Find Cheap Flights to Asia: Tips on When to Buy, When to Fly, Where to Go

Find Cheap Flights to Asia

There are numerous popular destinations in Asia, but most flyers from the U.S. head for (or transit through) one of these three nations, listed in order of popularity: Japan, South Korea and China. See if your favorite Asian country made the “most popular” list in the chart I created based on FareCompare data (below).


Listen as FareCompare’s Anne McDermott talks to Hong Kong-based Andrew Demaria, Editor-in-Chief of about the best (and cheapest) places in Asia, plus top spots for shopping, dining and fun.

Shop Five Months Ahead

On international flights, airlines typically release their cheapest seats about five and a half months before departure; don’t buy your airline tickets to Asia before then, or you could pay more than you have to.

As far as airfare sales to Asia, they are much less common than U.S. domestic sales, and highly route-specific, but the earlier you begin shopping, the better your chances of finding a sale.

Best Time to Fly to Asia

The cheapest days to fly to/from Asia can vary by airline and destination, but overall the biggest “cheap seat” inventory time period is for departures on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday, with typical discounts over weekend flights of $50 to $60 roundtrip.

Airfare to Asia: Roundtrip Prices

Prices from the U.S. to Asia in the summer of 2011 remain on the high side, and travelers will be fortunate to find airfare for under $1,000 roundtrip. The cheapest flights tend to be from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and you can usually save more if you are willing to fly connecting flights as opposed to nonstops.

Asia: Cheapest Time of Year to Fly

Asia does not follow the European pattern of distinct travel seasons with different airfare pricing; however, flights to Asia tend to be a little cheaper in the fall, spring and summer months while prices often rise dramatically for departures in December and January.

Asia Airports: Japan, Korea, China

These are three of the biggest gateways to Asia; click on the names to find cheap flights to these destinations.

Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT): This huge airport is located nearly 60 miles east of Tokyo and handles the majority of international flights; it is a hub for Japan Airlines as well as Delta and United and is also served by American, Continental and a host of international carriers.

Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN): One of the busiest airports in the world, this facility is about 40 miles west of South Korea’s capital and is a hub for Asiana Airlines and Korean Air. It is also served by Delta, United, and numerous other international airlines.

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK/BJS): Beijing’s main international airport is located about 30 miles northeast of the city center; it is served by American, Continental, Delta, United and scores of international airlines.

How Long to Stay in Asia

Generally, airfare to Asia allows flyers to stay two or three months without adding a premium to the airfare; typically, flights to Europe have a maximum stay requirement of just 30 days.

Passport and Visa Information for Asia

You will, of course, need a passport to travel to Asia but no visas are required for travel to Japan or South Korea. Find out more about specific country entry/exit requirements at the U.S. State Department’s website for international travel.



Published: July 5, 2011