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10 Tips for Saving Money on a Flight to Tonga


How to Save Money on Tonga Airfares

Any money saved before your big trip to Tonga means more whale swimming, more epic snorkelling excursions or even another glass of refreshing Tongan beer! Sure, getting to these remote islands in the South Pacific is never going to be a cheap task. However, there are a fair few ways to shave the “pa’anga” off flights, which we go through in this list of tips for saving money on a flight to Tonga!

While you’re here, you might also be interested in How to Book a Cheap Flight to Tonga. Plus, for money-saving tips on domestic flights, see 10 Tips for Flying in Tonga.

1. Fly in the Low Season

The best time to fly to Tonga when looking for cheap airfares is during Tonga’s tourist low season. This is when the demand for flights are at their lowest, so airfares drop in order to entice more passengers. The low season in Tonga runs from December to May, where airfares tend to be at their cheapest. However, airfares don’t drop until the Christmas and the New Year period are over. Learn more about visiting Tonga in the low season in The Best Time to Visit Tonga.

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2. Avoid Flying on a Friday or Saturday

To narrow down the “best time to buy a cheap plane ticket” further, the best days to fly for cheaper airfares are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Prices creep up for the weekend on a Friday and on Saturday. Remember, flights don’t operate in Tonga on a Sunday due to Tongan law.

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3. Compare Flights on Comparison Websites

Flight comparison websites are a good place to start when searching for the best price on flights to Tonga. Comparison websites not only give you an idea of the possible routes from your departure airport but also show you the airlines available and display the prices. Once you have all of this information, we recommend talking directly to the airline to see if they can beat the price of the comparison website. Often, they’re happy to oblige in order to save on the commission they would otherwise have to pay to the comparison website.

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4. Use Private Browsing

A top tip for browsing any airline or flight comparison website is to set your browser to “private browsing”. Airline websites use cookies to collect browsing information and, in turn, increase airfares the more you search. Why? To encourage a “panic purchase”! Setting your browser to private browsing will ensure that this doesn’t happen to you and you’ll continue to see the lowest fares.

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5. Check Airfares from all Possible Departure Cities

Have you considered the best departure airport to get to Tonga? The closest airport to where you live might be an obvious choice to depart from, but you might find that cheaper flights that depart from other nearby airports. With that in mind, be aware that there are direct flights from the following cities so that you can compare: Auckland, Sydney, Nadi, Suva, Apia and Pago Pago. Learn more in the article Which Airlines Fly to Tonga?

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6. Use Two Different Airlines

If you need to take a flight to Tonga with a stopover in between, then consider using two different airlines! For example, Air New Zealand might offer flights from Los Angeles to Tonga with a stopover in Auckland, but you might actually find a cheaper flight by using another airline to get from Los Angeles to Auckland… It’s worth investigating!

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7. Book Connecting Flights Separately

In relation to the above point, it’s sometimes cheaper to book flights separately than all together in one booking. If you’re coming from North America or Europe, for example, it’s likely that you will need to take at least two flights to get to Tonga. While searching “London to Nuku’alofa” will bring up flights to book all together, we recommend comparing the full trip price to booking each flight separately. In this case, it might be “London to Hong Kong” then “Hong Kong to Auckland” then “Auckland to Tonga”. You’ll often find that airfares are cheaper this way. However, this will make the logistics of your journey a little more challenging, as you’ll likely need to retrieve your check-in luggage at each stopover. With that in mind, you absolutely need to leave enough time between each flight!

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8. Fly to Fua’amotu International Airport

There are two international airports in Tonga, Fua’amotu International Airport in Tongatapu and Lupepau’u International Airport in Vava’u. Due to the higher frequency of flights to Fua’amotu Airport, flights to this airport tend to be cheaper than international flights landing at Lupepau’u Airport. For more information, see What Are the Airports in Tonga?

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9. Be Aware of Extra Fees

While seat selection, in-flight meals and full access to entertainment systems are included in most long-haul flights, this is not the case for many short-haul flights to Tonga. So be aware that when going through the online booking process for your flight and you’re prompted to choose a seat, select your meal package or extra baggage, you’ll likely be charged an extra fee for it.

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10. Use Your Frequent Flyer Points

Many of us have been raking in the Air Miles/Airpoints/Flybuys or some other frequent flyer points for years now, not even realising how many points we have! If you’re on any of these schemes, it’s worth seeing if they can be applied to your flight to Tonga.

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Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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