Tips & Tricks for Finding the Best Airfare

The view from Peace Hill Friday morning
The view from Peace Hill Friday morning

Hello everyone! So yesterday, we told you all that the island is open and ready for you all to visit. We mentioned how there were a lot of great airfares out there too. Well after reading the comments here on News of St. John and over on our Facebook page, I saw that not all of you live in areas where flights to St. Thomas are cheap. So today, we’d like to share some tips and tricks that we’ve found to be helpful when shopping for the best airfare.

The number one website, in our opinion, is Google’s ITA Matrix. For this site, you can type in your departure airport, destination airport (the airport code for St. Thomas, the airport you fly into while visiting St. John, is STT), the dates of travel, or if you are flexible, you can put in a month range. You can choose whether you want a direct flight, up to one stop, two stops and so forth. If you live near several airports, you can type in several airport codes in the “Departing From” box.

Google Matrix

Once you get your results, you can choose your flights two ways – as a completed trip or as individual flights. You can choose the option of your choice at the top right. I prefer to buy tickets as individual flights. That way you do not have to take the same airline both ways. You can also pick the times that work best for you.

You will likely notice that the cheapest airfares take an extremely long time to get here. You can click the “Duration” tab and choose how long you prefer your travel day to be. You can also choose which times you would like to depart and/or arrive.

Google Matrix Results

Once you find the best airfare, you can go ahead and purchase it off the airline’s website. You can also call, but there is usually a small fee to purchase tickets that way. The only downside to the ITA Matrix site is that you cannot purchase tickets directly from it.

Another website that works well is Google Flights. I use this when I want to go on vacation, but I do not know where I want to go. (You can obviously use this for a planned trip too.)

I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. I had a trip planned in September 2017, but Hurricane Irma hit and we weren’t able to take our trip as planned. Since then, I have been looking for inexpensive flights which are hard to come by when flying overseas. Well with Google Flights, you can simply type in “Italy” or “Europe” for a broader search. Looking for a stateside adventure, type in “Florida” or any other region that you may want to visit.

Once you do so, a map will pop up with the best airfares during the next six months. If your dates are firm, you can choose specific dates too. It’s a pretty cool website but better for those with lots of flexibility. Check it out:

google flights

But now, let’s get back to those of you trying to plan a trip here. If you happen to be near an airport where Southwest flies, you can purchase a ticket to San Juan, Puerto Rico (airport code SJU). (Southwest does not fly into St. Thomas. You can also purchase a one-way ticket to San Juan on different airlines.) From there, you can purchase a separate ticket to St. Thomas on either JetBlue, Cape Air or Seaborne Airlines. The trick with this is that you can only bring a carry on bag. If you check luggage, you would have to go back through security and agriculture after retrieving your bag.

For those of you who are flying through San Juan, please know that the airport is freezing. So make sure to have a jacket or long sleeved shirt if you are forced to spend a few hours there.

Please take a look at these sites and hopefully you are able to find less expensive flights to visit us. And if you do, please let us know.

Thanks everyone and have a great Tuesday!

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