Hello Tokyo
January 16, 2012 7:12 AM   Subscribe

How do I get the best deal on a multicity flight that goes from Whitehorse - Vancouver - Tokyo - Taipei - Hong Kong - Whitehorse?

My daughter was selected to participate in an international dance festival this summer in Taipei. This gives us a once in a life time opportunity to visit a couple other Asian cities (Tokyo and Hong Kong). I looked up multicity flights on Expedia yesterday and I could find flights for around $1900 CAD - I thought I had looked the day before and found them even cheaper. BUT, today I looked again to find they had gone up to over $3000.00. What is going on here? Do these flights really sell out so quickly? When/where should I look to get the best possible deal on a multicity flight?

I've looked at Orbitz, Kayak, Cheap On-Air, Expedia, Travelocity, flightbooker - and a few others and I'm finding the same thing.
posted by YukonQuirm to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (11 answers total)
I thought I had looked the day before and found them even cheaper. BUT, today I looked again to find they had gone up to over $3000.00.

Clear your browser cookies and try again.
posted by randomination at 7:46 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

My strategy for these kinds of trips is to break them down and see if the parts are cheaper than the whole. For example, you could maybe get a roundtrip Whitehorse-Vancouver, and then a multicity Vancouver-Asia leg. Or you do Whitehorse-Tokyo as a round trip and book separate internal Asia flights for Taipei and Hong Kong.

What dates are you looking at?
posted by cabingirl at 7:46 AM on January 16, 2012

For flights like this, I HIGHLY recommend seeing a travel agent. This is what they do. For long international flights, I always look online and go to a couple of different travel agents, and my online quote has never been the lowest one. (I've flown Vancouver-Tokyo-Sydney-Singapore-Vancouver, as well as Sydney-Vancouver and vice versa a couple of different times.) I usually find that the lowest travel agent fare (see a few, and try student-oriented people--do you have a Travel Cuts in Whitehorse?) beats my lowest online fare by at least $50. For that multi-stop ticket, I was finding fares of about $2000 and the travel agent got me $1400.

Oh, and make sure you look into whether your daughter is eligible for any student discounts. Again, I've never figured out how to do this myself, but travel agents seem to be able to get them.

But if you're really set on buying it online yourself, maybe check out the FlyerTalk forums.
posted by snorkmaiden at 7:49 AM on January 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

I second seeing a travel agent. My family flies to Taipei fairly regularly to visit extended family, and when it's a simple trip (LAX-TPE round trip), we generally book online nowadays as the fares seem to be comparable to what you get at a travel agent and it's good to deal directly with the airlines.

However, the times we've booked complicated fares like this (something like LAX-PEK-HKG-TPE-LAX), we've always gone to a travel agent. Also, if you feel comfortable or know someone in the right community, I would also recommend at least stopping by travel agents that cater to the Asian-Canadian community; they obviously deal frequently with these types of flights and often have shockingly low rates, although summer is a high season for travel to east Asia so you probably won't get anything extremely low.
posted by andrewesque at 7:57 AM on January 16, 2012

And for context, I'm generally reluctant to see travel agents myself in this day and age -- I always book domestic (US) airfares myself directly on airline websites as well as simple international round-trips. But this is the kind of trip where I'd definitely at least get a quote from a travel agent before making a booking online.
posted by andrewesque at 7:59 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

This might not make a difference, but be aware that as of March 26 there will be 5 nonstops a week on AC between Calgary and Tokyo. That at least gives you more options for leg 1.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:11 AM on January 16, 2012

Nthing trying a travel agent - they would be really handy in helping you figure this out. If you are set on doing it yourself or want to do some more looking, try the ITA Matrix. Its got a handy tool for booking multi-city stops and can be fairly flexible when it comes to dates and locations. I've always found the best prices there. Just a note, you can't actually book on this website, you have to go to the airline's site to book the tickets with the flight numbers.
posted by snowysoul at 11:15 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We fly to Japan pretty regularly from Victoria (via Vancouver), and we've found that in Canada, travel agents will always have better deals than the online sites and the airline sites (for international travel). I think we've been using HIS in Vancouver, but I can't recall. Also, it may be cheaper to buy the Tapei and HK tickets in Japan.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:20 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

HIS, by the way, is a Japanese travel agency. You need to identify a travel agent that specializes in Asian travel, as opposed to, say, trips to Disneyland.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:22 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for your help. I don't know what travel agents are like up here but can try to make a call and see what they come up with. Thanks for the suggestion of HIS in Vancouver - I'll probably give them a call too. I do have relatives in Taipei and Tainan so maybe they can get me a deal on a flight to Hong Kong. Most of the flights to Taipei seem to have a lay over in Toyko so one would think extending that stay to a few days shouldn't add much to the flight.

I'm sort of wishing I'd jumped on the flight deal I found on Expedia a couple of days ago as I haven't found something similar since - still lots of time though as the dance festival is not until mid July.
posted by YukonQuirm at 3:33 AM on January 17, 2012

Re the TPE-HKG website: Definitely ask your relatives if they know how to get a deal. However, if you're going to be booking the Taipei-Hong Kong part as a separate trip, it's also worth looking at some local websites (I used ezfly when I was in Taipei for a summer and was booking a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong). Granted, they are all in Chinese so if you don't have those language facilities, they're not very useful.

But as a point of comparison two years ago I bought two TPE-HKG round-trip tickets for NT$10,500 (~CAD 340) total, which means that each individual leg was about $85, which I thought was eminently reasonable.
posted by andrewesque at 12:35 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

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