Air wars: How to get the best deals as fares plummet


Flying to London and back for less than $1000 is now possible (as long as you're happy to stop off in both Cairns and Manila).

STA Travel is currently advertising a deal with Philippine Airlines - a return flight to London, with two stops, for as low as $979 per person, including taxes and fees.

STA Travel website
The STA Travel website showing the cheap London return deal (without extra fees) (

Meanwhile airfare comparison website shows competitors offering similar flights between Auckland and London starting at about $1500.

Flights comparison website

How to find the best flight deals:

  • Search incognito. Flight prices are affected by the cookies in your internet browser. They can increase when a particular route is searched repeatedly, as prices are affected by demand. Clear your cookies or search in private mode for flights.
  • Use flight comparison websites. Skyscanner, Webjet and Momondo are good examples.
  • Be flexible with your dates. On flight comparison websites, find the cheapest day to fly by looking at 'whole month' view.
  • Pack your own lunch and fly on budget airlines.
  • See a travel agent. They actually are very good at finding the best prices, and can have access to special lower rates.
  • Look out for error fares. This is when an airline might mistakenly post a highly discounted flight because of a currency conversion error or technical glitch. The Secret Flying website shares the latest error fares from around the world.

In February, China Southern Airlines offered return fares to London for less than $1100.

"It's a real disrupter," aviation expert Irene King told The AM Show on Thursday.

"I think this is all part of a strategy by Philippines to upgrade their air service."

She says they've had a chequered past but have sorted out their problems, and it's a good sign that they are accepted in the United States.

The new low fare comes amid hopes of cheaper flights to South America, with New Zealand having just signed an air services deal with Colombia.

The deal is one of several in the pipeline to make it easier to travel to countries in Central America, Africa and Europe.