Saturday, June 18, 2011

Confessions of a Seat Sale Junkie (or True Story of How a Kaladkarin Booked Her Dirt-Cheap Flights)

I've always never liked flying. The first time I've stepped foot on an airplane some 15 years ago, I know an aircraft and I would never be the best of friends.

Coz I'm leaving on a jet plane...
I don't know if it was the accelerated speed during takeoff, the gravitational pull felt when the plane finally lifts off the ground, the thought of being thousands of feet up in the air and we could crash any minute, or the usual turbulence that sends my liver shooting to my throat that makes me detest abhor hate flying but I just do.

Vin and I onboard Cebu Pacific bound for Iloilo, sometime in 2009

Reality check though, it still stands as the safest, most convenient and fastest mode of transportation. And since the travel bug has bitten me a little over 3 years ago, I just need to stop watching Air Crash Investigations on Nat Geo, bite my lip and close my eyes so I could actually board a plane and fly to a destination in my wish-to-go-before-I-kick-the-bucket list.

Ate Lie and I onboard Philippine Airlines bound for Los Angeles, sometime in 2008

Gone, too, were the days when air travel were only for the can-afford, with several low-cost carriers appearing in the airline industry scene. I was running out of excuses to not  fly. :D

Larry and I onboard Cebu Pacific bound for Singapore, sometime in 2011

So how I do exactly book these dirt-cheap flights of mine?

With all the intricacies that go with it, it can actually be called a science. :D Just kiddin'! Haha! Here are some tips I can share though:

  1. I'm pretty sure you have Facebook or Twitter, right? Go Like or Follow the airlines' official accounts since they usually make the seat sale announcements first on these sites.
  2. Sign up on the airline's website and pre-register your information. That way, when you finally spot that promo seat, you're cutting your booking time in half since your information will auto-populate once you log in. This prevents other people snagging your cheap seat while you're there slowly typing in your home address. They also email you promo seats announcements by signing up but doing Tip #1 is always your best bet.
  3. Airlines usually release their seat sales during ungodly hours (06:00am, 12:00 noon, midnight) when everyone else is asleep or just waking up and usually during holidays (Christmas Eve, Independence Day, etc.) when everyone else is out partying or holidaying. So yes, lose a few hours of sleep and fun so you can book early and save thousands of pesos. You know what they say, early birds get the worm, angry birds get the pig. Or something like that. ;D
  4. Try and avoid the weekender dates when searching for promo seats. Almost everyone else will be fighting over Fri-Sat-Sun travel dates so try looking for weekday travel dates and just use your well-deserved leave credits for the actual travel. Sat-Mon days usually work for my booking dates.
  5. If you must, choose alternative routes. Of course, Caticlan (Boracay), Tagbilaran (Bohol), Coron (Palawan) and similar well-known travel destinations are usually the first ones that get snapped up. Try booking for Kalibo instead (1.5 hours by bus or jeepney and you'd be in Caticlan) or Cebu (2 hours by ferry and you'd be in Tagbilaran). By trying substitute routes, you still get to go where you wanted to and see other places too. :)
  6. To really go bargain, I don't purchase baggage together with my promo seat just yet. Once my travel dates draw near, I'll just make an add-on purchase for the checked-in baggage. Although it's not advisable, I also don't usually purchase travel insurance especially when it's just a domestic flight and I don't have checked-in baggage. I won't miss any connecting flights or lose any luggage anyway. I also don't pay extra to select a seat, just check-in early and choose your seat from there. That's several hundred pesos of savings from the airline tickets already.
  7. Get the best internet connection and browser. The airlines' websites usually clog up during seat sales because of the sheer number of people trying to book so having an ancient dial-up ISP connection will not help matters.
  8. Last but not the least, arm yourself with tons of patience. Yes, the website is extra slow. Yes, the promo seats get booked in a flash. Yes, you're not the only one hankering for an RT flight steal. If you tend to punch the fast-food cashier when he says they're out of McNuggets, then I don't think seat-sale hunting is for you. ;D

You might be thinking, do these tips actually work during seat sales? Of course! Late last year and this year alone, I was able to book several promo flights.

  • Manila-Cebu-Manila RT Ticket for 1 pax PhP 549.92
  • Manila-Iloilo-Manila RT Ticket for 1 pax – PhP 155.04
  • Manila-Cagayan de Oro-Manila RT Ticket for 1 pax – PhP 155.04
  • Manila-Singapore-Manila RT Ticket for 1 pax – PhP 3,804.96
  • Manila-Naga-Manila RT Ticket for 1 pax – PhP 467.04
  • Clark-Kota Kinabalu-Clark RT Ticket for 1 pax – PhP 1,334.75

Will somebody please fund my actual travels? Hahaha! :D

Some of these flights I've already taken and some of it will be in the near future. Now, I just need someone to fund my wanderlust wallet. ;D

Happy seat sale hunting!


  1. Do you have any seat-sale hunting tips too? Share 'em! :)

  2. grabe! andami! its really tempting to book as many flights as you are able.. pero i try to control myself from manic booking. ubos na pera ko sa gala.. la na natira para pampaganda. hihihi

    Happy Travellin'!

  3. @happysole - So true! I think seat sales are my new retail therapy. LOL! ;D

  4. and like you, i hate flying too! because it's boring. naiinip ako. haha

    nice tips! specially #5. find the alternative routes.

    my additional tip: subsribe to forums. like GT and PEx. ambilis mag-update ng mga tao jan. nauuna pa sa actual website ng airline! =)

  5. @Chyng - Uy good tip yan. Makapag-sign up nga, for next year's gala naman. Haha! :D

    Wait, kung bored ka sa plane rides, how did you survive the 12hrs Sagada bus ride? Haha!

  6. Haven't been here for a while, and I am glad I stopped over. Always something refreshingly entertaining to read. :-) Keep writing and blogging. :-)

  7. JWB - Aw, thanks for taking the time to drop by! :)

  8. wow!ano ung GT and PEx forums?ano po ung link.thanks!=)