My Canada Working Holiday Journey – Booking Flights

STEP 1 – DO MY RESEARCH

Okay! So first things first – do my own research to see what flights I can get. I’ve been able to find some direct flights, but most of them seem to have stop overs in LA, Seattle, Vancouver, Auckland, or China depending on the airline. I’ve gotten a good idea of what airlines and prices are out there though. Here’s my research summary:

  • Shortest direct flight time is with Virgin 14 hours SYD-VANCOUER
  • Main airline options: American Airlines (cheapest), Air NZ, China Southern, and Xiamen air whoever they are! Other option is to go with a mix of budget airlines like a Jetstar + Virgin but we all know they’re not worth it on long haul flights with the inconveniences involved like self-transfers, baggage getting lost in transit, longer transit times, lower standard of customer service overall
  • Cheapest option coming in with America Airlines around $670 but airline reviews don’t sound great!

Initially I was contemplating flying directly into Calgary and going to Lake-Louise for work straight away so I’d be looking at flights on the 2nd May. But since a lot of flights also stop in Vancouver first I thought I’d get a flight into Vancouver, travel around for a week then head to Calgary. If it’s gonna cost of the same or cheaper I might as well take the chance to explore one of the ‘most live-able cities in the world’. My thoughts on doing this then was to get a flight from Vancouver to Calgary then bus to Lake Louise. But after enquiring through the FB forum, I discovered an even better cost-effective option: an overnight bus! It would go directly from Vancouver to Lake Louise for around $100 AUD. BAM!

 

STEP TWO – ENQUIRE WITH TRAVEL AGENCIES

I went straight to STA travel because I went with them for Germany 2 years ago and got an AWESOME price I couldn’t actually find online myself. I got two quotes for my SYD – VANCOUVER enquiry:

24 April AIR NZ $777

26 April AMERICAN AIRLINES $661

These were the cheapest quotes, provided I also pay $30 for an IYTC in order to get these prices. Not sure how much more expensive it would be without the card.

I went between Skyscanner, Skidoo and directly on airline’s websites to see if I could get the same quote since there’s an opportunity for me to also get cashback through cashrewards 😉

 

STEP THREE – SHOP AROUND

I enquired with Student flights and Flight Centre as well to see what quotes they could give me. Flight centre came back with quotes around $1300/$1400 so that was way out of question! I told the lady I got cheaper quotes so no thank you. But she offered a potential price-beat guarantee which got me thinking!!! Student Flights came back with the same flight with Air NZ but for $860, so I asked about a price-beat guarantee. I’m currently waiting to hear back from both but here’s the summary of options so far:

STA TRAVEL Flight centre Student flights
24 April AIR NZ $777

26 April AMERICAN AIRLINES $661

Quotes $1300/$1400

Waiting on price-beat

24 April AIR NZ $860

Waiting on price-beat

IYTC $30

Lay-by $99, pay 10 weeks in adv

  Lay-by $250, pay 50 days in adv

 

FLIGHT SEARCH TAKE-AWAYS

  • Do the online flight search first. A majority of the time it’s cheaper booking flights online than through an agency
  • See what other discounts you can get – be it promos, gift vouchers, cashback, loyalty with a previous agency
  • Get agency quotes and shop around for ‘price-beat guarantee’ deals!

I don’t want to shop around for too long or I’ll never lock in these flights. The considerations I’m having now is that maybe a week is too long to spend in Vancouver so I should fly in a few days later. But flights go up a few hundred. On the other hand, the more days I spend in Vancouver, the more I’ll spend so either way I’m spending! Actually a week is time enough. Yes. Yes, let’s see what I can get that Air NZ flight for…

 

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