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Flights to India from SFO are expensive - HELP

Flights to India from SFO are expensive - HELP

Old Feb 17, 2024, 11:22 pm
  #1  
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Flights to India from SFO are expensive - HELP

Hi,

I travel with my family to India (MAA) from SFO every Summer. I have been traveling on Singapore airlines for a long time. Last two years, I have been traveling on United through connections in Singapore with the following itinerary:

SFO - SIN on United (on Economy and was upgraded to Biz class )
SIN - MAA on Singapore Airlines or Air India (on Economy). .

For the Summer 2024, I noticed that the Economy tickets from SFO to MAA is around $3400 for a stop-over in SIN, While Tickets on Singapore Airlines (SFO-MAA) with a similar itinerary are around $1800.
However, the following itinerary is cheaper, if bought it two different tickets.
SFO - SIN (on United) - Around $1500
SIN - MAA (on SingaporeAir) - Around $300.

Does anyone know why the connections on United ticket are expensive..? I feel if I buy two different ticket itineraries, then I will have to check-in again at SIN.

Any insights...?

Thanks
...mottai
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Old Feb 17, 2024, 11:40 pm
  #2  
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Lots of competition on the SIN-MAA route, including LCCs. No LCCs for SFO-MAA.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 12:40 am
  #3  
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SQ does not let UA access its discounted fares.

UA will check bags to the destination of the SQ ticket even as separate tickets, (if connection is less than 12 hours or not overnight).
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 12:41 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by mottai
Does anyone know why the connections on United ticket are expensive..?
Because UA is betting that people wont try breaking them apart. Also, becuase its really early for purchasing summer travel.

Originally Posted by mottai
I feel if I buy two different ticket itineraries, then I will have to check-in again at SIN.
I mean, thats not really true, but even if it were, wouldnt you check in again at SIN if a company were going to give you $1500 to do it?

A competent UA agent can check your luggage through to MAA and may even be able to print your SQ boarding pass, although if they cant, you can pick one up at the transfer desk at SIN. The primary disadvantage of buying separate tickets is that youre not protected in case of a delay or cancellation and delays on SFO-SIN are not uncommon. If UA gets you to SIN too late to catch your flight to MAA, SQ is under no obligation to rebook you.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 1:28 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
SQ does not let UA access its discounted fares.

UA will check bags to the destination of the SQ ticket even as separate tickets, (if connection is less than 12 hours or not overnight).
While yeah, that is the case in many cases, shouldn't be in this case. MAA is part of the UA-SQ agreement, and they should have a coordinated fare.

Originally Posted by mottai
Hi,

I travel with my family to India (MAA) from SFO every Summer. I have been traveling on Singapore airlines for a long time. Last two years, I have been traveling on United through connections in Singapore with the following itinerary:

SFO - SIN on United (on Economy and was upgraded to Biz class )
SIN - MAA on Singapore Airlines or Air India (on Economy). .

For the Summer 2024, I noticed that the Economy tickets from SFO to MAA is around $3400 for a stop-over in SIN, While Tickets on Singapore Airlines (SFO-MAA) with a similar itinerary are around $1800.
However, the following itinerary is cheaper, if bought it two different tickets.
SFO - SIN (on United) - Around $1500
SIN - MAA (on SingaporeAir) - Around $300.

Does anyone know why the connections on United ticket are expensive..? I feel if I buy two different ticket itineraries, then I will have to check-in again at SIN.

Any insights...?

Thanks
...mottai
I did a split ticket to BLR the same way last year. Not because of the fare per se, I was willing to buy the whole thing together - however, UA kept erring out on purchase, and so I ended up booking SFO-SIN on UA, and then booked the SIN - BLR segment direct on SQ.com. I would have been happy to book the whole thing on SQ, however, at that point, was too close to travel date and SQ only had Y fares on their flights. To avoid any issues with delays (I didn't have one), I booked the UA flight landing at SIN in the early a.m., then took the evening flight to BLR from SIN, giving me about 14 hours or so between flights, so that the chance of a delay messing up my connection was minimal - also gave me the chance to spend the day in SIN (never miss an opportunity to spend time in SIN, IMO.).

Just a note: give yourself extra time at checkin if you do this. While UA eventually was able to check me in all the way to BLR, it took a while. I'm not sure what the issue is, I remember the agent saying something about the fare class on the SQ segment not showing up as valid. A manager was eventually able to get me checked in, including bag tagged all the way and including a BP for the SQ flight, IIRC, but I think the whole thing took about 40 minutes. So definitely plan extra time if you do this. Also, if your bags are checked through, definitely pop by the SQ transfer desk on arrival to make sure they have the bags logged in their system.

Also I do suggest giving yourself a several hour 'connection' if you do choose to do this separately. While UA will generally rebook you no questions asked on separate all-UA itineraries, they are under no obligation to, and it would be misleading for anyone to suggest that SQ will definitely do it if you show up to your 'connection' late. So best to plan for multiple hours in SIN. My wife did something similar when she went (separately from me) on that last trip. She was connecting to TRZ on Indigo...she took the UA flight arriving in early evening, stayed overnight at Crowne Plaza Changi, then woke up at got her early a.m. flight to TRZ.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 7:34 am
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Or just set a Google flight alert (or keep checking yourself) and wait until the price drops. It likely will at some point. Theres no particular advantage to booking so far ahead, and there are definite advantages to having 1 ticket.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 5:28 pm
  #7  
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I was able to book the OPs itinerary last summer same price ($1800-$1900) though I bumped it to PremPlus for $2400 RT (Plus Points to Polaris cleared one way so I was happy enough). The SQ segments were issued in Q fare bucket. All on one 016 ticket.

OP - last summer there were two SQ flights, 8pm and 10:50pm departure out of SIN to MAA. See if the later flight is still there - for me that was the cheaper one.

Before last summer I have bought UA SFO-SIN / SIN-India as two tickets. At least 10 times - usually connect to SQ, rarely AI and once I think Jet. Just need to give extra time in SFO for a savvy agent to through-check the bags all the way.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 6:17 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by mottai
Hi,

I travel with my family to India (MAA) from SFO every Summer. I have been traveling on Singapore airlines for a long time. Last two years, I have been traveling on United through connections in Singapore with the following itinerary:

SFO - SIN on United (on Economy and was upgraded to Biz class )
SIN - MAA on Singapore Airlines or Air India (on Economy). .

For the Summer 2024, I noticed that the Economy tickets from SFO to MAA is around $3400 for a stop-over in SIN, While Tickets on Singapore Airlines (SFO-MAA) with a similar itinerary are around $1800.
However, the following itinerary is cheaper, if bought it two different tickets.
SFO - SIN (on United) - Around $1500
SIN - MAA (on SingaporeAir) - Around $300.

Does anyone know why the connections on United ticket are expensive..? I feel if I buy two different ticket itineraries, then I will have to check-in again at SIN.

Any insights...?

Thanks
...mottai
True, with these fares one might endup being a mottai

Best if you can split up as suggested, with the usual caveats.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 6:27 pm
  #9  
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guv1976 / WineCountryUA Thanks for letting me know that SQ is not offering discounted fares to United.

Thanks for the other responses. Based on the response, it is possible for the United agent at SFO to check the luggage all the way to MAA. Will it be possible on the return trip from MAA to check the luggage all the way to SFO ? SQ has a different luggage policy for flights from MAA to SIN.

Only other caveat is that I should allow sufficient time for my connection at SIN that accounts for any delays.

Originally Posted by uastarflyer
I was able to book the OP’s itinerary last summer same price ($1800-$1900) though I bumped it to PremPlus for $2400 RT (Plus Points to Polaris cleared one way so I was happy enough). The SQ segments were issued in Q fare bucket. All on one 016 ticket.
..snipped.
uastarflyer I did the same thing last year (one ticket from SFO - MAA on United), bought tickets in Economy and then bumped it to Premium Plus. I was lucky that we got 3 seats of 4, upgraded to Polaris. I am hoping we will be lucky this time too.


Originally Posted by emcampbe
While yeah, that is the case in many cases, shouldn't be in this case. MAA is part of the UA-SQ agreement, and they should have a coordinated fare.
I am going to call United to see if they would be able to the discounted fare from SIN to MAA.

Originally Posted by emcampbe
I did a split ticket to BLR the same way last year. Not because of the fare per se, I was willing to buy the whole thing together - however, UA kept erring out on purchase, and so I ended up booking SFO-SIN on UA, and then booked the SIN - BLR segment direct on SQ.com. I would have been happy to book the whole thing on SQ, however, at that point, was too close to travel date and SQ only had Y fares on their flights. To avoid any issues with delays (I didn't have one), I booked the UA flight landing at SIN in the early a.m., then took the evening flight to BLR from SIN, giving me about 14 hours or so between flights, so that the chance of a delay messing up my connection was minimal - also gave me the chance to spend the day in SIN (never miss an opportunity to spend time in SIN, IMO.).
..snipped...
.
emcampbe Thanks for the detailed notes about your experience. This is very much appreciated.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 7:31 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by mottai
Will it be possible on the return trip from MAA to check the luggage all the way to SFO?
I would hope so, but that's a question for the SQ forum.
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 11:38 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by mottai
I am going to call United to see if they would be able to the discounted fare from SIN to MAA.
Please do not do that. The agent will have no idea what youre talking about, and it doesnt work the way youve inferred anyway. WineCountryUAs statement, while true, is somewhat misleading in this case. The fares youre seeing are correct, and not a result of anything SQ is or is not doing with regard to the fare table. In this case, a UA fare (not an SQ fare) is being used;, and UA has an arrangement in place with SQ to carry passengers to MAA.

The primary reason that you cant get the lower price on a single ticket is that UA has written fare rules into its SFO-SIN fares that prohibit end-on-end combinations except for certian domestic UA flights. No agent can waive those rules, and youd be wasting your time and the agents by calling.

If SQ is offering a better price on a single ticket, why not fly them?
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Old Feb 18, 2024, 11:51 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by mottai

Thanks for the other responses. Based on the response, it is possible for the United agent at SFO to check the luggage all the way to MAA. Will it be possible on the return trip from MAA to check the luggage all the way to SFO ? SQ has a different luggage policy for flights from MAA to SIN.
If it is on one single ticket (SQ transfer to UA) SQ will check in 2 pieces free of charge to the US. A 3rd bag free for Star Gold. However these will be limited to 50lb not 70lb (SFO-MAA UA will allow 70lb bags for elites).

If it is 2 tickets you may get restricted to the weight concept of 25kg/person up to SIN (+20kg for Gold) if it is a cheap ticket fare. Also, the +20 will only be given to Golds on the itinerary. I learned the hard way.

Once in SIN head to Mustafa and load up between flights, as UAs very generous allowance will kick in
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Last edited by uastarflyer; Feb 18, 2024 at 11:58 pm
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Old Feb 19, 2024, 6:18 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by emcampbe
While yeah, that is the case in many cases, shouldn't be in this case. MAA is part of the UA-SQ agreement, and they should have a coordinated fare.
UA and SQ do not have an anti-trust immunized and revenue sharing JV (like they do with LH, AC, and some other carriers) and don't actually coordinate on fare filings. The higher fares OP is seeing on UA is due to the Flight Application section in the fare rules of the UA fares. The $3K-plus roundtrip fares (like VH100NCE/TPIN fare below) are currently the cheapest SFO-MAA UA fares that permit SQ metal.

This is not actually an issue with SQ not providing inventory on their flights to UA as some have speculated. Note that these are entirely UA fares (which cover the entire SFO-MAA itin - they are not hop-by-hop). SQ is not providing access to their fares as no SQ fares are involved in these bookings. They are only providing inventory availability on their flights to book UA fares on them.

As noted in a prior post, the cheaper UA fares on SFO-SIN cannot be combined with cheap SIN-MAA fares on SQ on a single ticket due to fare combination rule restrictions in the fare rules. There is no point in attempting to do this. They must be booked on separate tickets.





Last edited by xliioper; Feb 19, 2024 at 8:16 am
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Old Feb 26, 2024, 2:05 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
If SQ is offering a better price on a single ticket, why not fly them?
jsloan If I fly on SQ, I cannot get an upgrade to Business Class using my United miles or points. I have traveled twice on SFO - MAA (roundtrip) and we were upgraded to Biz class by United in the SFO - SIN and SIN - SFO route.

Originally Posted by uastarflyer
Once in SIN head to Mustafa and load up between flights, as UAs very generous allowance will kick in
A great suggestion :-) We get a lot of gifts whenever we visit the home land, but we do not bring similar luggage back to US. I do NOT think we can get that much from Mustafa.... It is funny you mention about Mustafa!!! I was once on a guided bus tour of Singapore and almost at the end of the tour(when the bus was near Mustafa) the guide mentioned that Indian tourists usually ask him that he has shown all the important places in Singapore, but were is Mustafa...
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Old Feb 26, 2024, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by mottai
If I fly on SQ, I cannot get an upgrade to Business Class using my United miles or points. I have traveled twice on SFO - MAA (roundtrip) and we were upgraded to Biz class by United in the SFO - SIN and SIN - SFO route.
Being able to upgrade SFO-SIN and vv should not be an expectation. It's a possibility, but that's all.
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