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Cheap airline options for holidays

April 03, 2004 12:52 IST

The financial year has ended and you've been burning the midnight oil for weeks to meet targets and get the paper work done. And that's not even mentioning the appointment with the taxman. You need a break.

There are two ways of going on a holiday: one, you take a package and leave everything to the tour operator and two, plan everything on your own.

A package undoubtedly works out cheaper than planning a holiday on your own. However, it has its restrictions in terms of the kind of accommodation, food, etc.

If, on the other hand, you are planning a holiday on your own and also need to stick to your budget, the first thing to do is to find a cheap airline. Airlines seem to understand this and low-cost airlines have become the order of the day.

Myanmar Air has recently entered Indian skies and is offering a Delhi-Bangkok return ticket for Rs 13,500. This is the cheapest ticket to Bangkok from Delhi. A close second is SriLankan Airlines with Rs 14,500.

In fact, SriLankan Airlines has become extremely aggressive and offers some of the cheapest fares to South East Asian destinations. Both Delhi-Singapore and Delhi-Kuala Lumpur return economy airfares are Rs 17,000.

If you stay in South India, a holiday to South East Asia is an extremely cheap option for you. If the quoted Delhi-Kuala Lumpur airfare on an airline is Rs 27,000, it is around Rs 16,000 for a Chennai-Kuala Lumpur airfare.

If you are heading westwards and flying from Mumbai, one exotic option is Yemenia Airlines. Flights from Mumbai to London, Paris and Frankfurt via Sanaa cost Rs 19,840. A flight to Johannesburg costs Rs 21,500.

Another recent entrant to India is Turkish Airlines on which a Delhi-Athens return economy airfare is Rs 25,000 and Delhi-London is around Rs 25,600. A cheaper option on the Delhi-London route is Uzbekistan Airways where the ticket is around Rs 21,000.

Surprisingly, however, the Delhi-Istanbul fare on Turkish Airlines is Rs 28,000 while Royal Jordanian Airways offers the same route for around Rs 26,000.

Turkish Airlines offers a return economy ticket on the Delhi-New York route for Rs 36,000. However, tourist traffic to the US has fallen in the recent past and is likely to fall further as visas become a problem.

As a result, you can get a Biman Air ticket to New York for around Rs 32,000. And you can fly to Los Angeles on China Eastern for between Rs 36,000 and Rs 37,000.

Egypt is one of the world's hottest tourist destinations and its fast becoming popular with Indians. If you are headed to the land of the Pyramids, you can fly either Royal Jordanian Airways or Gulf Air for between Rs 24,000 and Rs 25,000. For a couple of thousand more, you can also fly Emirates (from Delhi) or Egypt Air from Mumbai.

New Zealand is also becoming a very popular destination, especially since Bollywood and Hollywood have been making their presence felt there.

However, try as you may, a holiday there is not a cheap option. The cheapest airfare is for between Rs 37,000 and Rs 38,000 on Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines. Thai Airways flies for Rs 40,500 and Qantas for 43,000.

Comparatively, tickets to Sydney are cheaper. Qantas will fly you there for between Rs 28,000 and Rs 29,000.

If you would like to go for a package which takes care of your airfare and accommodation without bothering with your meals and sight seeing, therefore giving you enough freedom to do your own thing, take a look at the SriLankan Airlines packages.

SriLankan Airlines has tied up with Tourism Malaysia and is offering a package to beat all others. A three-night/four-day package to Kuala Lumpur costs Rs 17,999 per person. This includes return economy airfare on SriLankan Airlines, accommodation and breakfast for all days.

The airline has also tied up with Stic Travels and is offering packages to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Maldives. For instance, for Rs 14,300 plus $90 per person, you get a package which includes two nights in Colombo and two nights in Bangkok.

Similarly, for Rs 15,500 plus $120 per person, you get two nights in Singapore and two nights in Colombo. All packages include airfare, accommodation and breakfast.

South African Tourism has tied up with Kenyan Airways and is offering a six-night/seven-day package to South Africa for Rs 75,000 plus Rs 4,900 as tax.

This includes three nights in Cape town, two nights in Sun City and 1 night in Johannesburg. The cost covers airfare, accommodation, breakfast, all transfers and visa charges.

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Smita Tripathi