cites that have regional carriers going to your destination. The bigger Asia hubs being Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore KL. Tokyo and Hong Kong while being hubs don't have a lot of budget carriers so are harder to route through Manila has lots of budget carriers out but very expensive in general to get there compared to Bangkok or Singapore. In general it is cheaper to fly past the Philippines and double back I can remember one time flying from Bangkok to Singapore back to Bangkok on to Manila and saving a couple hundred dollars for the extra flying time!
So to sum up as the airfares to Asia go up your top 3 best bets to get the cheapest flights to Asia We feel will continue to be China Air and Eva Air from the west coast of USA, getting off the international carries in the larger Asia hub cites with good budget carrier service for the last legs switching over to the regional budget carriers like Air Asia Tiger Air, China Southern, Virgin Group airlines and Cebu Pacific and doing the research to find the cheap promotional airfare deals and watch from as far out as you can.
Fred Tittle is a seasoned Asian traveler with a massive scuba diving addiction. With extensive ties to Asia he founded Cheap Charlies Hotels Asia when he found himself spending lots of time looking on the internet for and not finding what he knew to be there for cheap hotels and budget guesthouse accommodations. As time goes on he also discovered that the cheapest flights and discount airfares were also hard to find.
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