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Malindo Air has Delhi-Bali return ticket for 18k for March 2020.



One way ticket to Sydney, Australia is available for 14k

More such destinations are available for relatively lower fares for March 2020- You can check and book now.

Note that above is super saver fare- no checked baggage is included in this fare- but meals and cabin baggage is included. You will get entertainment and some comfort kit like blankets as well.

Thanks to Narayanan Hariharan of Passingports for the tip off.

Chennai-Bali direct flight by Air India is expected soon.

Related: Malindo vs Air Asia * Bali topview from Malindo window seat
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Mumbai people, if you are thinking of visiting Africa, here's a chance.

Above: Contextual image: Ethiopian Coffee tasting at Times Travel Fair in Mumbai, Feb 2019

Ethiopian airline has cheap tickets to Nairobi, Kenya- INR 24000 return for October this year. Flying owards to Kenya is lot cheaper than booking return ticket to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Only Mumbai-Nairobi is cheap. Delhi-Nairobi costs a lot more. Note that Kenya Airways has direct flight between Mumbai and Nairobi but that would usually cost you around INR 33000+

24000 return is not super cheap, but flights to Africa aren't very cheap in general- so if you have to go this is a reasonable fare. Ethiopian is a full service airline so meals, baggage etc are included.

I had seen a 22000 INR return ticket to Egypt (Alexandria) from Chennai on FlyDubai but that fare is not available these days.

You can also try other destinations on Ethiopian network but these are the ones I found cheapest.
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ANA or All Nippon Airways of Japan had announced direct flight between Chennai and Japan's Tokyo Narita Airport. After long time Chennai is getting some new international flights.

ANA was expected to launch daily service earlier but as of now is committing to only 3 flights per week. Flights will commence from October 27 and bookings will begin next week, from July 24.
At present cheapest option to fly to Narita is offered by either Srilankan (via Colombo) or Air Asia (via KUL)- it is possible to do a round trip at a lower price tag of INR 24000 to 38000 if planned well. [Check this post]. At this moment we don't know ANA's pricing- not expecting ANA to undercut Srilankan. At present ANA website sells Chennai to Tokyo ticket for around INR 60000 return, with one stop in Delhi or Mumbai with DEL-MAA/BOM-MAA operated by Vistara. The non stop flight needs to be cheaper than this- under 45000 INR will be super tempting. But at times non stop flights are also priced premium, to tap into business travelers who value time. Let us see.

Right now Vistara has neglected Chennai- doesn't fly to anywhere other than DEL and BOM from MAA. Let us see if ANA's entry encourages Vistara to connect more cities to Chennai...

Chennai-Tokyo will take around 10-11 hours of non stop flying.

All Japan travel planning info you may need:
1) Japan Tourist Visa for Indians

2) Useful Japan travel itineraries.

3) Japan trip on low budget- 77k all inclusive

4) 12 Experiences very unique to Japan

5) Japan Capsule Hotel experience 

6) One night at Hiroshima

7) Japan Bullet train experience 

8) All you need to know about JR Pass

9) Himeji Castle

10) Osaka from Umeda sky building

11) Bamboo forest, Kyoto

12) Kyoto city from Kyoto tower
Let me know when you book your ticket based on my alerts.
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Mysuru airport has an on and off relationship with airlines. Airlines launch flight from Mysuru, but after sometime stop the flight, most understandably because of low bookings.
Above: Mysuru Palace illuminated

Kingfisher, Spicejet, Jet Airways had all started flights from Mysuru but later stopped.

So far, TruJet was the only airline operating an evening flight between Chennai and Mysuru. Mysuru airport was otherwise left idle.

There's a good news now though. Air India has announced direct flights from Mysuru to Kochi, Goa and Hyderabad, apart from a flight to Bengaluru. These new flights have been announced keeping in mind potential air travel during the 2019 Mysuru Dasara. If you're trying to book for Jan 2020 or beyond you won't be able to book most of these flights, hinting that they might be suspended if demand is not sustained beyond tourist season.

As of now pricing is reasonable and bookings can be done on air india website.

Air India Alliance Air Mysuru to Hyderabad flight timing and fare
Air India Alliance Air Mysuru to Kochi flight timing and fare

Air India Alliance Air Mysuru to Bengaluru flight timing and fare

Air India Alliance Air Mysuru to Goa flight timing and fare

Mysuru is cultural capital of Karnataka and also provides easy access to Ooty, Wayanad, Madikeri and other nearby tourist spots.
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I spotted this machine at Bhubaneswar's Biju Patnaik International Airport this month.
I had spotted this machine at Imphal Airport last month.

These machines were just placed near the gate, not yet connected or operational. But I believe the intention is to use them soon- that's why they are procured and placed.

What are these?
This is a machine that can scan your boarding pass and if found valid, open the gate. Such machines are in extensive use in USA and Europe-very minimal staff and most people pass through airport gates without human verification.

This report says Bengaluru Airport has introduced one such gate on a trial basis earlier this year. Hyderabad airport is also allowing soft copy boarding pass. Rest of the airports in India are yet to catch up- the still require an airline staff to scan the boarding pass and let passengers through.

Automation is the way forward. Having automated gates has multiple benefits
- Less manpower needed- airline can save cost. At present, at least 2 to 4 staff from airline + one security staff man each gate- this can be reduced to just one person, just to keep an eye and step in if needed.
- Faster boarding- less gate time required and airlines can have faster turn around
- Saves environment as printed boarding pass is no longer needed.
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My first international trip was with Spicejet- Chennai- Colombo in 2011. Since then Spicejet has added several international destinations to its network- Dubai, Muscat, Hong Kong, Male and many more, but whenever I checked I didn't find their pricing cheap enough or tempting enough to book.

Recently as I planned a trip to North East & Kolkata I thought of making a short visit to Dhaka. Spicejet had a return ticket of Rs 7700 between Kolkata and Dhaka, which was cheapest at that time so I booked.

This post shares my flight experience.
Pre-flight
Spicejet made several attempts to make me buy Spicemax- costs another 1200 Rs + tax for CCU-DAC sector one way, gets me some extra leg room, a sandwich (officially called "meals", I call it piece of bread) and priority boarding. I declined to upgrade as I didn't see any value.

Kolkata-Dhaka
Kolkata Dhaka morning flight is operated by turboprop Q400 (Spicejet has two flights a day between CCU and DAC, evening one was on 737). Flight was at 7.20 AM. Spicejet sends default sms to all passengers to report at airport 3 hours before the flight. I reached at about 5 AM, more than 2 hours to spare. But row D, which was meant for Spicejet's international check-ins, was deserted inside Kolkata airport- there was no one. So I went to another row in which Spicejet Check-in was going on-after standing in line for 20 minutes my turn came- I was told to go back to Check-in Row D as this counter was only for domestic flights... (Kolkata airport has no separation of terminals)

I went back to Row D- now it was open and few people were ahead of me. If they are opening the counter only 2 hours before departure, why ask passengers to come 3 hours prior?

There was only 1 lady processing check-ins. No spicemax counter, no second person. There were about 7 to 10 people ahead of me in the line, but it took about 30-40 minutes to process them.
- Some people had not got their check-in bags scanned so were sent back and they would cut the queue and squeeze in
- Some would have more bags or overweight bags and would argue with staff and resist payment
- Some would take minutes to lift their bags and put on the scale- no help was around when needed

There was one person sitting behind the counter named "Wheelchair assistance"- he was probably checking visa details- I skipped him because I didn't know he is checking visa and when I realized there were 7 people behind me, so I didn't want to leave the queue and join at the end.

Around 6 AM a second staff arrived to man the second check-in counter. By about 6.15 I had my boarding pass finally. More than an hour wasted unnecessarily.

Security and immigration cleared under 10 minutes as there was no crowd at 6 AM

The onward flight on Q400 lasted just 25 minutes. Crew would serve piece of bread ("meals") before take off as they wouldn't have enough time to serve once airborne). This is my shortest flight ever. Even Chennai-Bengaluru is bit longer at 40-45 minutes.

Flight was on time.

Return flight
Dhaka Kolkata evening flight was on a 737-800. I was hoping it will reach even quicker-but it took 37 minutes- about 12 minutes longer than the turboprop Q400. My guess is this was out of some compulsion/operational reasons and not due to speed of aircraft.
 Looks like the aircraft was used by a German carrier earlier...
Spicejet tries to speed up boarding by allowing people in groups- like row 20-30 first, 10-20 next etc- but this exercise is futile as everyone get mixed up in the bus downstairs and when the bus reaches aircraft, those who got into bus last get to board the bus first- so row 1 to 10 will be actually boarding first, blocking path for Row 20-30 people, exactly opposite effect of what Spicejet hoped to achieve.

Noticed that spicejet also operates Guwahati-Dhaka flight. Also it seems Spicejet has discontinued "meals" on Spicemax domestic flight. Noticed Spice Biz being promoted in the SpiceRoute magazine, though they plan to replace the biz class with economy seats soon.

Notice that meals and drink are only on international flights now for Spicemax customers.

Kolkata Dhaka is half the distance of Kolkata-Imphal I had flown last month. Still because it is an international segment, pricing is 2-3x more than what a Kolkata-Imphal flight would cost.

Was good to fly Spicejet after long time. Even domestically, it has been about 2 years since I last flew spicejet. 
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Vietnam on your mind? You can fly cheap to a lesser known destination, Can Tho in Vietnam for cheap on Air Asia this October.
Earlier this year, Air Asia has started flying to Can Tho, a city in Vietnam 175 kms south of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city). Cheap return ticket to Can Tho is available for INR 15k from Chennai and few other Indian cities.

A smarter option will be to fly into Can Tho, then go north to Saigon, then visit Hanoi and return from Hanoi. This way you don't have to travel back to Can Tho. Return ticket from Hanoi to Chennai is priced same as Can Tho to Chennai.
Note that Air Asia is having an IT systems outage right now, so you can't book. But this is expected to be resolved any moment.

Read these posts for your Vietnam trip
1. Vietnam Visa for Indians
2. 10 things to know before planning Vietnam trip
3. Vietnam on Low budget
4. Vietnam tourist scams
5. Vietnam vs Thailand
6. Water Puppet Show, Hanoi
7. Halong Bay Cruise
8. Firing an M16 Assault Rifle.
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Super cheap tickets are available to Japan on Air Asia and Srilankan for travel in October and November 2019. Check this and plan your dream trip to Japan now

On Air Asia, you can book a Chennai to Tokyo Narita round trip for as low as INR 23000 return.
Option 1: Depart on 22nd October and return on 6th or 7th November- about 2 weeks trip for 24000 INR (Actual fare is bit less once you login to big account- I've not done so to show fares on adjacent dates)
Option 2:  Or depart early October and return by October 21st from Tokyo Narita- two to three weeks trip- about 26k INR
 Chennai-Japan Option 3: Or Fly to Osaka on October 19th, return on 6th or 7th November- for 25k.
Or Option 4 book two one way tickets-Fly to Narita as shown in Option 1 for 12k and return from Osaka as shown in Option 3 for 12 k- 24k round trip.

Points to note on Air Asia flight:
  • Above are regular fares- you will pay a few hundred less once you login using your AirAsia big account.
  • Chennai-Kuala Lumpur will be 4 hours, KUL to NRT or KIX is about 8 hours. (Read my Air Asia ultra long haul flight experience)
  • Air Asia fare shown above doesn't include meals and baggage, which will be extra.
  • Checked baggage from India to Japan return will cost about 7500-8000 Rs for a 20kg bag. Few thousand more if you need to carry 25 or 30kg or more.
  • For about 4 to 6 meals you would need during this long flight between India and Japan- it will be around INR 2500-4000 per person depending on your choice of menu. So that is about 10000-11000 Rs extra minimum for meals and bag. 24k+11k= 35k. 
If you can manage without checked bag, then Air Asia deal is very good.


Book Chennai-Tokyo return on Srilankan for 38k INR
If you need meals and baggage allowance, you might as well book on full service airline Srilankan. For various dates in October, November, Chennai to Tokyo Narita return ticket is available for 38k approx. Srilankan fare includes meals, baggage, in-flight entertainment, comfort kit etc.
So you might want to consider this as well. On Srilankan it will be about 1 hour to Colombo and then a long 10 hour flight to Tokyo Narita. Read my long haul flight experience with Srilankan (Colombo-Beijing)

Srilankan doesn't fly to Osaka or Haneda. On Srilankan I had once seen a lowest fare of 32000 return for Chennai-Tokyo. But such low fares may not return often. 38k is not bad, particularly since travel is few months away only and you don't have to commit years in advance.

I had visited Japan on AirAsia for about 20k in 2016. But getting such low fares is difficult now due to various reasons. The 23-25k shown above is fairly reasonable low fare ticket I have seen in recent times. Go ahead and book.

All Japan travel planning info you may need:
1) Japan Tourist Visa for Indians

2) Useful Japan travel itineraries.

3) Japan trip on low budget- 77k all inclusive

4) 12 Experiences very unique to Japan

5) Japan Capsule Hotel experience 

6) One night at Hiroshima

7) Japan Bullet train experience 

8) All you need to know about JR Pass

9) Himeji Castle

10) Osaka from Umeda sky building

11) Bamboo forest, Kyoto

12) Kyoto city from Kyoto tower
Let me know when you book your ticket based on my alerts.
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Return ticket to Andaman are available for about INR 5000 on most airlines for August 2019.
Available with multiple airlines and for several date combinations in July and August. If you've been contemplating a family trip to Andaman, you might want to book now. I had booked a ticket to Andaman for Rs 5206 way back in Feb 2019 on Air India-which now feels expensive compared to current rates on Indigo and Spicejet (if you manage to book without convenience fee). But Air India rate is now about 2k higher for round trip, and my ticket gets me a free meal, so I don't regret.

Expect to get some rains but it should be good to visit Andaman next month.

Check my other Andaman Posts for additional details
1. Plan trip to Andaman on budget without package

2. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose island, Andaman (formerly Ross Island)

3. Joggers' Park, Port Blair  - offers birds eye view of Port Blair airprot

4. Befriending pigeons at Port Blair

5. Review- Ross view hotel, Port Blair

6. Cellular Jail, Port Blair  Details, Show timings
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Looking to go somewhere next month?
While last minute bookings to various destinations are usually expensive, there's a cheap ticket available to Penang, Malaysia on Air Asia

If you can leave on 8th July and return 1 week later, return ticket to Penang from Chennai is available for INR 11200+320 convenience fee (net banking)= Total around INR 11500. (No bag, no meals)
Few other destinations in Malaysia- Lankawi, Kuala Lumpur are also available for similar price range.

This is a good price for last minute travel because tickets to Kuala Lumpur itself cost 12-15k if booked late. Being able to visit Penang for same price, that too with a week to spare is a good deal. Ticket prices are much higher for all other adjacent dates.

Note that during an Air Asia big sale Penang return ticket could be available for less-around 8000-9000 INR return. But for that you've to wait for next sale, book months in advance and risk losing it all if you can't travel.

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