Cheapest Way to Fly to India from US
What is the cheapest way to fly to India from USA?
Cincinnati-USA: This is an interesting question because there are hundreds of flights from US to India every day. In the past 9.5 years of my stay in the US, I have traveled seven times back to India. Couple of times from Cincinnati and 5 times from Los Angeles. Every time I landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
Below are some of the lessons I have learned from my experiences:
If you are close to or at a Port of Entry , tickets will be cheaper. By port of entry, I mean a major international airport. For ex : The major international airport closest to Cincinnati is Detroit or Chicago. Although, a lot of airports will call themselves “international airport” but it is because they will have a flight or two to some international destination. A port of entry has flights to a lot of international destinations. For ex : New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Seattle, Denver etc.
My tickets from Cincinnati were always expensive and ranged from $1100 to $1350 round trip because I had to get a flight from Cincinnati to a major port of entry airport such as Chicago or New York and then fly out there to New Delhi. When I moved to Los Angeles area, all of the sudden my tickets were way cheaper because Los Angeles airport is a major port of entry. My tickets ranged from $641 to $1350.
Although, I have heard and read a lot about high prices during holiday season (summer, Christmas time etc.) the key to get a lower prices during these times is to plan and purchase in advance. I have traveled in both seasons but was able to get a cheaper ticket by booking my tickets 5 plus months in advance. The closer you are to your travel date, the more likelihood of a pricier ticket. Airlines sell the cheaper tickets farther from the travel date. So, if you plan well in advance there is a very good chance of getting a cheaper ticket even during the travel season or holiday season.
Ticket price also depends on the duration of journey. Some of the cheapest tickets have more connections and may take up to 10 hours longer. I have never done this because it doesn’t seem to be worth the marginal savings compared to the shorter flights.
Lastly, some airline tends to be cheaper than others due to the route they serve and their origin country. In my experience, airlines from China (China Eastern, Air China, China Southern) are much cheaper than European Country such as British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa etc. These flights through China are much cheaper and the food is still good. One time I was served a meal with shrimp that was supposed to be vegetarian; however, I was later able to solve the vegetarian meal by calling ahead and requesting Asian vegetarian. Overall, I would say the quality of service was still good. Especially if you like kung fu movies … lol (a little less choice in entertainment than some other airlines). Also, . Additionally, these airlines allow you to check 2 bags of 23 kgs/50 lbs each as opposed to 1 bag.
To sum up, the cheapest way to fly to India is to plan in advance, not to picky about an airline, being close to a port of entry. Thank you for reading!
Edit: I modified the lowest price range for the tickets from LA to $641 from $900. I forgot to take consideration of a ticket I purchased for my wife.
by :Tarun Jaiswal, has lived in the USA for almost a decade.