Although it’s still relatively early in the year, the uncertainty around the resumption of international travel is leading some people to focus their trip planning energy on 2022. Unless or until the situation improves, I’m going to keep an eye out for airfare deals for next year. At the moment, there is a good fare for travel to Portugal from Halifax that goes all the way to February.
Going Through The Motions
I want to mention that booking this fare does not appear to be a seamless process. I did however find this exercise to be at least a little useful in preparation for eventually planning a real trip. Not everyone will get enjoyment from searching airfares, but if you’re out of practice, it might help you be ready for when it’s time to get back on the horse.
Halifax into Lisbon and out of Porto ($582)
An open-jaw itinerary is very convenient if you’d like to venture beyond your initial destination as there’s no need to backtrack to catch your flight home. Even if it’s cheaper to fly in and out of the same city, it will cost money and time to return so you’ve got to factor that into the value of the ticket.
In this case, it’s cheaper to fly round-trip into and out of Lisbon. Indeed, it’s as low as $499 through summer and fall of this year and then as low as $512 in early 2022. Flights to Porto are in the $600s and with fewer available dates.
Halifax to Lisbon round-trip:
If you combine the two cities into one booking, you’ll end up with a fare somewhere in the middle around the high $500s or low $600s. In my opinion, that modest additional cost is worth it for the logistical convenience. And any airfare from Halifax to Europe in the $500s or $600s is a great deal.
Sample Flight Itinerary
When you get into the details of the flight options, you’ll see that returning from Porto makes the most sense. That’s because the departures out of Lisbon at this price are early in the morning – 5 or 5:30 am. But if you choose to fly home from Porto, you can catch a very reasonable 11:15 am flight.
These fares involve connecting through Paris or Amsterdam in addition to Toronto. That’s not ideal but choosing a one connection flight would double the price.
Saturday, January 29, 2022
Halifax – Lisbon (18h)
Connect in Toronto and Paris
There are also a couple of other possibilities with longer layovers.
Saturday, February 12, 2022
Porto to Halifax (17h 53m)
Connect in Amsterdam and Toronto
The flight home shows only one option on Google Flights but the layovers are very reasonable. Only downside is that you arrive back in Halifax after 1 am.
Total Fare: $582
This fare is available on several other date combinations as well.
When researching airfare, I always like to see the fare on the booking site to make sure it actually exists and isn’t just a phantom fare. The final page of a search on Google Flights will usually have links to an airline’s website or an OTA (online travel agency).
With these Portugal fares, there is a link provided to KLM which would usually automatically show the chosen flight itinerary and corresponding airfare from Google. However, this time it only displayed their initial search page and I could not get the fare from Google Flights to show up.
For Air France, there is no link provided by Google unless you’re booking a Lisbon round-trip. When I tried the multi-city on the Air France website myself, it spat out two options, both requiring an overnight in Paris on the way back at a fare of $596. If you’re fine with a very brief visit to the French capital and an extra hotel night, this is a pretty good alternative.
I generally prefer to book directly with the airline where possible, but I would book with an OTA if it means significant savings. The flight itinerary with the Amsterdam connection on the way home was bookable on Expedia.ca for $622, so a little more but still a great fare to Europe.
If anyone decides to take the plunge and book a flight for 2022, definitely read the terms of the fare closely so you’ll know what’ll happen if you can’t make the trip. Many travel providers are removing change fees but it’s important to familiarize yourself with the precise details applicable to your booking.
I’ve never been to Portugal but hopefully I’ll make it there someday. It will be interesting to see what airfares from Halifax to Europe will be like as time goes by and travel opens up again. There are rumours that travel will become more expensive in the aftermath of the pandemic but we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully good airfare deals like this will come along fairly frequently and there won’t be too many booking difficulties.