There was a recent airfare deal for flights between Oakland (OAK) or San Jose (SJC) California and Maui (OGG) at $188 roundtrip.
It was a super low fare which quickly disappeared.
You might hear about amazing airfare deals and wish you could book them—but you do not live close to the available airports.
Well, that is why I am here and the purpose of this post.
From now on, when you hear of a fantastic deal, think “how will I make this work for me?”
First, become familiar with Matrix (ITA). Do it now. Don’t wait until you hear about a deal because the deal will disappear while you are learning how to use Matrix.
Second, become familiar with researching split ticket itineraries. Again, do it now. For reference, see my prior article: Find Cheap Fares With Multi-City Flights, and Save on International Airfares with Split Tickets. You may not have to go through all of them after you get the general idea of the strategy.
Now, when we hear about (or find on our own) crazy, unbelievable deals, then we are ready to employ some slick strategies and book some low airfares.
Let’s look at flying to Hawaii after January 6 from Dulles airport (IAD).
Here is a chart showing the lowest airfares for 5-10 night stays:
I did not include the chart for February as those fares more more expensive.
OK, so this is a snapshot of airfares right now. $918 is the lowest someone will pay to fly between Dulles and Hawaii (I selected OGG, KOA, and LIH–not HNL) for the month starting January 7 for a trip between 5 and 10 nights. Whew!
I do not know for sure but I bet the fares were about the same when the $188 fares were available earlier this week.
Next, I will try to find the best fare from any airport to Hawaii. I will look from Southern California, SF Bay area, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. Sometimes I will also look from PDX, SEA, DEN, etc. One time there was a great sale when the lowest fares to Hawaii were from Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Remember, though, that when there is an incredible airfare travel deal that this research step is not necessary. That is, I will try to incorporate the OAK-OGG $188 fare instead of trying to find some other cheaper fare.
Here are the results:
Most of the lowest fares are between San Jose (SJC) and Maui (OGG).
Booking today, I can save money on a trip between Dulles and Hawaii, if I can find a flight between Dulles and San Jose for under $521.
The above shows flights to SFO, OAK, and SJC. I figure I would fly in a couple of days prior. If the lowest fare is to SFO, I can rent a car and return to SJC or rely on friends or mass transit.
Here are the lowest fares only to SJC:
I can save money by buying separate tickets, even if I did not try to create some awesome interim vacation in the SF Bay area between flights. Looking only at the lowest available fares, it is $918 straight IAD-OGG versus as low as $709 ($397 + $312) for IAD-SJC and SJC-OGG. There is a $306 flight in February.
Note that I would have saved much more if booking the $188 deal.
Advantages to buying split tickets are:
- create your own itinerary and not follow the airline’s straight through flights. Instead of flying, for example, IAD-LAX wait 6 hours and then LAX-OGG (longer layover on return). With split tickets, I can fly in a day or two earlier (or whenever I want) and the same on the return. I could even create mini vacations in SFO one way and LAX on the return.
- select preferred airlines. Instead of flying only one carrier for the entire IAD-OGG trip, with split tickets I can choose airlines. I could fly JetBlue to OAK or Virgin America to SFO and Hawaiian Airlines to and from OGG.
- save money!
I always like to point this out, with the IAD-OGG itinerary, you make a connecting flight anyway. It will likely be in LAX, SFO, or even SJC!
By buying separate tickets, split tickets, you are not creating any additional inconvenience (except possibly baggage transfer).
So, in the future, when you hear about some unbelievable airfare, do not fret about not being able to do it.
For more split ticket examples, see my previous blog posts (mentioned above).
Have you booked split tickets? Tell me about it.