Please help me find a flight from Vancouver to Tokyo that's cheaper than Toronto to Tokyo...
October 26, 2005 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a flight from Vancouver to Tokyo that's cheaper than Toronto to Tokyo... I will be in Vancouver in early January for work and was all excited becuase I could save money by flying to Japan from Vancouver. It turns out that it's $300 cheaper for me to fly back to Toronto and then turn around and board a flight for Tokyo.

Does anyone have any tips, perhaps charter companies or flying through another city (I would actually love to visit another country)? Air Canada has deals to Hong Kong, but the flights onto Tokyo are still expensive.
posted by dripdripdrop to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try something else on the West Coast, preferably from a large airport that has not been taken over by one airline. LAX or San Francisco might be right.

Ticket prices don't make much sense. I fly to Tokyo three times a year on average. This last time it was cheaper to fly through Pittsburgh rather than Chicago and the Pittsburgh flight had a layover in Chicago.
posted by Alison at 2:10 PM on October 26, 2005

Second the US alternative. United seems consistently to have deals from LAX and SFO that seem to average ~USD 500-600. You could also try Seattle/SeaTac - or maybe Portland. You'd prolly have less schedule flexibility w/ the cheaper fares though.
posted by carter at 2:18 PM on October 26, 2005

It was $80 a few weeks ago to fly PIT-(DTW-)ORD on a one-day round-trip. It was $750 to fly just the PIT-DTW RT on the same flights and same days.

They don't make much sense, sorry.
posted by kcm at 2:20 PM on October 26, 2005

oh, and SFO-NRT screams UA or NWA. they just *are* the long-haul carriers on that route. NWA's airframes are older but the tix can be cheaper. Try
posted by kcm at 2:23 PM on October 26, 2005

P.S. In fact in the 'this week's bargains' e-mail from United I have SFO-NRT for $459.
posted by carter at 2:34 PM on October 26, 2005

Aye, but getting down to LAX or SFO cheaply, there's the rub. In my experience, flights between YVR and those US airports are costly. Maybe you could drive down to Sea-Tak, for a cheap Southwest flight down to LAX? Lots of inexpensive Narita options once you're at LA -- I've gone back and forth between NRT and LAX several times via Korean Air, which has a poor safety record, but great fares.
posted by Rash at 2:38 PM on October 26, 2005

Aye, but getting down to LAX or SFO cheaply, there's the rub.

Indeed so.
posted by carter at 3:06 PM on October 26, 2005

I used and was able to get YVR to NRT for $1040 and YYZ to NRT for $1315. The time saved is definitely worth the money saved. (based on 1 week departure on 11 Jan)
posted by furtive at 3:29 PM on October 26, 2005

I had a friend who used to buy SFO > BKK tickets with a transfer at Narita, and he'd just leave the plane at Narita, and arrange with the airline later to pick it up in Narita instead of the originating city. He saved a few hundred dollars US on each leg this way. You probably couldn't do this any more given tight security, though.
posted by luriete at 3:36 PM on October 26, 2005

You can't do that any more. A lot of airlines will get pissy and send you letters / blacklist you if you drop segments too often. Most tickets will have wording against not completing any portion of the fare, which invalidates the rest of the itinerary. More info on similar practices.
posted by kcm at 3:40 PM on October 26, 2005

Check out, which is a business class consolidator. You might want to double check the fare basis, but I remember someone on saying that they use them to book all their business class tickets.

YVR-NRT on Japan Air for approx 1100 in January. If that is a J fare you'd be laughing.
posted by smcniven at 5:07 PM on October 26, 2005

1) If practical, travel through the USA. (As others have mentioned, it tends to be cheaper.)

2) Consider buying an open return ticket to Hong Kong (destination) with a *stopover* in Tokyo. Stay in Tokyo for as long as your schedule/budget will allow, go to Hong Kong for a day or two (be sure to visit Victoria Peak!) and return to Canada.

Although you will pay a small fee for the stopover in Tokyo (about $50 added to the price of your ticket), the total fare should be much cheaper than a ticket to Tokyo and you get a free trip to Hong Kong. :)

Note: This will work with other cities as well so be sure to check with your travel agent. Bangkok is another popular desitination for such tickets and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is nice (but be sure to look up the rules/etiquette regarding Buddhist temples).
posted by cup at 11:27 AM on October 27, 2005

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