tips to book cheap international flightsYou got visa stamped and ready to go US. For most of you this would be your first time flying or first trip from India to US.

This post will help you understand the flight booking process and provide you with some air travel tips to USA. Cheap flight ticket from India to USA might not be the best always.

Air Travel Tips to USA

  1. Find a travel companion to the same university from your departing city.
  2. Book flights together (India to USA), if not get same connecting flight from second flight (if you have connections).
  3. Search for best airfare deal not the cheapest airfare (check with multiple travel agents)
  4. After you find the lowest priced ticket through travel agent, then shop online (or vice versa).
  5. Negotiate to get the lowest air fare to US
  6. One way fare is about 70% to 80% value of round trip fare.
  7. Register for frequent flyer account with the airline which you plan to book ticket.
  8. Provide the frequent flyer number to travel agent while issuing the ticket.
  9. Don’t forget about registering for frequent flyer account. After accumulating 25,000 miles, you can get 1 round trip ticket within US.
  10. Find baggage allowance before paying for the flight.
  11. You may have to pay $50 for the second suitcase (How to Pack Suitcase)
  12. Some airlines will allow students to carry 2 checked bags for free (23kgs or 50 lbs each) [List of things to Carry to US]
  13. Avoid certain airlines (know for poor customer service and frequently delayed flights and lost bags)
  14. Lowest fare doesn’t always provide best flight connections and options.
  15. First time travelers ask for Window seat. If you are tall, ask for aisle seat.

Flight Connections

  1. Most likely you will have to get connecting flight within US before you reach your final destination.
  2. Universities located in Major cities will have direct flight from India (Mumbai to New Jork) or direct entry from second connecting flight.
  3. Port of entry in US will be the first city where you land (not your final destination) [Port of Entry in US - Procedures]
  4. You have to clear Immigration and Custom procedures before boarding the next flight within US
  5. Allow atleast 3 hours between connecting flight, that will give enough time to clear customs and immigration procedures.
  6. You will have to take your suitcase and clear customs and check the bags-in for local domestic connection.
  7. If you miss the connection, don’t panic. Inform the person who will be waiting to pick you from the airport.
  8. Airline will get you on the next flight to your destination.
  9. Have some US Dollars in hand and atleast $1 bill to make phone calls. If not ask someone with cell phone if you can make a phone call.
  10. Find a way ( phone or email) to inform the party who  will be waiting to pick you from the airport, if there is a flight delay.

Flight Ticket Price

If you have already booked your flight tickets, post the route, airline and fare cost as a comment. It should give an idea to others and you may find a travel partner too.

I have lot more travel tips, so stay tuned to the latest blog posts. Do leave a comment if you find this post useful and share it with your friends (facebook, orkut, by email..).

See Also : Tips to Book Cheap International Flights for First Time Flyers

  • Nishant Gandhi

    Hi!
    Univ.- University of hawaii at Hilo, HI

    D.O.J- 11th-August-2012 @ 11.10pm

    Mumbai to New Jersey to Los angeles to Hilo

    Flight Time- 36

    Flight- United Airlines

    Let me know if any1 is trvelling same.
    Cost- 92,000

  • Madhusudhan

    Hello,

    I am supposed to travel on 25th Aug from Chennai to Boston (Via Mumbai, Heathrow ) and will be reaching boston on 26th Aug.. I am going to pursue MS degree in at Northeastern University. I have students orientation on 28th Aug 2012.

    I have 8:30 hrs connection flight timeover at London. but there is change in terminals b/n the second flight and third flight.Do I really need Transit Airside Visa at London? Anyways, As per the info in UK Border Agency website, it is clearly told that there is no need of transit visa, but not sure if this is applicabe for temrminals change. However, could anyone confirm the same.?

    Thanks.

  • Abhinav Mahajan

    Hi!
    Univ.- Northern Michigan University,Marquette,MI

    D.O.J- 19th-August-2012 @ 2.20am[18th late night]

    New Delhi to London Heathrow-Chicago – Marquette.

    Flight Time- 28 Hours.

    Flight- British Airways & American Airlines.

    Let me know if any1 is trvelling same.
    Cost- 62,000.

  • Nagarjuna

    Flight: Jet Airways

    Details: Hyd to syracuse via connecting flight at Chennai & New York.

    Date: August 18

    Cost: 69000.

    School: Suny Institute Of Technology-UTICA.

  • HeatherG

    Just found ur site, very helpful to many. I’m American interested in going to Mumbai for 2 weeks. What stopover/layover cities do you recommend? Went from Denver-Newark, NJ-Mumbai last time, but the 15+ hours from US to India was SO LONG!! What is good layover between US and India (London/Germany/Doha)? Thanks!

    • HSB

      Depends on how long you want to take layover break. Typical routes from NY to Mumbai are
      Paris(Air France, Delta), London(Virgin Atlantic, BA), Frankfurt(Lufthansa), Amsterdam(KLM), Dubai(Emirates), Brussels (Jet Airways, AA).

      Find the cheap fight among the above routes, then decide to take a break.

  • rohitha

    univ: cal sate-East Bay

    route: Hyd–London–San Fransisco(waiting time only 1 hr…same terminal no need to change)

    airways: British Airways

    tarvel Date: 7th sept morning 6:45 A.M

    Cost: around 47000/-

    Luguage allowed: 23*3 plus a cabin luguage of 7 kgs

    • redd

      hey
      British airways given me only 2*23 baggage,
      is there any 3*23 baggage for students,
      please let me know if it is there,.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Prasad.Edekar Prasad

    Oregon State University
    8th September 0110 hrs (7th late night)
    Delta
    Mumbai – Amsterdam – Portland
    45k

  • Nanogravity

    SUNY Albany
    13 August
    Emirates and Delta
    HYD – DUBAI – JFK – Albany
    48.5 k

  • ashish

    Louisiana State University
    Date of flight: 5th August
    Delta airlines and KLM
    Delhi-Amsterdam-atlanta-baton rouge
    Cost:46,782

  • Jibin Abraham Punnoose

    Kent State University
    Date of Dept: 15th Aug
    Air India& American Airlines 50500
    Cochin-Delhi-New york- Cleveland

    • JINO RAJ

      hiii jibin am jino frm muvattupuzha..will be going to US on aug 15th at 4.30 am frm kochin on emarites..can i have ur cell num.mine is 9562950171

  • Amit

    University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
    Date of Dept: 27th July
    Bangalore- atlanta- Clemson- Alabama.

  • AC

    University: Arizona State
    Date of departure: Aug 1st
    Route: Bangalore – Dubai – LA – Phoenix
    Cost: 41,155
    Airlines: Emirates (till LA), US Airways
    2*23 for the whole trip, one additional 1*23 offered by emirates for students till LA; have to pay 25/50$ from LA – PHX

  • Jagadesan

    University: University of Illinois , Urbana champaign
    Travel date: Aug 9 th
    Route: Chennai- Abu Dhabi- Chicago
    Cost:47600 INR
    Airlines: Ethihad
    Two baggages and a stop over is good.

  • Surendranath.E.K

    Univ: Western Michigan University
    DOJ: 14th August 2011
    Airlines: British Airways
    Route: CHENNAI-LONDON-CHICAGO-KALAMAZOO
    Fare: 56,940

  • teja

    Univ: Texas Tech University
    DOJ: 2nd August 2011
    Airlines: Emirates
    Route: HYDERABAD-DUBAI-HOUSTON-LUBBOCK
    Fare: 62k

  • Devi Prasad

    Going for :BRADLEY UNIVERSITY, PEORIA, IL
    Date of journey : 10th Aug 2011
    AIR INDIA 47 K INR
    BANGLORE-DELHI-CHICAGO

  • Subham

    State University of New York at Stony Brook

    Air India (Kolkata-Delhi-JFK, New York)
    Economy class (obviously !)

    Fare: Rs 39780
    date of Departure: 11th August 2011

  • http://tejindersodhi.com Tejinder Singh Sodhi

    I have been following the HSB since I planned to pursue my higher studies in the United States. Though I am yet to receive my grant and other admission related documents as the same is being looked after by my sponsoring agency, but the posts on HSB are really a great tool for a person like me who would be going to to study or the matter of fact flying first time out of the country.
    I sincerely thank HSB for taking all the pains to post the blogs which help the students a lot to know about the foreign land and how to move ahead.
    Since i joined HSB i have read almost all the posts and they were really helpful to me.
    Though I would be going to US on a J1 visa which is scholar exchange visa, i would like the people with prior experience of the interview of J1 Visa kindly post their experiences so that it can be of some help to people like me who are yet to apply and appear for the Visa.
    regards

  • priyanka

    thank you HSB :) you have an awesome blog :) it helps us for everything :)

    hats off to you :) for this

    • aditya shah

      yup true ur dng a gr8 job bro

  • Kaustubh

    Air France

    Cost : 41280

    Mumbai-Paris-Los Angeles

    Time between flights: 2hr 30min

    University of California Los Angeles

    • Kaustubh

      Or if you want to be more comfortable during journey

      you can opt for Premium Economy of-

      British Airways

      Mumbai-London-Los Angeles

      Time between flights: 2hr 25min

      Cost : Rs. 57,500

      Flight Duration : 22hr 55min

      University of California Los Angeles

  • Sandeepsingh Sisodia

    Air France

    Rs. 40,500

    Mumbai — Paris — Atlanta (Port of Entry) — Columbus, Ohio

    August 27th

    The Ohio State University

  • Vijay

    Hi aakanksha,

    There won't be any immigration problem. My college starts on 28th Aug 2010 but I reached USA on 1st July 2010. They will ask you for a reason at airport in India about why you want to travel to USA so early.

    You just need to give them a logical answer and things will be done.

    Thanks

    • aakanksha

      hello vijay,

      Thank you for the reply.

      What was your answer when you were asked about why you are travelling early?

      Is "got my ticket on this particular day" a good enough answer?

      Aakanksha

      • Vijay

        Hi Aakanksha,

        I told them that I have to attend couple of weddings of my relatives in USA staying in NJ & Denver and after attending the ceremony and staying with them for couple of weeks Ill leave for Texas to attend University orientation.

        Is “got my ticket on this particular day” a good enough answer?- No I don't think its a satisfying answer and the Immigration officer may end up asking more questions to you in order to check the validity of your motive.

        Thanks

  • aakanksha

    I came to know that students cannot travel to the US one month before their start of classes as it is not allowed at immigration.

    Is this news true?

    My collg starts from 23th of aug(orientation is on 19th aug) and I will be reaching US on 21st july.is there goin to be a problem at immigrations?

  • sreeram

    congrats for ur overwhelming job of helping us aspirations

  • Himanshu Gupta

    3 hrs beteween connecting flights……i have only around 2.15hrs to board the next flight from bangkok……would that be a problem..??

    travelling on 2nd aug by thai airlines,would change for the next flight frim bangkok to los angeles.

    • Vijay

      Hi Himanshu,

      2.15 hrs time between flights is sufficient. Anyways I will advice you to hurry up things at airport without wasting anytime.

      Thanks

    • Varun Kumar

      I have come from Thai Airways… from New Delhi to Los Angeles getting connecting flight from Bangkok…… man its a amazing experience… the most adventurous experiences of ur life. Anyways, when u reach Bangkok.. u gonna leave the plane and wait for the next flight. Please make sure when u land on airport just ask the authorities about the plane departure time and instructions. You will pass through security check and when u be about to get flight u will be asked to show ur I-20 and passport. Show them and wait for the exciting new world. Am so excited to remember my days. I came in 2009 to Los Angeles. Anyways, which university you are joining? Are you joining California State Northridge University or someone else? And don't worry about your time… 2 hrs is enough for it. I think your flight will take off around 11 in morning from India and then reach Bangkok around 4 afternoon according to their time. Then your next flight gonna take off around 7 or 8 something… the plane you will get in from Bangkok will be much bigger than the one you will take off from India. The airport of Bangkok is called Suvaranbhumi Airport and its very large, spacious and peaceful airport. Yah the Thai people working working there gonna seem like lizards… lol just kidding. When you be in flight… just keep on moving ur legs from time to time… drink more water and when u sit like too much time just go to bathroom and come back and again to bathroom n come back.. hahahaha thats the way u gonna get circulation in your legs… I enjoyed the movies alot while my flight. They have Bollywood, Thai and Hollywood movies. They also have a phone… like u can call from that phone by using credit card. You gonna enjoy man… don't be scared and don't be sad… wish you all the best!

  • Pratikshya

    Nice post Hsb keep up the gud work!

  • http://www.rakeshjha.in Rakesh

    Hi HSB, this article is a very good one and must come in as very useful for all those going to US.

    Keep it up…………………

  • Mehul Bhatt

    Jetairways

    Cost: Rs. 46,400

    Ahmedabad-New Delhi-Toronto (One stop at Brussels)

    Date- 29 August 2010

    Sheridan College (Davis Campus – Brampton)

  • srinivas gumdelli

    Flight: Air India

    Details: hyderabad-Chicago-denver-bozeman

    Date: August 4

    Cost: 58,566.

    School: Montana State University

  • Venkat

    Hi HSB ,

    This blog is really a boon to all the US aspirants and am happy i found this blog and am also suggesting some of my friends to look into this blog .Keep going with this good work :)

  • ramprasad S

    Lufthansa 39,100(booked on 27th of may for the travel on 22nd july)

    Chennai-Frankfurt-Dallas

    UTD

  • Ambrose

    Flight details :

    Chennai to Delhi(Jet airways) – time : 5 PM in chennai airport

    Delhi to Chicago(AA)

    Chicago to Wichita(AA)

    Date of Journey: 31st July

    Expected arrival date : 1st August

    Cost: Rs. 47800.

    School: Wichita State University

    Is there any one boarding from chennai ……..?

    Also how long will it take to clear the immigration (in Delhi)……?

  • Vijay

    Luftansa

    Cost-40,500

    Mumbai-Frankfurt-Dallas

    Date- July 5th 2010

    University of Texas at Arlington- UTA

  • Subha

    Flight: Air India

    Details: Kolkata to Chicago via connecting flight at Mumbai.

    Date: August 7

    Cost: 41500.

    School: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

    • Ananth

      Hi,

      Congrats for getting admit from UCIC :)

      Can u please post ur GRE, TOEFL scores and ur UG percentage?

      Would like to know what it takes to get admit from UIUC.

      Thanks

  • Rajkamal

    Hello Raghu,

    Your doing a great job. :) . This very post can allow users to find travel mates. I can tell that this blog is a boon to every student who is planning to go to the US. Keep this up….

    Thanks

    Rajkamal

    • Rekha

      Good blog. It is very usefull for all going to US for the 1st time. Thanks for all sharing the info. Keep up your gud work.