… in my experience, it would usually involve an over-dependency on various social networks (Facebook and Twitter, mostly), the need to be up and about at ungodly hours to catch seat sales when they drop, then a protracted battle with the airline website to get cheap seats for both inbound and outbound trip, then finally — a bit of haggling with the Gods of Travel praying that your unpaid credit card can accommodate the cost of ticket for two!
I don’t know how you choose to travel, but for budget travelers like me, I usually travel through the graces of cheap airfares courtesy of the country’s largest airline, Cebu Pacific. Through the available seat sales, I was able to see the beauty of Seoul and Taipei (as well as Singapore and Hong Kong) which I never thought was possible before without selling my kidney to buy airline tickets.
Currently, my latest obsession is to see Japan during my birthday week in May. Ideally, I would have wanted to be there on my birthday, but the so-called battle with the seat sale has made me book the day after (which was selling for PHP99 only).
In the Philippines, here’s the usual means to get cheap airline tickets:
1. Pray that your favorite airline will offer cheap tickets for the period. Unfortunately, the only consistent airline to offer free tickets anywhere is Cebu Pacific. The company usually have monthly deals promoting the different destinations where they fly. Available deals can be as amazing (and unbelievable) as the Zero Peso sale (yes, you only pay for the taxes) and the Piso (1peso) Sale. I haven’t had the pleasure of scoring any of the two, but I was able to book tickets to HK for just PHP3,000 RT, while my sister got her Korea tickets for only PHP3,500! So, yes — this is definitely cheap! I know that the national carrier Philippine Airlines have Monday Promos while JetStar and AirAsia also offers cheap fares depending on the destination. However, Cebu Pacific still remains the undisputed budget carrier.
Yes, I have to point out that understandably, there are instances when the service given by CebPac leaves much to be desired. It’s either you get a bad service or good service. And yes, the airline seats are small — a Great Dane will have problems trying to fit himself. Plus, you will have to pay for almost anything: extra check in baggage, in-flight meals, seat preference, the list is endless.
2. Make sure to follow the carrier’s social media account. In my case, I follow all mentioned airlines in Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to check their feeds once a day!
3. Never swear off 12 midnight — that’s when price drops usually for Cebu Pacific. In my case, I was able to score my latest return trip when I woke up unexpectedly at 3AM and decided to fiddle with Facebook on iPhone. Saw the ad above and lunged for my laptop like mad.
3. Have everything handy and easily accesible – that means your passport and credit card. Remember, time is of the essence. How sure are you that at the very moment somewhere, another crazy lady is also trying to book the exact flight to Tokyo!
4. Make sure to play around the available travel dates to get the deal you want.
5. Make sure you have enough money to pay for the ticket.
The only downside is that due to the excitement, I was awake until 6AM just giddy due to the fact that I scored cheapo tickets to somewhere (yes, I am crazy!) that I never had the chance to sleep. Fast forward to 10AM — imagine me trying to stay awake during a boring departmental meeting.