Looking for the cheapest way to get to India
June 11, 2007 1:39 PM   Subscribe

What's the least expensive way to get to India?

a little context:

A group of six young travellers from Vancouver, Calgary, and Philadelphia are travelling to India together in January of 2008. I was wondering how we could do this the cheapest way possible.

Specifically, where in India is it cheapest to fly to from North America? Would it make more sense for us to rendezvous at a hub in Europe and fly into the country as a group? Price is the biggest factor here, but seeing as we're coming from three different cities, ease of travel should be taken into consideration.

Thanks for your help. Any other resources would be much appreciated as well. It doesn't matter where in India we start off, just as long as we get there sometime in January (pour example, if a dirt cheap flight to Turkey followed by a ferry ride to South India is the cheapest way to go then that's exactly what I'm looking for.)
posted by ageispolis to Travel & Transportation around India (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW, I flew from Chicago -> Mumbai (via Milan) on Alitalia in late December 2006 for ~$1500.
posted by nitsuj at 2:42 PM on June 11, 2007

For finding cheap flights, tweaking dates & departure cities, and the like, you really can't beat Kayak.
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:00 PM on June 11, 2007

Best answer: Hm.

First, I'd say flying the whole way is probably the best value for money. Getting to India on a train runs into the fact that the train tracks stop around eastern Iran on one side and Myanmar on the other, and AFAIK, there isn't any non-cruise-ship ferry service you could get to that would be useful.

After that, though, you've got the issue that India is almost exactly on the other side of the world from you (90 degrees west is New Orleans/Chicago-ish; 90 degrees east is Kolkata-ish), so it doesn't really matter which way you go, give or take a few hours. And while it might seem cheaper to fly from a place like LA or NYC because the competition would be heavier, keep in mind that these cities also have large populations from the Indian subcontinent, so perhaps the market is cornered and flying from somewhere else is cheaper. Who knows? On the dates you want to fly, perhaps flying from Des Moines, Iowa, or something will be cheapest.

My first stop would be a few phone calls to an honest-to-God, real-life travel agent in a south Asian neighborhood. They'll be able to give you advice on what the market is like in a typical January and might have some insight into the market, like if a new airline is expected to begin service between India and Europe.

Next, I'd hit up the "budget travel" forum at FlyerTalk and look for people trying to get back and forth.

It's probably also possible to get to India on low-cost airlines, but that would be at significant risk of getting hit with lots of other nitpicky fees and the risk that you'd be out of luck if your flight was cancelled or something. (From Philadelphia, one could take a train to NYC, fly to London on Zoom or Aer Lingus, get to Istanbul on EasyJet, Sharjah on Air Arabia, and then one of a few carriers to India - the Wikipedia page for each airport will show you which carriers serve it). This bit might be the most useful to you - for example, when I was moving to Indonesia last year, I flew to Singapore from Los Angeles on one ticket, entered Singapore for the one hour it took to check in with my low-cost carrier on the other side of immigration, and departed again a few hours later on a flight that saved me $400.

Remember also that it's perfectly legitimate to book a ticket on the website of Airline X, that's actually flown by one of their partners (Airline Y) on a ticket booked in Z currency from an agent in country A.

Finally, I booked a ticket from LA to Delhi for August of 2005 on China Airlines (from Taiwan), via Taipei, for $1250 on Travelocity about three weeks before I was expecting to leave; luckily, I also spent $50 on the third-party travel insurance offered on the site to make my nonrefundable ticket refundable, which came in handy when I got mononucleosis and couldn't make my trip.

Best of luck!
posted by mdonley at 3:01 PM on June 11, 2007

(Currently, the best price it finds from Vancouver to Delhi is $1400 US, on China Eastern Airlines, with a stop in Shanghai. From Chicago, you can get a flight for about $1000 on Air France, via Paris.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:03 PM on June 11, 2007

Please check with travel agents who specialize in travel
to INDIA. Here is the link


Pl. speak to them and find. I normally find they beat
most prices.

There must be travel agents in the city where
you are living, who specialize in india travel.

Just google.
posted by tom123 at 3:12 PM on June 11, 2007

If I recall correctly there is an Indian, or South Asian neighborhood in Vancouver. Lots of places like that have what are called "bucket shops" which are bare bones travel agencies. When I used to fly to China a lot, I'd use these located in the various Chinatowns around the US. A lot of them have really good deals not normally advertised. I'd say look around there.
posted by taschenrechner at 8:01 PM on June 11, 2007

Query at MakeMyTrip - a standard service used by Indians to travel to India.
posted by Gyan at 10:29 PM on June 11, 2007

jet airways is starting their flight from us to india, check out their rates when it comes up.

They already operate from uk to india and offer much lower prices than leading companies like ba, lufthansa etc

and as far as service goes, exceptional
posted by radsqd at 11:14 AM on June 12, 2007

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