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Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
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Barron Online
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Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
I'm currently living in Ukraine, and planning to visit family in the US for Christmas. After that, I'm looking to get out of the cold and discover South America before returning to Kiev. So for example, my route would be:
Kiev to SF
SF to Buenos Aires
Bueno Aires to Kiev

Does anyone have experience booking a trip of this sort and can advise on the best way to do it? So far all I can find are a bunch of one-way tickets which are the absolute worst value.

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(This post was last modified: 10-07-2019 07:27 AM by Barron.)
10-07-2019 07:26 AM
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Eazy_E Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
Skyscanner, Google flights, kayak, or any of those can do multiple stop itineraries.

Skyscanner showed about 1500 for that, but each flight had at least two legs. Doesn't help that since I'd those airports aren't huge.
10-07-2019 08:11 AM
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Seadog Offline
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RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
Absolutely, and it can be done, but you need to be super flexible, and have a bit of luck if you want a great price.

One of my starting points is secretflying.com which basically lists tons of great deals around the world. Mind you, these are often for specific cities, on either specific dates, or certain months, but other times its 5 city round the worlds, and a lot of times it won't so much be a specific city, as a specific "zone" and close by cities will be not much more.

Case in point. For my Africa safari trip I wrote up a couple years ago, I had to get to they were showing Barcelona to Singapore RT for something like $300.

I played with the dates, KUL was in same zone as Singapore so it was only like $20 more, and Brussles was in same zone as BCN so like another $20 more. Nairobi was not, so that added a fair bit more, but none the less I scored myself a nice little double open jaw BRU-NAI / KUL-BCN for about $550.

The other option is you have 3 possible single open jaws there, so look at each of those independently, then get creative for the one way. Some times a nearby city that's serviced by a super discounter (does SA have the equivilent of Air Asia?) will be significantly cheaper, particularly if its less popular with people with money. ie I saved $400 flying to Jakarta vs Bali, and then hopped over on AirAsia for $50. Granted it was like 8 hours stuck in an airport, but $40/hr to putter around an airport is a wage I'll take.

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all answer, airline hacking is almost as nuanced as game, and you can often approach problems from many different angles. Throw away legs at the end of a trip can also be a trick, ie Turkish Airlines IST-SIN flight was pricey since Singapore is a land of millionaires, stay on the plane for the final hop to Indo where everyone's poor, and you'd save hundreds of dollars, despite flying farther. Keep in mind on such legs you can't have baggage as that goes all the way through, and you also can't do it on the outward bound routing of a RT, or else they'll cancel the rest of your flight

Flyertalk.com is the mecca of airline deals and points hacking, but it is a rabbit hole.

Unfortunately, if your schedule is such that "I want to fly from city A to city B to city C then Back to A, each on one of these handful of dates" your options are going to be somewhat limited.

My thought process was along the lines of "I want to fly from western Europe to Nairobi mid Nov, then SE Asia to Western Europe in May"
10-07-2019 08:21 AM
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Barron Online
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RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
Thanks Seadog, +1

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10-07-2019 09:28 AM
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Dr Mantis Toboggan Offline
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RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
I've read that you can get much cheaper airfares in third countries by using a VPN to make it look like you're logging in from that country, never tried it myself though.

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10-07-2019 09:29 AM
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RIslander Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
Using credit card points with many having big signing bonuses allows for efficient one way travel. It would cost you around 120,000 points for 3 flights which if turned in for cash back would only be $1,200.

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10-07-2019 08:01 PM
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Cobra Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
Sign up for Scott's cheap flights. It's only $50 something for a year and with the types of deals you get, totally worth it.

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10-07-2019 08:33 PM
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gework Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
I mainly used Google Flights, which has a facility to search for open ended flights within a month or more:

[Image: Screenshot-at-2019-10-08-15-21-13.png]

Link

You've got a two leg flight to San Francisco in December for $256. I would go with that and book it fairly soon. I went from the UK to Bogota in December and booked it late. The prices were going up on a daily basis. December is a hot season for flights.

But looking I'm guessing it's those SF to Argentina and then back to Kiev flights that are the issue. I also noted that inter-country flights in SA are not cheap.

A good site for scrapping out cheap multi-flight routes is SkipLagged. A quick search for Jan 15 SF -> BA give one at $505:

https://skiplagged.com/flights/SFO/EZE/2020-01-15

But will take 51 hours. There is another for $550 at 33 hours.

A few days earler you can do it for $488, by flying all the way back to London:

https://skiplagged.com/flights/SFO/EZE/2020-01-12

If you check all the days in a week you may be able to root out a sensible, two leg flight where you could say, spend a week in Peru and then get a flight to Argentina. By checking all the days in the week, you will check most/all of the possible flight paths, as flights are not usually daily. I know these big flights are a drain. I once stayed up 52 hours for a two leg flight, but saved myself hundreds of dollars.

Sometimes I look at the destination airport Wiki to look what direct flights are available:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministro_P...al_Airport

But that doesn't seem to help that much in this case.

On your way back SkipLagged can get you back to Kiev, for about $550, but it will be a long flight:

https://skiplagged.com/flights/EZE/KBP/2020-04-15

So for BA, you are looking at (including taxis etc) $1,500-1,600 and a lot of air time.

Alternatilvey you can change your destination to Quito: $202 - https://www.google.com/flights#flt=SFO.....6;t:e;tt:o

or somewhere else in northern SA and cut it under $1,000.

There are flight brokerages that buy tickets early and then sell them later on the cheap. Using one of these I was able to get from Belgrade to Hong Kong for about $400; when everywhere else was saying $800. This was in peak season and booked within about 10-14 days. But it was from a Chinese company with a lot of bad reviews about booking the ticket, being refused at the airport and the company not responding. I got that ticket off CheapFlights.com, but they no longer seem to have their own engine.
(This post was last modified: 10-08-2019 07:55 AM by gework.)
10-08-2019 07:51 AM
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Seadog Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Best method for purchasing round trip air fare involving more than two countries
(10-07-2019 09:29 AM)Dr Mantis Toboggan Wrote:  I've read that you can get much cheaper airfares in third countries by using a VPN to make it look like you're logging in from that country, never tried it myself though.

Good point, have done it first hand, not so much a VPN, but rather using expedia.es (Spainish site) vs expedia.com or .ca.

I had to brush up on my Spanish to make sure when I entered everything I wasn't screwing it up, but again it showed me fares that were hundreds of dollars cheaper that try as I may for hours simply couldn't pull up on the other sites. The upside of the a financial crisis I guess.

matrix.itasoftware.com is in many's opinion the gold standard for (free) airline research, however it takes a bit of a learning curve. You can do your bog standard search of course, but also allows you to cite specific routings, airlines, alliances etc. or get a calendar of fares pursuant to your restrictions. ie "I want to fly from NY or NJ or PA airports, through london, ending up in Kiev, with up to one additional stop, for 14-21 days, starting Oct 15, solely on star-alliance" is in it's capacity if you know how to input it.

Then the problem that follows is sometimes fares aren't available, or they are and the booking engine on orbitz or whoever can't pull it up. In those cases you can break the flight into say a 6 leg multi flight itinerary, but essentially with a few hour stop at each location, such that you can spell out exactly what you want.

Additionally there are programs out there that are akin to what travel agents use, and will show on specific flights how many seats are available, the classes of seat (not business/econ, but rather Y, Q, X, C ect) which is extremely useful when trying to put together reward routings, but they all cost a token sum monthly and not really useful until you get to the advanced level.

As I said, rabbit hole, but the engineer/problem solver in me loves this stuff, and of course a bit of smug satisfaction outwitting the airlines who routinely screw people almost for kicks it seems.
10-11-2019 07:29 AM
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