Last updated on March 19th, 2017
Have you ever dreamt of visiting India but flying expenses were always stopping you? Let’s be honest, if you randomly start searching for return tickets to India they can come up to 1000 USD. There are always ways to find great budget offers. In this post, I want to share tips, resources and personal observations from my numerous trips that will help you find cheap flights to India.
Where in the world can you get best flight deals to India?
There are so many factors that influence it. I will not bore you with statistics, but briefly, there are two main reasons that form the flight hubs for India:
Popular destinations where Indians migrate
Indian population is currently 1.25 billion people. Statistically, every 6th person in the world is Indian. Nevertheless, there are certain countries and regions where are more Indians. As a rule, they migrate to the countries where English is widely spoken (USA, UK, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore). Given the fact that English is spread in different areas of life in India it is much easier for Indians to integrate into an English speaking environment.
Secondly, there are many Indian immigrants in the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, etc) due to the development level and professional opportunities. The last but not the least, there are many Indians around South Asia historically – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal.
Where the most tourists come to India from?
Talking about foreign arrivals to India, most of the tourists come either from English speaking world or South Asia. Closer to the traveling season, there are hot flight offers from Europe and South East Asia to Nepal and Sri Lanka. If you are a long-term traveler you might consider spending some time in one of these amazing countries. Afterward, there are great flight offers from Sri Lanka to Kerala or Tamil Nadu in south India, or you can reach from Nepal to India by road within 1 day.
Why I’m making you bored with all these destinations? Simply because from these countries and regions you can find better deals.
Where to search for cheap tickets to India?
If you are traveling by yourself, you might be knowing many flights searching platforms like kayak, expedia, momondo, skyscanner, last minute, google flights, etc. I’ve tested many of them during different periods of time. Being from a developing country myself, every buck makes a difference when it comes to expenditures. Currently, I make up to 10 flights a year. For a long time, Skyscanner used to be my favorite website to find flight deals, though it was missing the flexibility of the starting point. Once I’ve discovered Kiwi.com, it became THE ULTIMATE flight management platform for me.
What do I love about Kiwi.com and you might like too?
It includes a radius search
That was one of the main features that beats skyscanner and other searching platforms. Basically, you can select a radius within X km from your city or any other place of the globe to consider nearby airports. Same works for arrival.
You can be as vague or as specific as you wish about your trip
With Kiwi.com you can filter your flights by different parameters. Below are the main features that will offer you everything required to organize your tickets:
- Type of the trip – one-way, return, multicity. I love multicity feature as it literally helps you to set the whole itinerary if you are planning to fly to several cities in one trip.
- Departure: specific date, date range or anytime. Unless you are bounded with specific dates, I always recommend choosing anytime. This way you will get the best deals available for all the dates.
- Return: specific date, date range, time of stay, anytime. I recommend also choosing here anytime. If you are planning to stay less than 1 month, you can specify the time of stay. For period more than one month choose a date range.
- Stops: here you can choose whether you want a direct flight or you don’t mind interchanges. I recommend selecting any. Kiwi.com always combines the best deals from different companies to form your route even if there are no direct flights available.
- Duration, times and airport formalities: here you can filter minimum and maximum duration of flights, set preferred timings for takeoff and landing and also define whether you agree with airport changes. I suggest leaving all standard settings unless you have certain restrictions. More flexible settings give you better options.
- Price – here you get three options – recommended (balance between price and length of flight); cheapest (better price, longer flight), shortest (more expensive as a rule, but the fastest)
Which air companies offer best flight deals to India?
If you are traveling often in the certain region, it makes sense to start a membership with the certain airline and collect miles. There are numerous companies that offer great deals. I had experience with Aeroflot, Air Arabia and Pegasus Asia (now Air Manas). I’ve had experience arriving in India from Russia (Moscow), UAE, Nepal. But: I will not ever book connecting flights from Pegasus unless there is no other choice. I had 3 interconnecting flights and an amazing deal flying from India to Europe for 200 USD. The first flight of Pegasus got delayed for two days and, of course, I lost my interconnected flights. In the end, it came to be much more expensive than I was planning to save. Afterward, I read that flights of Pegasus get delayed as a rule.
If you are traveling often to Asia, consider also Air Asia. It’s a low-cost airline that offers great flight deals around Asia.
General flight searching tips
1. Be flexible with the arrival destination
If you are planning a holiday in Goa, consider different airports around India. Though it’s so convenient to fly directly to Goa, the flights to Mumbai or Delhi can save you hundreds of bucks sometimes. India is very well connected with the train network and it’s quite easy to reach from big cities to smaller towns across India. Though consider that distances in India are bigger than it might seem on the map, so if you plan a holiday in the North of India, consider Delhi airport, in the south – consider Mumbai and Bangalore.
2. Don’t consider only direct flights
On the search platforms like Kiwi.com you can add the possibility to consider the nearby airports and connecting flights. Often such deals are cheaper.
3. Be flexible with the dates and times
The tourist season in India is from November to March, however, if you come in September – October or March, you can expect not only great flight fares but also accommodation discounts.
Which days are better to take tickets?
I couldn’t find statistics to back up this information, but according to personal observations, tickets from Tuesday to Thursday are often(not always!) cheaper. I think that’s because most of the people prefer to travel on weekends and take additional days that are close to the weekend. Whenever you make a search, choose a broader period of time for arrival and departure to compare different options.
Most of the great deals I bought were always connected to odd timings especially when it comes to low-cost deals – like late night arrival, or early morning departure or night flight with interchanges. Nevertheless, these small inconveniences gave me the possibility to see the world. The best return deal I’ve seen from Europe to South Asia so far was 260 USD.
4. Skip booking your seat in advance
Several airlines offer you a possibility to reserve a seat in advance to get a place you want. This additional service cost extra money.
5. Buy group tickets separately
In some airlines, when you search, they display the number of tickets left for that price. For instance, if there is one ticket left for promo fare and 10 for Economy, if you book for two people, the airline will not calculate 1 promo fare and 1 Economy, but will take 2 Economy, because this way you will spend more money. That is why you need to buy group tickets separately.
I think above are the main tips I used, use and will use while searching flights to India. What about you? If you have visited India, which other flying tips would you add?