Christmas steals: Cheapest holiday air travel deals

London for Dh2,200, Mumbai for Dh1,558... killer deals on

It seems flight deals this festive season refuse to let up, much to the delight of passengers who are now in a booking frenzy to grab those last-minute bargains before the Christmas and New Year peak travel period rolls around.

Emirates has launched yet another three-day sale across 30 destinations, which ends November 30, 2011 and offers savings up to 35 per cent.

And before you fret about blackout dates, this offer is valid for outbound travel till March 31, 2012.

If you are still unsure where to even start clicking for a bargain, Emirates 24|7 trawls the domains to put together the best flight plan for all those who are homeward bound this festive season.

The travel dates we have selected range from December 23 to January 2; as for the deals, they are available across the board as of today. 

Cairo, Egypt

Price deal: Dh2,230

Airline: Emirates

“Ever since the onset of the Arab Spring, I have had to curb my travel to Egypt; but this holiday season I am very keen on returning home to see the family,” Bassam Rafat, an accountant in Dubai.

With Emirates now on sale, until November 30, return airfare to Cairo on the carrier is costing just Dh2,230.

Available via: Emirates.com

Depart at 15.20pm and arrive at 17.25pm in Cairo Return at 12.15pm and arrive at 14.45pm in Dubai Karachi, Pakistan

Cost: Dh771

Airline: Flydubai

“This is wedding season in Pakistan, and I desperately want to get home with my family for the several marriages we have to attend, but the pricing is sometimes not feasible, especially on full-service airlines,” said Latifa Khan, a homemaker in Dubai.

We are quite sure even she would be packing her bags at a Dh771 return fare bargain on low cost carrier, flydubai.

Available via: Flydubai.com

Departs at 21.25pm and arrives 00.25am

Returns 1.10am and arrives 2.40am

 

Beirut, Lebanon

Cost: Dh2,194

Airline: Etihad Airways

With its close proximity to the UAE, over the years, the lure of Beirut is not just limited to those homeward bound for the holidays, but also to those looking to head to the party capital of the region over the festive break.

With budget carriers throwing up prices that range between Dh2,500 and Dh3,200, here’s a deal via Etihad Airways that still calls for a bargain during this peak travel period.

Available via: Ebookers.com

Depart at 12.40pm and arrive at 14.25pm in Beirut

Return: 4am and arrive at 9.05am in Abu Dhabi

 

Mumbai, India

Cost: Dh1,440 for one-stop; Dh1,558 for non-stop

Airlines: Gulf Air and Air Arabia

For the vast Indian population that resides across the UAE, the festive travel period can sometimes see an average Dh1,200-priced flight shoot north of Dh2,000, with a frenzy over the limited seats available for travel on this sector.

Here are deals that may be priced higher than your mean average, but at Dh1,440 for a flight with one stopover and Dh1,558 for a direct one, we aren’t complaining.

Available via: Orbitz.com and Airarabia.com

Gulf Air departs 9.20pm and arrives 4.55am, with a one-hour 15 min layover in Bahrain It returns 5.55am, with a 12.10 arrival, and a 2.5 hour layover in Bahrain

Air Arabia departs 23.50pm from Sharjah, arrival at 4.15am Returns at 21.25pm and arrives at 23.05pm in Sharjah 

 

London Heathrow, UK

Price deal: Dh2,205

Airline: Qatar Airways

“I am desperate to return home for Christmas and New Year’s and spend time with the family, but the ticket fares alone require me to rob a bank and then some,” said Amy Myers, a Dubai-based PR consultant.

Myers isn’t alone in her annual trek home over the festive period, with London being one of the most sought after sector during this season.

We found a return airfare via US-based flight booking engine, Orbitz.com, which makes her Christmas wish come true at a minimal cost of Dh2,205.

Available via: Orbitz.com

Depart 3.10pm, arrive 10pm, with a two-hour layover in Doha Return 8.30pm, arrive 9.15am, with a 55-minute layover in Doha

 

New York JFK, US

Cost: Dh4,767

Airline: Qatar Airways

For Jhanavi Thaker and her two children, this New York bargain deal at Dh4,767 not only allows the family to spend the festive season with their husband/father respectively, but also allows the kids to experience a white winter once again.

“Living in Dubai away from my husband has been taxing on the family, but we have had our reasons,” said Thaker. “I was, however, fretting over the Dh6,000 and up fares and wondering how we could all possibly spend this time together, considering my husband is unable to travel.

“These prices are the Christmas miracle I was looking for.”

Available via: Ebookers.com

Depart 6.40am, arrive 2.10pm, with a one-hour layover in Doha Return 22.50pm, arrive 10.45pm, with a one-hour, 15 min layover in Doha

 

Sydney, Australia

Cost: Dh6,082

Airline: Korean Air (with one sector operated by Emirates)

Shannon Morris, a Dubai-based investment banker says that after five years in the emirates, she has stopped travelling to Sydney over any public or festive holidays because the airfares quoted are enough to burn a hole in her wallet and give her heartburn.

“One of the fares I was quoted over this year’s festive period on a popular airline’s website was Dh17,580!” she exclaimed. “It was airway robbery if there was ever such a term coined.”

Morris, who said she was willing to endure a layover if it meant being home for the holidays, could grab this bargain at Dh6,082 while she still can on Korean Air. Here’s the skinny...

Available via: Vayama.com

Departs: 3.30am, arrives at 7.10am next day, with a three-hour layover in Seoul

Returns: 9am departure and arrives 5am next day, with a 6.5 hours layover Seoul

 

Manila, Philippines

Cost: Dh3,538

Airline: China Southern Airlines

Dubai-based music instructor, Marcos Ramon, returning home for Christmas and New Year means spending time with his wife and three-year-old daughter.

“It is a struggle to cover overheads every month and send money home at the same time for my family,” said Ramon, who also supports his aged parents.

He said that travel home is a luxury he usually can’t afford because flights to Manila usually reach Dh5,000-Dh6,000 over the festive period with a surge of passengers from Gulf countries.

But at Dh3,538, even Ramon is having a rethink to spend Christmas with his family.

Website: Ebookers.com

Departs: 1.40am, arrives at 4.35pm, with a layover of one hour, 45 minutes in Guangzhou

Returns: 12.10pm departure, arrives at 00.10am, with a four-hour, 40 minute layover

 

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