Cheapest Flight from Canada to S-Korea
July 25, 2014 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I am a student and I want to fly off for some time before the coming Fall semester. I was thinking going away for 2 weeks. Spending 1 week in Busan, S-Korea, then 1 week in Japan, for example Tokyo. I tried using flight search engines but the price is exorbitant for me.

I read that there are cheap flights within Asia but from the sites I have checked such as kayak, studentuniverse it costs around $1800 for one adult to go back and forth Montreal-Busan. If it is that expensive I don't think I will go.

I can stay at a friend's place over there so the challenge is to be able to find the cheapest way to visit at least S-Korea, and potentially Korea and Japan. I can always find some cheap places to stay in Japan. I was thinking going away say 4th August and return after 1 or 2 weeks. But if price is very date dependent I might adapt.

posted by iliketothinknu to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some reasons for the high price: you're booking on extremely short notice. Also, Montreal to Busan requires 2 stops. There aren't even any direct flights from Montreal to Tokyo, so at the minimum you'd have to connect in Toronto.
posted by signondiego at 7:43 AM on July 25, 2014

Also, there aren't really cheap flights from Canada to anywhere. It might be worth looking at flying from somewhere in the NE USA.
posted by scruss at 7:57 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

You're trying to buy on extremely short notice, and during high season. August is a popular time period for Koreans to travel in and out of Korea - for the latter part of August, there probably won't even be tickets for flights leaving Korea for destinations in North America. Korean students who travel between Korea and North America regularly typically book their tickets at least 3 months in advance to get the best prices and to make sure they can find tickets for the desired travel dates.

That said, have you checked out prices for flights between Montreal and ICN? After you land in Incheon/Seoul, take the train to Busan. That might be cheaper than trying to fly to Busan.
posted by needled at 8:04 AM on July 25, 2014

In general, to get a domestic flight in the U.S. that isn't very expensive, I book at least two weeks in advance. For an international flight, I usually book at least a month ahead of time, if not more, especially during a busy season. For my flight to China at the end of February, I bought a plane ticket at the end of December. I'm flying to Europe in a few weeks and I booked my plane ticket in early March.

It's not impossible to find a good deal on short notice. When I went to Istanbul from DC, I saw that the price of plane tickets didn't change much whether we bought our tickets two weeks ahead of time or more so we got them two weeks out. But in general, you should look to buy plane tickets at least two weeks ahead of time.
posted by kat518 at 8:40 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Needled has it right about August being an incredibly popular period for travel to/from Korea; your price seems about right on short notice.

1) It looks like $1500 is the cheapest YMQ <> ICN flight that you can get. In my experience, that's a pretty good deal for the distance / the short notice, actually. You could think about fitting an ICN <>NRT flight in there for $400.

If you booked months in advance, the lowest you'd probably be ever able to get is a $1000 round trip flight from YMQ <> ICN.

2) It looks like $1800 is the cheapest YMQ -> ICN -> NRT -> YMQ flight you can get.

I've finagled a few three-way flights, albeit from NYC. JFK -> ICN -> NRT -> JFK is about $1400 with enough advance notice (months); that's around the cheapest you'll ever be able to get if you book half a year in advance. With less than a month, the prices you're looking at are pretty accurate, in my experience, and I've done that route many a time.

So $1500 ~ $1800 is pretty much your flight budget now; $1000 ~ $1300 is what it could be if you buy way early in advance, and that's the lowest of the low; you're pretty much never going to get anything lower than $1000.
posted by suedehead at 10:18 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Flights into Busan are quite limited and therefore more expensive.

Definitely look into flying into Seoul and taking one of the excellent express buses down to Busan, or the KTX. The KTX bullet train may be fast but bear in mind that you have to take the airport train to Seoul station and change trains there. Also the KTX isn't all that spacious (unless you pay for first class) so although express buses may take longer, you won't have to lug your bags over to another train and it will also be cheaper.

Alternatively, flying into Fukuoka is a less well-known option and can turn out cheaper sometimes. Then you can get a cheap flight across to Korea with Peach or another low cost carrier. But really, you're looking to travel during peak season, so you can expect the prices to be eye-watering.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 10:24 AM on July 25, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks a lot for all the advice. Especially you suedehead for breaking it down to the nitty gritty. I like the hipmunk site! At first I was thinking it is a bit expensive. But it may be worth it after all. I'll think about it.
posted by iliketothinknu at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2014

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