Travel

Cheapest place to book a Direct Manila-YYZ flight

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 12th, 2018 9:52 am
[OP]
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May 23, 2017
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Cheapest place to book a Direct Manila-YYZ flight

so my mother in law is coming here at the beginning of March 2019 and will stay for 4-5 months. We are flexible on the dates but it looks like the cheapest flight I can find is around the $2100-$2300 mark. Can anyone suggest a travel agent or some way of maybe getting a cheaper flight?

Also, fyi she needs a direct flight because shes coming here on a visitor visa and cant stop in another country, also she cant read or write english so she will be lost trying to transfer planes. we are worried enough about her making it here on her first flight of her life!
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12 replies
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riseagainstthemachine wrote:
Dec 4th, 2018 11:13 am
so my mother in law is coming here at the beginning of March 2019 and will stay for 4-5 months. We are flexible on the dates but it looks like the cheapest flight I can find is around the $2100-$2300 mark. Can anyone suggest a travel agent or some way of maybe getting a cheaper flight?

Also, fyi she needs a direct flight because shes coming here on a visitor visa and cant stop in another country, also she cant read or write english so she will be lost trying to transfer planes. we are worried enough about her making it here on her first flight of her life!
For airfares, I'm sure most would tell you to just use Google Flights (or its more advanced back-end, ITA Matrix), Momondo, Kayak, the usual suspects. Doubtful a regular travel agent can significantly beat those prices as they're looking at the same system. Stay away from Priceline et al as those would probably route her through the USA (see below).

OK, the part I bolded out for you only applies if she transits through the USA. So whatever you do, do NOT book her on an American carrier (so avoid all routings through HNL, LAX, SFO, ORD... you get the idea). Because yes she would have to take herself and all her bags through US CBP and the Americans could give her a hard time, then recheck those bags through to Toronto. Pain in the ass not worth it. I strongly recommend avoiding USA transits for overseas even if you're Canadian. One less hassle to deal with. I'd also recommend avoiding airline changes (so don't make her fly, say, PAL to Tokyo then AC to Toronto), so she isn't having to deal with changing terminals at strange airports.

Can't read English? AFAIK, most public signage in the Philippines is in English and most Filipinos know enough English to get by. But with that in mind...

If you want to make it as easy for her as possible your best best is to fly her on Philippine Airlines on the NON-STOP (never use the D word... I explained in another thread why not to) from Manila to Toronto (and home again)., even if it's ~$200 more than the others... That way she gets on the plane over there and 15 hours later she's here. She'll have all Tagalog-speaking staff on the ground and in the air until the CBSA agents at Pearson. Make sure she doesn't try bring in stuff she shouldn't, like balut, duck eggs, meat, that kind of thing. Don't give CBSA any reason to pull her aside like you see on the Border Security TV show, since they sure love to check bags from Asia!

Now if somehow PAL comes up too expensive and you just have to make her change planes, make sure she's on an Asian carrier that does not transit through the USA. So, if you put her on Cathay Pacific she'll go Manila to Hong Kong then Hong Kong to Toronto. When she lands in Hong Kong she can show her onward boarding pass to any Cathay ground staff and they'll get her to the right gate. Same would happen if you put her on Korean through Seoul-Incheon, EVA Air through Taipei, China Eastern through Shanghai, China Southern through Guangzhou, Air China through Beijing, Emirates through Dubai (that's the long way around but if you wanna spoil her...) etc. The difference between these airports and the Americans is, if you're transiting through you do NOT go through their border security. You only do so if you're either exiting the airport or changing to a domestic flight.

Hope this helps! I'm no frequent flyer but I'm sure the others who are (and our resident travel agent - she knows who she is!) will chime in agreement or disagreement :-) And in advance I hope your mother-in-law has a safe enjoyable trip and I'm sure you and your family are looking forward to having her for the summer months.
[OP]
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May 23, 2017
868 posts
332 upvotes
EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
Dec 4th, 2018 2:01 pm
For airfares, I'm sure most would tell you to just use Google Flights (or its more advanced back-end, ITA Matrix), Momondo, Kayak, the usual suspects. Doubtful a regular travel agent can significantly beat those prices as they're looking at the same system. Stay away from Priceline et al as those would probably route her through the USA (see below).

OK, the part I bolded out for you only applies if she transits through the USA. So whatever you do, do NOT book her on an American carrier (so avoid all routings through HNL, LAX, SFO, ORD... you get the idea). Because yes she would have to take herself and all her bags through US CBP and the Americans could give her a hard time, then recheck those bags through to Toronto. Pain in the ass not worth it. I strongly recommend avoiding USA transits for overseas even if you're Canadian. One less hassle to deal with. I'd also recommend avoiding airline changes (so don't make her fly, say, PAL to Tokyo then AC to Toronto), so she isn't having to deal with changing terminals at strange airports.

Can't read English? AFAIK, most public signage in the Philippines is in English and most Filipinos know enough English to get by. But with that in mind...

If you want to make it as easy for her as possible your best best is to fly her on Philippine Airlines on the NON-STOP (never use the D word... I explained in another thread why not to) from Manila to Toronto (and home again)., even if it's ~$200 more than the others... That way she gets on the plane over there and 15 hours later she's here. She'll have all Tagalog-speaking staff on the ground and in the air until the CBSA agents at Pearson. Make sure she doesn't try bring in stuff she shouldn't, like balut, duck eggs, meat, that kind of thing. Don't give CBSA any reason to pull her aside like you see on the Border Security TV show, since they sure love to check bags from Asia!

Now if somehow PAL comes up too expensive and you just have to make her change planes, make sure she's on an Asian carrier that does not transit through the USA. So, if you put her on Cathay Pacific she'll go Manila to Hong Kong then Hong Kong to Toronto. When she lands in Hong Kong she can show her onward boarding pass to any Cathay ground staff and they'll get her to the right gate. Same would happen if you put her on Korean through Seoul-Incheon, EVA Air through Taipei, China Eastern through Shanghai, China Southern through Guangzhou, Air China through Beijing, Emirates through Dubai (that's the long way around but if you wanna spoil her...) etc. The difference between these airports and the Americans is, if you're transiting through you do NOT go through their border security. You only do so if you're either exiting the airport or changing to a domestic flight.

Hope this helps! I'm no frequent flyer but I'm sure the others who are (and our resident travel agent - she knows who she is!) will chime in agreement or disagreement :-) And in advance I hope your mother-in-law has a safe enjoyable trip and I'm sure you and your family are looking forward to having her for the summer months.
Thanks for the detailed response. my brother in law came here and was on the nonstop with philippine airlines and had no problem but he speaks english. The thing is the price was $1288 and now they want $2300 for the same flight, but I guess I just have to suck it up and pay the price. She is scared about flying and has never flown before. she doesnt read or write at all in any language so shes very scared. Anyway, I will make sure she doesnt bring anything to raise a problem like you suggested. I think I will make a word doc detailing my number and her situation for them to print out and take with her that she can give anyone if she runs into problems
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EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
Dec 4th, 2018 2:01 pm
For airfares, I'm sure most would tell you to just use Google Flights (or its more advanced back-end, ITA Matrix), Momondo, Kayak, the usual suspects. Doubtful a regular travel agent can significantly beat those prices as they're looking at the same system. Stay away from Priceline et al as those would probably route her through the USA (see below).

OK, the part I bolded out for you only applies if she transits through the USA. So whatever you do, do NOT book her on an American carrier (so avoid all routings through HNL, LAX, SFO, ORD... you get the idea). Because yes she would have to take herself and all her bags through US CBP and the Americans could give her a hard time, then recheck those bags through to Toronto. Pain in the ass not worth it. I strongly recommend avoiding USA transits for overseas even if you're Canadian. One less hassle to deal with. I'd also recommend avoiding airline changes (so don't make her fly, say, PAL to Tokyo then AC to Toronto), so she isn't having to deal with changing terminals at strange airports.

Can't read English? AFAIK, most public signage in the Philippines is in English and most Filipinos know enough English to get by. But with that in mind...

If you want to make it as easy for her as possible your best best is to fly her on Philippine Airlines on the NON-STOP (never use the D word... I explained in another thread why not to) from Manila to Toronto (and home again)., even if it's ~$200 more than the others... That way she gets on the plane over there and 15 hours later she's here. She'll have all Tagalog-speaking staff on the ground and in the air until the CBSA agents at Pearson. Make sure she doesn't try bring in stuff she shouldn't, like balut, duck eggs, meat, that kind of thing. Don't give CBSA any reason to pull her aside like you see on the Border Security TV show, since they sure love to check bags from Asia!

Now if somehow PAL comes up too expensive and you just have to make her change planes, make sure she's on an Asian carrier that does not transit through the USA. So, if you put her on Cathay Pacific she'll go Manila to Hong Kong then Hong Kong to Toronto. When she lands in Hong Kong she can show her onward boarding pass to any Cathay ground staff and they'll get her to the right gate. Same would happen if you put her on Korean through Seoul-Incheon, EVA Air through Taipei, China Eastern through Shanghai, China Southern through Guangzhou, Air China through Beijing, Emirates through Dubai (that's the long way around but if you wanna spoil her...) etc. The difference between these airports and the Americans is, if you're transiting through you do NOT go through their border security. You only do so if you're either exiting the airport or changing to a domestic flight.

Hope this helps! I'm no frequent flyer but I'm sure the others who are (and our resident travel agent - she knows who she is!) will chime in agreement or disagreement :-) And in advance I hope your mother-in-law has a safe enjoyable trip and I'm sure you and your family are looking forward to having her for the summer months.
My travel agent is always able to get cheaper fares than what shows up on Google flights/it's/momondo etc for transpacific and transatlantic

Also can book interline bookings that can't be booked online
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Gboard2 wrote:
Dec 6th, 2018 12:13 am
My travel agent is always able to get cheaper fares than what shows up on Google flights/it's/momondo etc for transpacific and transatlantic

Also can book interline bookings that can't be booked online
The OP needs to avoid interline bookings for reasons explained in the first post. He *could* try to go to a B&M agent, lay out his restrictions (nonstops preferred, no USA transits, and I'd also add no charters/LCC's) and see if the agent can beat ITA Matrix.
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check if you can get assistance (depending on her physical condition and how old she is). that way, the staff will take her from the plane to another plane.

one other trick i know people have done is write common phrases on large paper sheets in Philipino and English like - "I dont know English", "Where is the washroom", etc. you get the drift..

if the difference between non-stop and layover flights is significant, then i'd suggest to convince her to take the layover option. air travel is not as scary as it seems, there is rarely any opportunity to get lost and take the wrong flight. people are generally friendly and help the person looking for directions. only thing she has to do is be careful of her belongings and paperwork.
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Mr Bean wrote:
Dec 7th, 2018 2:16 pm
if the difference between non-stop and layover flights is significant, then i'd suggest to convince her to take the layover option. air travel is not as scary as it seems, there is rarely any opportunity to get lost and take the wrong flight. people are generally friendly and help the person looking for directions. only thing she has to do is be careful of her belongings and paperwork.
I still stand by my "avoid US transits" recommendation regardless of cost. The OP should totally avoid this no matter what.

So let's look at the layover options. It's not as big of a dealmaker as the US transits issue, but I'd also say the OP should avoid the Mainland China based airlines. Lots of bad reviews about their (lack of) customer service especially to passengers who don't speak Mandarin, delays, missed connections, etc. Not a good place to put a novice. I've heard about China Eastern planes parking far from the terminal in Shanghai (while better airlines get to use the jetways), so you have to go down the steep staircase to the tarmac and then either walk or take a bus to the terminal. Again, not a good place to put a novice.

If the OP just has to include a layover, you'd want to go with Cathay or EVA, or maybe Korean. Not the mainlanders and again, definitely not the Americans. Before PAL started flying nonstops to/from YYZ, people I know going to/from the Philippines almost unanimously chose Cathay for their trips, and for good reason.
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Oct 23, 2017
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GTA West
You may want to look into health insurance for your MIL while she is here. We had friends who brought their parents here for a visit last summer and they ended up with health issues during their stay that were going to be very expensive to deal with here.
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A quick Google Flights search shows February departure dates are cheaper (up to $500 less than March), can you have her come earlier?
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ellesdad wrote:
Dec 10th, 2018 11:29 am
A quick Google Flights search shows February departure dates are cheaper (up to $500 less than March), can you have her come earlier?
I'm going in mid-Feb and was able to get it for $1100 back in May with PAL. As far as I know, PAL is the only one that's direct. Even connecting through an Asian country is not worth it based on what OP is saying. Looks like you're going to have to eat the cost. March is also more March Break hence the higher costs. I suggest OP to move it to February if possible.
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at1212b wrote:
Dec 10th, 2018 11:31 pm
I'm going in mid-Feb and was able to get it for $1100 back in May with PAL. As far as I know, PAL is the only one that's direct. Even connecting through an Asian country is not worth it based on what OP is saying. Looks like you're going to have to eat the cost. March is also more March Break hence the higher costs. I suggest OP to move it to February if possible.
Don't use the D word unless you're referring to the plane that stops at YVR to pick up/drop off passengers. The correct word for the OP's MIL's flight is NONSTOP.
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It may be cheaper than $2,100 to have your wife fly over and bring her mother back, since you will find lots of well-priced options with a stopover. You also take away the worry factor about having your MIL get misrouted or missing her flight.
[OP]
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May 23, 2017
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Thanks for the responses guys. I cant reschedule for Feb because her Visa starts March 2nd. Also, i see that the prices are cheaper if I take exactly 3 months, why is that. As soon as I get over 90 days the price jumps alot. Right now I can get March 6th - June 6th for $1600 and on March 6th there is a family friend that will be on that flight to help her.
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