Bargain Fares

SEA to PEK

Hainan Airlines jet ready to carry us from Seattle to Beijing

We’re dying to take a Big Trip, but our professional schedules are not giving us the breathing room to be away for three or four weeks. So, we decide to use some of the online tools to find ourselves a bargain fare to an far-flung place for a week. But, not only do we want to minimize the cost, but balance the cost against the amount of time in transit (plane changes and layovers) to maximize our time at our destination.

We are regular users of Kayak,  and we also found alerts from Scott’s Cheap Flights, as well as Google Flights are great tools to hunt down airfare bargains. We picked a six-week travel window, and then set alerts for dates, and destinations.

And that’s how we landed on Beijing for a week. Some friends said, “Gee, that’s a long way to go for just one week.” And, we agree: it was a long way to go for one week. But, China is a very large place, and taking a week or two here and there to dive into a city or area makes more sense than trying to make a three-week mad dash from sight to sight.

We eventually found our best fare via Google Flights, flying with Alaska Airlines and Hainan Airlines, booking through Webjet.com. (Note: Webjet states on their site that they are transitioning to Flyus.com.) Although there are direct flights from SFO to PEK, we opted for a flight change in Seattle, which did not add significantly to our travel time, gave us a reasonable arrival time in Beijing, and cost $482. Such a deal! Now to plan our week in Beijing.

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