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Booking a flight

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How can I book a flight/flights to PI without getting fined if I need to fly sooner than originally scheduled? Let's say I'll book for a December flight, but in case an emergency comes up and I need to fly as soon as next month, how should I book the flight in order for it to be flexible?

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it depends on how much the flight costs. Sometimes it is cheaper to get a flight that you can only change if you pay the fee which could be cheaper to buy and pay for the change.... than buying the flexible ticket.



Marriage: 7/12/10
Filed I-130: 9/10/12
NOA1: 9/17/12
Transferred to NBC: 9/19/12
Sent to local office for adjudication: 9/21/12
RFE for Beneficiary BC received 12/13/12
Mail BC in response to RFE 12/17/12
NOA2: 12/20/12
NVC case number assigned: 1/29/13
Sent DS-3032 email: 1/31/13
Received DS-3032 / I-864 Bill: 2/1/13
Pay I-864 Bill: 2/5/13
NVC Accepted DS-3032: 2/12/13
Received IV Bill: 2/13/13
Send Completed I-864: 2/16/13
NVC Received I-864 Package: 2/19/13
AOS Package accepted: 2/26/13
Pay IV Bill: 2/28/13
IV Packet Sent: 3/2/13
NVC Received IV Packet: 3/4/13
Case Completed at NVC: 3/13/13
Interview date: 4/30/13


POE: pending

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Having flown back and forth more than two dozen times in the last 7 years, I would say, ALWAYS pre-plan your trips months in advance.

If for some reason you need to fly there with less than one month notice, expect to pay significantly more for your ticket.

January through early May, tickets are cheapest.

July though early September, tickets are most expensive.

You can only get a ticket with no penalties for changing your flight if you are frequent flyer (of high status), you are flying "premium economy", business class, or higher, or you fly standby (which really sucks).

If you have fly back because of a death in the family, you can usually get discounted tickets directly from the airline if you provide proof relationship and proof of death.

Otherwise, pay the higher price for a last minute ticket if you have/want to fly on short notice.

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I have never paid more then $150 to change a flight regardless of where/when I was going.

Relationship and I-130 Process

Sometime in October, 2011: We met online talking about Argentina.
Later in October: Met in person in Philadelphia and became good friends.
March 4, 2012: Became girlfriend and boyfriend, officially.
March 21: Gloria leaves the US at the end of her J-1 Visa.
April 9: Got engaged!
May 12-26: Chris visits Buenos Aires.
May 18: Got married in Argentina :) Happy day!!
May 29: Sent out I-130
June 4: NOA1 received.
August 17-20: Chris visits again.
September 22-29: Chris 3rd visit, Gloria's birthday!
November 11-January 5: Chris stays in Argentina almost 2 months, Gloria is happy!
December 28: NOA2 YAY!!!
December 31: Package received at NVC.
January 18, 2013: Got case # and IIN.
February 6: Case complete!!
February 11: Interview assigned.
February 25: Package received at Embassy in Buenos Aires.
March 18: Interview Approved!!
March 28: Visa received.
March 29: Houston POE

April 11: received greencard!!!!!!!

January 9, 2015: sent out form I-751

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Tickets are not cheaper if you buy them month in advance. You may have better luck to find a cheaper class the more advanced you purchase. However, time frame has little to do with price. Availability does.

If you are taking a flight with few people on it, and many classes open, you can purchase a ticket for the same price a few days in advance, that will cost the same as a ticket a few months in advance.

As well, sometimes last minute tickets are the cheapest. Many bulk ticket agents sell some of the cheapest flights on the plane, because they are selling the last seats that will not get sold(as opposed to a packed flight selling the last few seats in it's highest classes).

Also the rules you state do not apply to all the airlines. There are many. And they all have different rules.

Source=Years as a travel agent ;)

Very helpful, thank you.

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Which airlines? What type of ticket?

Whenever I fly, there is pretty much no availability for changing your flight.

Some airlines allow you a cancellation with refund within 24 hours of purchase only.

Some airlines do not allow a refund at all. Only credit, with a cancellation, re-booking, and fare difference fee.

Some airlines will let you do a change within 24 hours of your flight. Though this can be a $75 change fee, the flight needs to be for the same day, good luck on finding availability, and there is the fare difference, which will likely be considerably higher.

There are ticketing options that are more flexible. However, you are looking at a $500 ticket easily becoming $2,000. Not even worth it in the end.

Tough business these airlines. Best to make definite plans.

Traveler's insurance is only medical emergencies and apocalyptic "acts of god".

Any other reason, and it will not help you, only be another drain on the funds for nothing.

I don't really care about which airline, as long as it offers the cheapest flight to the Philippines, lol. There will be 2 adults and a baby flying so even if the difference is only a couple hundred dollars per ticket, it'll add up. And I'm never gonna fly fancier than economy class if that's what you mean by type of ticket. :lol:

Edited by itsy_bitsy

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There is not really a "cheapest airline" to anywhere. Too many factors come into play. The cheapest I usually find to the Philippines is on United. Lot's of layovers. Non-refundable tickets. It goes the old military route. California-Honolulu-Guam-Manila. It's a 25 hour flight from the East Coast. Also, it's an all US route. So, if you are travelling with Filipinos, there is no immigration issues changing planes in China or Japan. In fact, it's all domestic flying up till Guam. So only a 3 hour international flight to Manila! That also means the baby is free up to Guam. You could get $500-$600 per ticket. I think that's not bad?

Not at all. But 25 hours? OMG! I actually like layovers 'cause I get to see different places, lol. But flying with an infant is a different story, so I think I'd rather just pay double if it means just a single layover.

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