The Dniester River with Moldova on the left and Transnistria on the right. Photo taken December 10, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Soroca, Moldova.

Where are they going next? Back to Chisinau, Moldova on Tuesday. Then the Wednesday overnight train back to Bucharest.

Friday, September 6, 2013

We booked a strange flight deal...

Yesterday was a day for deals, that's for sure. And we LOVE getting a deal.

We've been looking for the cheapest way to get to New York City, and something came up yesterday that we jumped on. Kinda strange though...because the destination was to Philadelphia!

Let me give you some background.

Our Africa flight leaves from New York City's JFK airport on November 6. We will be in Nova Scotia visiting our daughter and her family prior to that. So somehow, we needed to make our way from Halifax to New York City before November 6.

There are three major airports servicing the New York City area. John F Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia, and Newark. We would have been happy flying into any one of these airports, so we had a lot of choice.

Having a lot of choice and being flexible are the keys to getting a cheap flight! Persistence is also a good quality!

First of all, we have enough "Air Miles" reward points saved up to cover this flight. However we would still be responsible for paying taxes and fees of $132 per person. And, the flights were not convenient because we would have to fly Halifax to Toronto or Montreal, then connect to a different plane to carry on the New York City. If you look at the map, you can see how stupid that is.

The red line is the direct flight from Halifax to New York.
Air Canada does not do a direct flight, and wants you to go through Montreal or Toronto, turning a two hour and twenty minute flight into six or seven hours!

United Airlines does a direct flight from Halifax to Newark, three times a day. But it's been listed at around $300 per person one way. This was the flight we wanted to be on, but I was waiting to see if the price dropped.

Remember when we told you about Google Flightsearch? I've been watching it two or three times per day for the last six weeks or so waiting to see if that flight came on sale. So yesterday morning, I checked it again. No change. Still going for $296. Then, I zoomed in to see if prices changed for surrounding airports and I saw that a flight from Halifax to Philadelphia was going for only $180!! That made no sense at all, so I clicked on it to see what the deal was.

Turns out, you flew from Halifax to Newark and then hopped on an Amtrak train from the Newark airport station to Philadelphia's 30th St. Rail Station. The rail station actually has an airport code due to United's codeshare agreement with Amtrak! So, you're actually on the $300 flight from Halifax to Newark, but you're only paying $180 for it! Some kind of weird glitch so I went to book it right away. It showed only three seats available at that price, so we're not sitting together. Who cares!

I checked it later that day, and it shows the flight as still being available, but now the price was back up to $270. Strange!! Today, it's showing at $275.

But we got our confirmation number, so we're happy campers. Oh, we have a couple of spare train tickets from Newark to Philadelphia. Anybody want them?? They're probably non-transferable but you can bet I'll check into the possibilities once we get to Newark. Maybe they have some value to them after the fact. I doubt it, but it'll be worth looking into.

So, all of our onward travel is booked up until next March!!! It's funny looking at the wide variance in deals that we got. Each one of the four flights was a great deal when compared to any other options, but some deals are better than others, that's for sure. Here's what we paid per person, taxes included...

Ottawa to Halifax $157.21   (594 miles 26.5 cents per mile)
Halifax to Newark $180.29   (602 miles 29.9 cents per mile)
New York JFK to Cancun $186.23 (1,546 miles 12.0 cents per mile)
Cancun to Guadalajara $ 43.01    (1,067 miles 4.0 cents per mile) This flight was 80% off!

So we went and did grocery shopping yesterday and ended up with some more great deals. The best one wasn't groceries. We were at a Giant Tiger discount store and they had a bunch of specials on the sidewalk outside the store. I saw some ladies fall jackets on the rack and I knew Ruth had mentioned wanting a new one. They were only $7 each!!

Ruth's new fall jacket. Brand new, only $7 plus 10% sales tax for a total of $7.70!


16 comments:

  1. Love those deals. Went to Walmart yesterday and Jim found a shirt for $3 on a clearance rack. Got to the counter and it rang up for a dollar. Sure can't beat that.

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    1. Love when that happens. You expect one price and think you have a good deal and then get surprised at the cash with an even better price, well done!

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  2. What route do you take from JFK to Namibia?

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    1. We will be on South Africa Airways from JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa. At 16 hours, one of the longest nonstop flights in the world! We have a short layover, then a local flight from Johannesburg to Windhoek, Namibia.

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  3. Just check the small print of your ticket as to what happens if you don't take up the rail part of the flight. In England if you book a return ferry crossing (often cheaper than a one way) you get charged the highest rate single fare if you don't take up the return leg and they just debit your credit card. Hoping you will be OK on that but as well to be warned.

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    1. Yes, I looked into that actually. From the research I did, the only risk is that you would lose any award points (StarAlliance etc) that may have been connected with the train leg of the trip. Apparently doing it in reverse and skipping the first train of the journey carries some risk in that you may not be able to print your flight boarding passes without having previously checked in for the train portion of the journey.

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  4. Amazing at the variance in prices related to the distance travelled.

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    1. It sure is! Kevin loves looking at numbers and statistics.

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  5. Simply amazing, Kevin. Unfortunately it takes a lot of time and people like my daughter and son-in-law (with 6 kids) are short on time. However they also get good deals by being wired into several different venues for flight costs. And, they make the older kids responsible for getting the best deals for their flights, etc. There are unbelievable discounts when one puts his mind to it.
    Ruth's jacket was a real find too - great.

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    1. Using Google Flightsearch (the link is in the post above), he said it takes him about 30 seconds to find the info and he did this a couple times a day to find the deal. We don't have the time either to spend hours searching the web that is why this is his go to site for the best flight deals.

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  6. Kevin you are just simply amazing. I spend as much time planning our RV routes and securing campgrounds and I don't get nearly the deals you do. Well done - jacket included!! $7.70 for a jacket is just unbelievable but then so is $43 for any air flight from anywhere to anywhere.

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    1. Kevin loves that Google Flightsearch, it makes things much easier, and yes we agree $43 for any air flight is a great deal.

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  7. I'll never understand airlines. On one trip, I needed to go to Iceland from JKF. I had to fly to London and then back to Iceland. Who thinks these routes up?

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    1. Yep, that was like us trying to get to NYC on a Canadian airline, just doesn't make sense!

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  8. Here is a tip my SIL gave me when pricing tickets. He said to clear out your cookies before you start a new search. I found it to be true that prices do change too. We just bought tickets from Missouri to Florida in December.

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    1. Kevin said yes, that is possible especially when using the airlines' websites but he isn't using their websites so he doesn't normally do that. Hope you got a good deal on your tickets too!

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