Help me get to the subcontinent on the cheap
December 7, 2008 7:08 PM   Subscribe

What is the cheapest way for me to fly to India at the end of December?

I would like to be in India to attend a wedding on Jan 2. I can leave here anytime after the 17th and have until January 10th to be back so my dates are somewhat flexible as long as it includes Jan 2.

I don't have a huge budget for travel. I would like to spend a max of $1000 on airfare. All the tickets I see on Kayak cost at least $1700. I am a student so I checked out STA travel but those tickets aren't any cheaper. Where else should I look?

I am also willing to take a last minute deal (like flights leaving in the next 24 hours) but does such a thing exist for this route?

I would like to fly out of San Francisco but I'm happy to make connections if it will keep me within my budget.
posted by special-k to Travel & Transportation around India (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if it'll be any better than STA, but check StudentUniverse for more student fares.

Also, FareCast is nice, because it can have you leaving/returning with different airlines and airports for the cheapest price.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 7:33 PM on December 7, 2008 gave a total trip cost of $1135.90 departing on 12/31 and returning 1/8. Nasty fuel surcharges. There are probably a number of other airlines that focus on India-US routes, but that seems to be the least expensive.
posted by notquitemaryann at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2008

Oh, that was SFO to Hyderabad as an example. Wasn't sure where you were headed exactly.
posted by notquitemaryann at 7:46 PM on December 7, 2008

Before you book, make sure there will be no potential issues with clearance to get into the country. A friend of mine had a trip to India (invited by a university for work, scheduled ages ago) and had to cancel it at the last minute this week because the Indian government was requiring prior approval for all travelers entering the country. Obviously, this is due to the danger from the recent attacks. I'm not sure if this will apply in early January, but it's worth making sure it won't be an issue.
posted by theantikitty at 7:50 PM on December 7, 2008

I flew to India (Mumbai) two years ago in December. Tickets were about $1100 (from Chicago, via Milan), and it was cheapest to fly ON Christmas day. But we booked several months in advance.

And yes: do you have a visa? India requires them. Get your visa ASAP. Ironically, the Indian Embassy of D.C. says the visa services have been "outsourced" to Travisa.
posted by nitsuj at 8:09 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh hey, here you go. SFO-Mumbai, Virgin Atlantic, leaving on Dec. 31, $1080. Play around with dates and you may be able to find even cheaper.
posted by nitsuj at 8:17 PM on December 7, 2008

It's worth checking in with a travel agent, too -- especially one that specializes in travel to India. E.g. check out Shama Travel -- I've gotten good fares from them before (but never tried something so last minute, so no guarantees).
posted by rdn at 8:48 PM on December 7, 2008

Hmmm... where in India do you have to fly to? (I'm in Bangalore, if you wanna say hello.)

Jet Airways should have a fare in your range. They are going to cut the fuel surcharges soon too. I can check with a family friend who is a travel agent if you like.
posted by madman at 10:21 PM on December 7, 2008

madman: I'd like to go to Chennai. It does seem like Jet Airways is my cheapest bet. I don't think I will have time on this short trip (if it happens) to make it to Bangalore but maybe next time.
posted by special-k at 10:35 AM on December 8, 2008

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