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Scouring Google Flights for cheap airfare is one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve had multiple people express jaw-dropping surprise when I’ve told them you can catch deals to Europe for $400 round-trip if you’re patient and flexible and willing to fly budget carriers. There are often even decent deals on full service carriers, frequently for sub-$500 round-trip. It blew their minds.
I still get excited when I find an incredible deal. Lately, I’ve looked at different one-way ticket options to both Europe and Asia. Flying budget carriers such as WOW or Norwegian to Europe is the route you have to go. With full-service carriers, booking a one-way is basically as costly as a round-trip (if not way more costly). Flying to Asia is generally the same, although I’ve found you can find some decent deals on China Eastern, Delta or Korean at times. The best I’ve seen is a China Eastern ticket to more obscure cities in inland China for $230 via Shanghai.
A one-way ticket back to the U.S. for how cheap?
After finding a good amount of business class award space on China Airlines nonstop to Taipei from SFO, I started poking around on Google Flights to see if I could find a cheap return. If not, maybe I’d have to go miles. But I really don’t like spending miles on economy flights these days, given the number of deals that pop up (SEE: The folly and fallacy of using miles for economy tickets).
So imagine my shock when I found a one-way ticket back to LAX from Taipei via Xiamen for $201! This is a Chinese carrier I’ve barely even heard of, but what a deal. We could even build in a one-day layover in Xiamen for no additional cost, based on the layover options that I could find. I’d been tossing around the idea of taking the older of my two sons to Asia in the fall. But earlier in 2019 would do just fine.
The child ticket turned out to be even cheaper than the $201 adult fare I’d found. At $171 for my son, the deal is even better. It comes to $186 per person. At time of writing, these fares are still available for many other dates ranging from this fall through next spring. You can find many of them through the Chase UR portal for as well at the same price!
So I booked it. China Airlines business class there, Xiamen back to the U.S., with the final hop up the coast on Alaska Airlines. We’re going to see Taiwan.
Have I flown Xiamen? Nope. Will it be my first experience flying economy on a Chinese airline? Yes, it will. But I’m game for that. In general, I consider economy to be economy wherever you go, and there are few criteria that would get me to pay significantly more. However, sometimes you can find decent deals on better airlines. I saw one-way fares from the U.S. West Coast to Singapore last week on Korean Air, which is generally considered to have a good product and experience.
I guess what I want you to see most of all is that deals are out there. You just need to look for them. I’d never found anything this cheap. I’ve found numerous one-way fares on China Eastern for $230 to $290. Places include Beijing, Kunming, Hong Kong, Singapore and even Delhi. Yeah, it’d be brutal in economy. But it’s cheap. And you could always return on an award ticket or continue onward on another cheap cash fare. Reasonable one-way ticket pricing gives you a lot of flexibility.
Featured image courtesy of Boeing Dreamscape via Flickr under CC 2.0 license.
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xiamen airline is part of skyteam member, maybe you can earn some delta miles
I thought that initially. Unfortunately, the fare class doesn’t appear to earn miles with anyone. Even in Xiamen’s own loyalty program.