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Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/1 08:15
Texas
Hello! I've been going to Japan annually for years, but airfare from Texas to Japan is starting to get so high that my annual trips may need to be cancelled. Tickets were around $800 USD when I started going, and last I checked, the absolute cheapest tickets I could find were about $1300.

Is it at all possible to get plane tickets from the central US to anywhere in Japan (preferably Tokyo area) these days without paying a minimum of $1300 just to get there?

Currently the cheapest options I can find are going straight through the United website, but I was wondering if some sort of travel service might be able to get me a better deal?

Thanks!
by dom (guest)  

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/1 15:58
I recently found Vayama.com and they seem to have best deals on international flights.
by J_S (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/1 20:46
I feel your pain, as I have also been going to Japan annually and have found the fares this year to be very frustrating. I managed to get a fairly good price by checking obsessively starting in January, and in early March I caught a very odd gigantic price dip on delta.com that only lasted 24 hours. Otherwise I would be tearing my hair out right now. Usually the prices for my time frame (late May departures) have dropped by now, but they are remaining very high this year, and even the departures for the near time frame (April through mid-May) are considerably more than I would want to pay. (For what it's worth, Haneda has been consistently cheaper than Narita or Kansai International.)

In the past, IACE and JTB, two large Japanese travel firms that have U.S. operations and web sites, used to have better prices on tickets than you could generally get from the airlines or other travel sites, but I have been sorry to see that neither company has been showing very good deals on their web sites this year (at least for the routes that I fly). Still, it's worth checking, and possibly even calling them up. In fact, their agents might be able to give you some suggestions as to how to get the best possible price. (Dates, routes, etc.) IACE and JTB are both reliable companies. (They also give you decent exchange rates on JR passes and don't add any extra charges other than delivery costs.)

This year I've noticed a disappointing trend in the ability of some of the major airfare search sites to capture the best fares to Japan. In the past I used to use ITA and Kayak, and they were quite good. But both of them have gone downhill. ITA seems to be a little better than Kayak, but I'm annoyed with the drop in quality since it changed hands. None of the other sites that I have occasionally checked are any better, though. Most of them give me seriously wacky routings and/or routinely miss the best prices. I'll look more seriously at Vayama, and if anyone else has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

I really hate the way airline tickets are priced and sold. Can you imagine buying any other product under the same conditions?
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/2 03:42
If you depart and return on weekdays it will cost less. For Spring travel, check the last week of January, 1st 2 weeks of February. For Fall, late July early August. The days of going to Japan for less than a $1000 are gone, unless its a last minute sale. Fuel surcharge plays a big role in that. My experiences are either flying out of BOS or JFK. Good luck
by Pat (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/2 06:10
Do you have any mileage with airlines that could lesson the cost? I think American has a promotion right now for a round trip economy through May to Asia for 40,000 miles.
by youth (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/2 10:49
I'm also going to Japan in late May and was shocked that prices keep going up. Even after spending miles, they tack on enough fees to make it a loss unless I earn enough miles for 100% of a ticket (almost there..)

I know the cost of fuel is always what kills things but hopefully as new jets that use less fuel become more common the price will go down a little (wishful thinking). Japan's tourism industry will die at this rate.
by dom (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/2 12:01
There are many Japanese travel agencies in US.
http://home.interlink.or.jp/~hsieh/yajiotravel/travelagency-e.html
Check them out. Some have gift card discount, cash discount, hotel package, etc. Generally they are lower than other on-line or US agents.
JR Pass exchange rate is adjusted every Wed. so ask for the current rate. You might save $, if you bet right to purchase before or after the adjustment. JPN may be further weakening against USD as it has been since Feb.but never know.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/2 12:14
IACE shows $1069.50 RT DFW-NRT in May. Check Sankei also which I use often.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/2 12:41
This might not workout for your area, but it is worth looking into.

I live in Colorado and first book a flight to LAX then from LAX to Haneda.

My ticket to Japan in late May costs nine-hundred dollars, while the tickets to and back from Colorado cost around 200

Not exactly 800, but perhaps you could lower the 1300 price tag to something like 1100 or so and not have to have a layover somewhere
by Ben (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/3 11:10
For what it's worth, Delta prices from my regional airport in the central U.S. to Kansai International dropped $700 today, between this morning and this evening. They were around $1800 this morning (ewww, no thanks!) and are now around $1100 (a little more palatable). They don't seem to have lowered their Narita fares.

This may mean nothing to people using other airports or carriers, of course. But some other routes may be seeing similar drops.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/3 11:13
Thanks for the tips, everyone! I've considered trying to go by plane to LAX and then LAX to Japan to take advantage of the LAX specials, but the costs seem to just add back up (especially with baggage fees added back into the picture).

I also noticed that United's flights to Osaka dropped dramatically today. I wonder what happened? It's now apparently cheaper to go from the USA to Osaka and then to Tokyo than it is to go directly to Tokyo...
by dom (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/3 11:14
Thanks for the tips, everyone! I've considered trying to go by plane to LAX and then LAX to Japan to take advantage of the LAX specials, but the costs seem to just add back up (especially with baggage fees added back into the picture).

I also noticed that United's flights to Osaka dropped dramatically today. I wonder what happened? It's now apparently cheaper to go from the USA to Osaka and then to Tokyo than it is to go directly to Tokyo...
by dom (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/3 14:06
IACE travel just posted an ad featuring midwest/east coast cities to Japan for under $1100.

http://www.iace-usa.com/jp/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&i...

What I really want is another promotion like they had in 2010 for a roundtrip priced around $600. But that was a anniversary special that likely won't happen for another couple years. Couldn't resist going on my first trip to Japan at that price.
by youth (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/3 20:25
Boy, IACE makes it easy to miss that ad! Thanks for posting the link, youth. For what it's worth, the fine print (at the very top right of the page) indicates that those fares are to Haneda. I am still not seeing good prices to Narita, at least not from my local airport. However, the lower prices to Osaka seem to be getting into search engines I've checked (except IACE's, which unfortunately has never worked for my local airport). Kayak sent me a fare alert this morning.

I was wondering what the airlines were going to be doing about all of the seriously empty planes I've been seeing. (For my own future reference, I have been continuing to watch prices and seat availability even though I got my tickets a month ago.) I figured something had to give, but I honestly did not know if there was even going to be a big drop this year like in the past. (Last year it didn't happen, but last year was completely abnormal on account of the natural disaster and the nuclear fiasco.)

That WAS a great price IACE had in 2010. I tried to get it, but unfortunately they didn't offer it from my airport. I did end up buying from IACE that year anyway, as they still beat everyone else's price. They continue to be a good resource, but more than ever it seems that you have to really work at it (and have good luck, along with nerves of steel) if you want to get the best price on tickets to Japan. I hate the process almost as much as I love going to Japan!
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best way to get cheap airfare to Japan? 2012/4/7 01:43
There is a US$886 from the west coast by Travel Tokyo all inclusive tax, fee, fuel thru April.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

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