Toronto to India | How To Get The Best Deal On Flights
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The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flights From Toronto to India
|There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on airfares from Toronto to India. They don't. |
They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there is really only one source of unique prices on flights from Toronto to India.
This guide will remove the noise and show you what that source is, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.
What are the unique sources of prices on flights from Toronto to India?
Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines
There are 21 major airlines that fly from Toronto to India, and they are: Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, ANA, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Air, SriLankan Airlines, SWISS, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.
How many major airports does India have?
There are quite a few airports in India that could be considered major airports. The 4 most common for people to fly in and out of from Toronto are:
- Mumbai / Bombay (BOM)
- New Delhi (DEL)
- Bangalore (BLR)
- Chennai (MAA)
The 4 airports listed above are typically the cheapest to fly in and out of. But there are also some other airports in India that the major airlines commonly fly into, and they are:
- Kochi (COK)
- Ahmedabad (AMD)
- Kolkata (CCU)
- Hyderabad (HYD)
- Amritsar (ATQ)
- Goa (GOI)
Where should I look to get the best flight deal?
All you need to do is search all the major airlines, preferably at once. My current favorite way to do this would be using Google Flights Explorer because you can just enter 'India' into the 'To' box, and see current airfares from all the major airlines, to all the major airports in India, at one time. Not to mention how easy it is to browse through different date combinations.
Even if you're planning to go for a longer date range than Google Flight Explorer supports (currently up to 2 weeks), it will give you an excellent idea of what the typical bottom price is right now, and which airline(s) it can be found on. Use it as a starting point, and then use a tool with more precise search options, such as...
My second favorite way would be to search using Kayak. It has all the sort and filter options I need, and searches all major airlines. Click on 'Make my dates flexible' and set it to '+/- 3 days'. You may be surprised how often being a little flexible with your dates can result in a better price.
With Kayak, you'll need to enter in the specific airport that you're interested in, into the 'To' box, one at a time. Or, if you know the 3 letter airport codes, you can enter up to 4 airports, separated with commas.
For example: BOM, DEL, BLR, MAA
What about the thousands of other sites that have airfares to India?
This is the noise. There is no shortage of travel sites or brands trying to convince you that they have the cheapest flights from Toronto to India. The truth is though, there's only one unique source of prices that they're gathering their prices from, and that's the prices from the major airlines themselves. They can't offer a lower price than the airline itself, as there's already virtually no markup.
There's a few reasons why I think Ontario travelers heading to India waste an enormous amount of time checking multiple websites, hoping for a better deal than the one they already found (studies show it to be an average of 22 different sites over 10 periods of research!). The first reason is just human nature. We all want to compare prices and make sure we're getting the best deal.
But I think the biggest reason is simply the noise of travel marketing. With so many travel sites and vacation brands competing for your attention, all hoping you'll book through them, combined with the fact that not one of them will *ever* admit to you that their source of prices is the same as everyone else, it's little wonder travelers waste so much time searching.
What about searching the airline's website directly?
There's nothing wrong with doing that. It's usually just a lot easier to search all of the airlines at once, with a better interface using a good search tool. It's amazing how poor many of the airline's search interfaces are. The fares found on any half-decent search engine will be the same as the fares found on the airline's own website.
One thing you can do is just use a flight search tool to search all the airlines at once, and then go to the airline's own site to book it once you've figured out exactly which flight you want, and what the price is.
Another thing to be aware of is that the more sophisticated travel search engines can combine flights from multiple airlines to find cheaper options, especially on international flights, that you won't find on the airline's website.
What about my local travel agency in the Greater Toronto Area or independent travel agent?
They're seeing the same prices you are. Depending on the agency or agent, they may or may not charge you a 'booking fee' on top of the airfare price, for their time. As there's virtually no markup on the cost of flights, they can't offer you a price that's any cheaper than from the airline, or from a search tool that properly searches the latest airfares.
When should I book an India flight to get the best price?
This is never an easy question to answer, as airfares are not 100% predictable. Airlines start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see. If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.
How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. Personally though, I am usually not afraid to watch prices on the major airlines up to about 8 weeks before departure in hopes of a better price without fear of the price rising. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.
What about last minute deals on flights to India?
Last minute airfare deals to India on the major airlines don't really exist. Typical of most airfares on the major airlines, as you get fairly close to the departure date, if the airline has done their job correctly, and filled most of the seats on the plane, they feel the last remaining seats become more valuable, and often decide to raise the price.
What's a decent seat price to India on the major airlines?
From Toronto, economy class flights to India on the major airlines tend to bottom out around $1200 - $1300 roundtrip after taxes. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year.
Airfare prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to India (such as dates when many people in Toronto have holiday time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.
What about one way flights to India?
One way flights to India on the major airlines can sometimes be a terrible deal. They can even be more expensive than a roundtrip flight! This is often the case with international flights overseas on the major airlines, unlike flights to destinations within Canada and the U.S. where prices are generally 50-60% of the roundtrip cost.
There can be some decent prices on certain airlines though, usually on Air Canada, Jet Airways, or Lufthansa, that are closer to 60-65% of the roundtrip cost.
One idea is to look for a good one way price out of New York City (NYC), which can sometimes have much better one way prices to India. And then combine that with a separate one way fare from Toronto to New York, which is usually pretty cheap.
What about direct flights to India?
From Toronto, there are not currently any airlines that fly direct to India. The fastest it can typically be done is with about 16 hours of travel time there (including layover time) and about 18 hours coming back, flying in and out of Delhi (DEL).
Some examples of flights with the the fastest travel time from Toronto to India:
New Delhi (DEL):
16 to 18 hours of travel time each way, such as United Airlines with 1 stopover in Newark each way. Or British Airways with 1 stopover in London each way. Or Air Canada with 1 stopover in Frankfurt each way.
17 to 20 hours of travel time each way, such as Air Canada or Lufthansa's flights with 1 stopover each way in Frankfurt. Or Jet Airway's flights with 1 stopover in Brussels or London each way.
17 to 23 hours of travel time each way, such as Lufthansa's flights with 1 stopover in Frankfurt each way. Or Etihad Airway's flights with 1 stopover in Abu Dhabi each way.
What about a multi-city flight? Such as in and out of different cities in India?
Searching for multi-city flights in travel is still a bit of a pain. Even Google Explorer currently can't handle it, as there's too many possible combinations. I'm sure eventually someone (likely Google) will put enough processing power behind it and create something useful for searching multi-city fares.
But for now, you're stuck with searching one departure date at a time when it comes to multi-city fares and experimenting with different destination combinations. Most of the decent travel sites will offer a multi-city option (it should be right next to 'one-way' and 'round-trip').
Kayak would be my preferred option here. Just click on the 'multi-city' option and in the first box, enter in Toronto (YYZ) to Mumbai (BOM), or whatever airport you want to fly into, and then in the second box, enter Bengaluru (BLR) to Toronto, or whatever airport you want to fly out of.
You never really know what you're going to get with a multi-city fare. From Toronto to India, it can often be around the same price as a typical roundtrip fare to the same destinations (or an average of the two). Sometimes it can be slightly more. In rare cases it can even be cheaper. Of course, you're still left with figuring out the cost of getting between the two airports.
One little trick I've learned with Kayak is to keep it on the 'roundtrip' option, and make your dates flexible (3 days before and after). And then in the 'To' box, enter up to a maximum of 4 destinations, using the 3 letter airport codes, separated by commas. For example, you could enter: BOM, DEL, BLR, MAA
This will search flights to all 4 of these popular airports in India at once, and look for cheap multi-city combinations into one city and out of another. Many of the results will just be the typical roundtrip flights, but when you scroll down the results, look for the airport codes that are highlighted in pink. These are the flights involving two different cities.
To use this method effectively, you need to get to know the 3 letter airport codes for the destinations you're interested in. Just Google the name of the city, followed by 'airport code' and you should be able to find it quite easily. (Google usually shows it at the top, or on the right hand side of the page).
What about budget fare flights to India from U.S. airports within driving distance of Toronto?
If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports within driving distance of Toronto, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from a U.S. airport to India that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than from Toronto.
How much cheaper it needs to be depends on which U.S. airport you're flying from. Below, I'll list how much cheaper I feel it should be from each U.S. airport, to be worth the drive.
From Niagara Falls, NY (IAG)
Flying out of IAG won't help, as there are no airlines that serve destinations in India.
From Buffalo, NY (BUF)
I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from Buffalo to India that's at least $225 less per person than a flight from Toronto. It could happen, although flights from Buffalo to India are usually priced fairly similar to flights from Toronto.
I think I've found a great deal on a flight to India!
Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YYZ Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of people from Toronto are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.
Why should I trust this Toronto guide on flying to India?
|The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other. |
The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so people can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.
But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YYZ Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!
I think I have some info that could help improve the India flight deal guide!
Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.
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