Toronto to Milan, Italy on Emirates | $574 roundtrip after taxes
Given how rare sub-$600 roundtrip flights are to Europe these days, and the fact that this Toronto to Milan flight is on one of the world's nicest airlines, Emirates (at least, the New York to Milan legs are), this is a pretty great deal, even if it is for the off-season. It's about 40% cheaper than the current bottom price on any other airline.
It's not the easiest deal to book, as it doesn't seem to be showing up on most booking sites, but I'll give a step-by-step example showing how it can be booked through Emirate's own site..
First we need to figure out which date combinations have the cheap price. There appears to be cheap dates available from October 2013 through January/February 2014.
Update 1: For about $60 more, you can go in March/April/May 2014. Some people have mentioned that you can actually get the $574 price in May by trying a different JFK-YYZ return option on American Airlines (rather than the default one). May 15-26 is one date combination that appears to work.
Update 2: Due to the popularity of this blog post, the example dates used below (Oct 24 to Nov 04) are coming back with a sold out error message on the Emirates website. You may want to try a different date combination when you get to the Emirates website.
Update 3: (Aug 21) - The cheap prices on Emirates look to have reappeared today, although slightly higher, at around $620 roundtrip after taxes.
Step 1: Finding cheap date combinations
1. Go to the ITA Matrix site.
2. Under 'Departing From' enter YYZ and choose Toronto Lester B Pearson, ON, Canada (YYZ) when it pops up.
Under 'Destination' enter MXP and choose Milan Malpensa, Italy (MXP)
3. Click on the 'Departing' box, the calendar will pop up. Choose October 1st.
4. In the 'Length of Stay' box, enter 10-14. This will search for date combinations of 10 to 14 nights. You can try other durations if you want, I'm just using this duration for the purposes of the example.
5. Hit Search
Now we see a calendar like this:
At this point, you can click on the date box near the top left and choose 'November 1' and then 'Update' if you want to browse fares for the entire month of November. Or search any other month that you want.
When you see a date combination that looks appealing, click on the departure date. It will say 'Searching for flights' and then come up with a screen like this:
We can see our departure date (Oct 24) and return date (Nov 04). You may also want to make a note of the departure times of the flights with the lowest amount of travel time.
Ok, so now we know which dates are cheap to fly. How do we actually book the flight?
Step 2: Book the flight through the Emirates website
1. Head over to Emirates.com
2. Click on 'Book a flight' (top right)
3. If you try to book a roundtrip flight, it won't work, as Emirates does not fly directly between Toronto and Milan. They connect through New York (JFK) with partner airline, American Airlines.
So what we need to do is click on 'Multiple destinations / Stopovers'. (It's right beside the Roundtrip / One way option)
4. Under 'Where and When' you can see the From and To boxes.
From: Enter YYZ and select the airport when it pops up.
To: Enter JFK and select the airport when it pops up.
Click on the Depart box, to get the calendar to pop up. For your departure date, use the departure date you found in Step 1. In my example, I would select October 24.
5. Now click on the 'Add a destination' (+) symbol.
This adds another leg to our journey. In the To box, enter MXP and select the airport when it pops up. In the departure date box, use the same date as above (October 24 in my case).
6. Click on 'Add a destination' again. This time, use MXP to JFK. For your departure date, use your 'coming home' date that you found in Step 1. In my example, I would enter November 4.
7. Click on 'Add a destination' again. Use JFK to YYZ. Use the same date as above (November 4).
The goal is really just to end up with something that looks like this:
8. Now scroll all the way down to the bottom right and hit Find Flights.
Step 3: Choosing our flights
This is where it can get a little tricky. You want to make sure to select flights that have good connection times in New York.
I would start by deselecting the 'Select All' option, and choosing just American Airlines for your interline carriers. Then hit the Save button.
Now you should see a lot less flights. You might want to choose the departure time you found on ITA, the flight that had the lowest amount of travel time. In my case, it was the flight departing at 17:35.
Make a note of when the flight arrives in JFK. In this case, it's 19:30. Hit 'Select This Flight'.
Now we select our New York to Milan leg. In my case, I would select the flight departing at 22:20, giving me just under a 3 hour layover in New York.
Then we select our Milan to New York leg. Again, we may want to use the departure time we found on ITA. In my case, the flight leaves at 15:00 from Milan and arrives in New York at 18:10.
Lastly, we select the New York to Toronto leg. I choose the one departing New York at 20:30, giving me about a 2 hour layover in New York.
Finally, we can review our flight and actually book it...
When you find a date combination that either works or doesn't work, comment below, it will help others.
I've always wanted to check out Cinque Terre, a few hours train ride south of Milan. October is apparently a good month for it, a lot less tourists, yet still warm.
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