1. The Philippines is a paradise for cheap flights

The Philippines is a paradise for travelers who are constantly on the prowl for cheap flights. Affordable year-round prices are offered by Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia thanks to the popularity of air travel in the country and competition among airlines. These airlines fly all over the Philippine islands, mainly from/to Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Iloilo, and Kalibo.

Typical year-round airfares may cost between PHP1,000 to PHP2,000 per way for a 1-hour flight and between PHP1,500 to PHP2,500 per way for a 2-hour flight.

2. Promo fares are very popular

The cheapest flights in the Philippines are sold as “promo fares” during seat sale periods. These airfare discounts provide huge savings on travel costs, making it possible to travel extensively around the Philippine islands and beyond on a backpacker’s budget.

It’s possible to book one-way flights for as low as PHP17 to PHP200+ ALL-IN for domestic flights and as low as PHP1,200 to PHP2,000+ ALL-IN for international flights during ultra cheap promos like “piso fare,” “zero fare,” and “one centavo fare.” These rare seat sales only happen a few times a year, however. On regular days, airlines also offer promo fares that are not as cheap, but still very affordable.

3. Seat sales are offered frequently by major airlines

Promotions are announced multiple times a week, mostly by Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, and TigerAir. Philippine Airlines offers them less frequently, only once to a few times in a month. All promo fares are prominently posted on the official website of each airline. Here’s a list of airlines in the Philippines that are known to offer promo flights (popular airlines in bold text):

Airlines with Philippine domestic flights

Airlines with international flights only

4. Book promo fares online

Most promo fares are only available when booked online, directly through each airline’s respective official booking channels, which may include their website or mobile app. Purchasing tickets online is the best way to grab these fare discounts. Depending on the conditions posted on the announcement, they may also be availed through their call center, or ticketing outlets.

Keep in mind that third-party travel agencies, even if they are affiliated with or accredited by the airlines themselves, might not have access to all promo fares. These agencies would likely tell you that they cannot find the discounted fares in their system, and offer regular fares instead.

Promo fares can be bought just like regular fares. You can do it yourself using the online booking service of the airline of your choice. Many airlines now accept ATM and over-the-counter cash payment in addition to credit cards. AirAsia and Cebu Pacific does not usually require promo codes to view the discounts, but Philippine Airlines sometimes do.

Click on the links below to view our promo fare guides:

5. Carefully read promo conditions

Promo fares are only available under conditions posted on the announcement. Be mindful of these important details:

  • Selling period
  • Travel period
  • Seat Class
  • Is the fare for a one-way or roundtrip (return) ticket?
  • Booking channel where the promo can be availed.
  • Promo code, if available.

The selling or booking period on most airline promos are offered for a limited time only. If you want to avail of these cheap flights, you have to book your flights before the selling period is over. Promo fares are also only available for dates on or within the specified travel period. If your travel plans do not match the travel period posted or if the promo had already expired, you may watch out for the next promo announcement by visiting the airline’s website again on a later date.

Ever wondered why promo seats are sold at such cheap prices? It’s mostly because they come with less privileges compared to regular fares bought from legacy airlines. Depending on the airline policy, the fare conditions may fall upon these cases: date/time change, name change, destination change, refunds on fare and add-ons, missed check-in deadline or fail to board, travel details changes, and membership miles accrual.

When booking promos, it is important that you are flexible with your travel dates or plans so that you will not have to pay more if you want to change details on your flight itinerary.

6. Book fast before seats are sold out

Airlines offer limited promo seats per seat sale. Popular promo fares get sold out very quickly. It is important to keep updated with the latest promo fares announced by the airlines to be able to book plane tickets early.

Before calling them “FAKE,” you should know that limited promo seats are available for any given flight route. If the promo fares do not appear on the flight search results, the promo seats for that particular flight on that particular date might already be sold out. The airline also limits promo seats on certain dates and rarely offer them on “black-out dates,” which may include peak periods such as holidays, festival dates, and other busy dates for air travelers.

In case you cannot find the promo prices advertised on the announcement, you may follow these tips to confirm whether a promo is fake or not:

  • Make sure the promo has not yet expired.
  • Confirm that your chosen travel dates match the travel period posted on the announcement.
  • Check prices on other dates, perhaps days to months before or after your intended travel.
  • Check prices on other flight routes and destinations mentioned on the promo announcement.

7. Subscribe to promo alerts

It takes a lot of effort to visit each and every airline website just to check their latest promo fares. To make it easy for you to get promo updates, we regularly monitor promo announcements from Philippine Airlines as well as Cebu Pacific and AirAsia and post the best that we’ve found on our promo section. Here, you can check all the latest promo alerts in just one page.

View the latest promos from all major airlines in the Philippines by clicking here. You may also subscribe to our email alerts to receive free updates, directly on your inbox.

8. Know all-in fares, base fares, and additional fees

Airlines usually advertise “all-in” fares on their announcements, but they also sometimes use “base fares” to promote them.  A base fare is the raw fare price of the ticket and excludes additional fees such as fuel surcharges, airline service fees, government taxes, and airport fees.

The all-in fare should be the cheapest fare that you can book, but it does not include optional add-ons like check-in baggage, meals, travel insurance and may not include fees and taxes charged on departure from certain airports.

9. Get familiar with airports served by each airline

It’s important to know destinations and routes served by each airline so that you can narrow down your hunt for promo fares. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines operate the widest flight network in the country, while AirAsia only flies to a few, but popular tourist spots.

10. Avoid peak seasons

One of the best ways to purchase cheap flights is to simply avoid traveling on busy dates for air travelers. Peak seasons in the Philippines include public holidays, Holy Week, Christmas & New Year holidays (mid December to early January), major festivals, and public holidays.

Learn more about booking cheap flights even without a promo.

11. Consider flying to/from secondary international airports

If you are coming from outside the Philippines, consider booking flights to secondary international airports like Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo and Davao instead of transiting through Manila. Cheaper flights and promo fares may be available on those destinations. The same applies when traveling abroad from within the Philippines.

12. Consider flying to/from alternative airports

Many airports in the Philippines are within close distance from each other. Cheaper fares may be available on nearby airports instead of your primary destinations. After arriving, you may continue your journey on land or ferry. These airport clusters include:

  • Manila — Clark
  • Legazpi — Naga
  • Kalibo — Caticlan — Roxas — Iloilo
  • Iloilo — Bacolod
  • Cebu — Tagbilaran
  • Davao — General Santos
  • Cagayan de Oro — Ozamis
  • Cagayan de Oro — Camiguin
  • Butuan — Surigao
  • Surigao — Siargao
  • Dipolog — Ozamis
  • Ozamis — Pagadian
  • Pagadian — Cotabato

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