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Tuesday, November 21st 2017

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YLW." - Chris Myden



2013
20
February
Kelowna to Ixtapa | How To Get The Best Flight Deals


Guides >> South & Warm >> Mexico >> Flights from Kelowna to Ixtapa

The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flights From Kelowna to Ixtapa

Ydeals logo There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on airfares to Ixtapa. They don't.

They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there are really only two sources of unique prices on flights to Ixtapa.

This guide will remove the noise and show you what those sources are, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.

What are the unique sources of prices on flights from Kelowna to Ixtapa ?

Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines

There are 5 major airlines that fly to Ixtapa from Kelowna, and they are: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, and WestJet.

Where should I look to get the best flight deal to Ixtapa?

All you need to do is search all the major airlines, preferably at once. My favorite way to do this would normally be using Google Flights Explorer but unfortunately it doesn't yet display fares between Kelowna and Ixtapa.

My second favorite way would be to search using Kayak. It has all the sort and filter options I need, and searches all major airlines. Click on 'Make my dates flexible' and set it to '+/- 3 days'. You may be surprised how often being a little flexible with your dates can result in a better price.

In the 'To' box, enter Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (ZIH) as your destination.

What about the thousands of other travel sites that have airfares to Ixtapa?

This is the noise. There is no shortage of travel sites or brands trying to convince you that they have the cheapest flights to Ixtapa from Kelowna. The truth is though, there's only one unique source of prices that they're gathering their airfare prices from, and that's the major airlines themselves. They can't offer a lower price on airfares to Ixtapa than the airlines themselves, as there's virtually no markup.

There's a few reasons why I think B.C. travellers waste an enormous amount of time checking multiple websites, hoping for a better deal than the one they already found (studies show it to be an average of 22 different sites over 10 periods of research!). The first reason is just human nature. We all want to compare prices and make sure we're getting the best deal.

But I think the biggest reason is simply the noise of travel marketing. With so many travel sites and brands competing for your attention, all hoping you'll book through them, combined with the fact that not one of them will *ever* admit to you that their source of prices is the same as everyone else, it's little wonder travelers waste so much time searching.

What about searching the airline's website directly?

There's nothing wrong with doing that. It's usually just a lot easier to search all of the airlines at once, with a better interface using a good search tool. It's amazing how poor many of the airline's search interfaces are. The fares found on any half-decent search engine will be the same as the fares found on the airline's own website.

One thing you can do is just use a flight search tool to scan all the airlines at once, and then go to the airline's own site to book it once you've figured out exactly which flight you want, and what the price is.

Another thing to be aware of is that the more sophisticated travel search engines can combine flights from multiple airlines to find cheaper options, that you won't find on the airline's website.

What about my local Kelowna travel agency or independent travel agent in B.C.?

They're seeing the same prices you are. Depending on the agency or agent, they may or may not charge you a 'booking fee' on top of the airfare price, for their time. As there's virtually no markup on the cost of flights, they can't offer you a price to Ixtapa that's any cheaper than from the airline, or from a search tool that properly searches the latest airfares.

When should I book a flight to Ixtapa Mexico to get the best price?

This is never an easy question to answer, as airfares are not 100% predictable. Airlines start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see.

If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.

How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. Personally though, I am usually not afraid to watch prices on the major airlines up to about 8 weeks before departure in hopes of a better price without fear of the price rising. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.

What about last minute flight deals to Ixtapa?

Last minute airfare deals to Ixtapa on the major airlines don't really exist. Typical of most airfares on the major airlines, as you get fairly close to the departure date, if the airline has done their job correctly, and filled most of the seats on the plane, they feel the last remaining seats become more valuable, and often decide to raise the price.

What's a decent airfare price to Ixtapa?

From Kelowna, flights to Ixtapa tend to bottom out around $750-$850 roundtrip after taxes. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year.

Airfare prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to Ixtapa (such as dates when many people in Kelowna have vacation time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.

What about one way flights to Ixtapa?

One-way flights to Ixtapa from Kelowna can usually be had for 50-60% of the roundtrip price. Use the same search techniques as for round-trip flights, and just change the search option in your favorite search tool to 'one-way'.

What about direct flights to Ixtapa?

From Kelowna, there are not currently direct flights to Ixtapa on any of the major airlines.

The fastest it can be done is with about 7-8 hours of total travel time in each direction (including layovers), such as on WestJet's flights with a one hour layover in Calgary each way.

What about a multi-city flight? Such as into Ixtapa and out of another city in Mexico?

Searching for multi-city flights is still a bit of a pain. I'm sure eventually someone (likely Google) will put enough processing power behind it and create something useful for searching multi-city fares.

But for now, you're stuck with searching one departure date at a time when it comes to multi-city fares and experimenting with different destination combinations. Most of the decent travel sites will offer a multi-city option (it should be right next to 'one-way' and 'round-trip').

Kayak would be my preferred option here. Just click on the 'multi-city' option and in the first box, enter in Kelowna to Ixtapa (ZIH), or whatever airport you want to fly into, and then in the second box, enter Manzanillo (ZLO) to Kelowna, or whatever airport you want to fly out of.

You never really know what you're going to get with a multi-city fare. It can often be around the same price as a typical roundtrip fare to the same destinations (or an average of the two). Sometimes it can be slightly more. In rare cases it can even be cheaper. Of course, you're still left with figuring out the cost of getting between the two airports.

One little trick I've learned with Kayak is to keep it on the 'roundtrip' option, and make your dates flexible (3 days before and after). And then in the 'To' box, enter up to a maximum of 4 destinations, using the 3 letter airport codes, separated by commas. For example, you could enter: ZIH, ZLO, PVR, MZT

This will search flights to all 4 of these popular Mexico destinations at once, and look for cheap multi-city combinations into one city and out of another. Many of the results will just be the typical roundtrip flights, but when you scroll down the results, look for the airport codes that are highlighted in pink. These are the flights involving two different cities.

To use this method effectively, you need to get to know the 3 letter airport codes for the destinations you're interested in. Just Google the name of the city, followed by 'airport code' and you should be able to find it quite easily. (Google usually shows it at the top, or on the right hand side of the page).

Unique Source #2 - The Charter Airlines

There is currently only one Canadian Tour Operator that offers charter airfares to Ixtapa from Kelowna, and that is Air Canada Vacations.

These flights are not to be confused with Air Canada's regularly scheduled flights to Ixtapa like I mentioned under 'Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines'. These are charter flights that are normally involved with packages from Air Canada Vacations, but can also be purchased separately.

The charter flights typically operate on a limited schedule, such as once a week, and only in certain months. To Ixtapa, Air Canada Vacations is currently offering flights from Kelowna on Sundays, during the winter months.

Where should I look to get the best deal on the charter flights to Ixtapa?

Well, you could just search Air Canada Vacation's own website, since they are the only Canadian Tour Operator offering charter flights to Ixtapa from Kelowna.

There are also *many* travel sites and brands that sell Air Canada Vacation's charter airfares to Ixtapa. Most of them are based in Canada. This is the noise. You may already be familiar with some of the sites & brands that spend the most on advertising, such as:

RedTag iTravel2000 Flight Network Sell Off Vacations Tripcentral
Flight Centre Signature Vacations Sears Travel Escapes Marlin Travel

This is by no means a complete list of all the Canadian-based travel sites. The only important thing you need to know as someone searching for the best flight deal to Ixtapa from Kelowna is that they are all retrieving their prices from the same source, and all trying to sell you the exact same flights at the exact same prices.

One site or brand can't offer a lower price than their competition, as there is virtually no price markup on flights, and they can't legally change the airfare prices themselves anyways.

In other words, it is a huge waste of your valuable time to check any more than one of the Canadian-based travel sites.

A large number of travellers to Mexico have been fooled into thinking they are comparison shopping, since no travel site or brand will ever admit that their prices are identical to their competition.

When should I book to get the best price on charter flights to Ixtapa?

The advice I gave in Unique Source #1, about 'when to book' on the major airlines applies to charter flights as well. The one big difference though, is that there is a greater possibility of a charter airline offering a significant price drop around 4-6 weeks before departure (sometimes even less). The major airlines pretty much never do this, so you can typically 'wait it out' longer when watching charter airfares than when watching fares on the major airlines.

Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that a charter airline will drop their price, as it depends on whether or not they end up with some seats that they couldn't sell, which is an unpredictable event.

What are the drawbacks to flying with the charter airlines?

The biggest drawback is that if something happens with your plane (cancellation, delay, etc) or flight plans, the charter airlines probably won't be able to do anything for you, since the number of flights they have is limited. Contrast that to the major airlines who typically have more flights on a regular basis, and might be able to do something about it.

What about one way flights to Ixtapa on the charter airlines?

It is not always possible to buy one way flights on the charter airlines, as they are flights normally intended to be used as part of a package. And even when it is possible, the prices are not usually that great. I would stick with the major airlines for one way flights to Ixtapa.

What about direct flights to Ixtapa on the charter airlines?

From Kelowna, there are no direct flights to Ixtapa on the charter airlines. Air Canada Vacations usually offers their flights with a layover in Vancouver or Calgary in each direction. Sometimes the flights involve overnight stays and aren't very convenient.

What about a multi-city flight on the charter airlines?

Typically, it's not possible to get a multi-city flight involving Ixtapa using the charter airlines.


What about budget-minded flights to Ixtapa from U.S. airports within driving distance of Kelowna?

If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. airports within driving distance of Kelowna, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from a U.S. airport to Ixtapa that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than from Kelowna.

How much cheaper it needs to be depends on which U.S. airport you're flying from. Below, I'll list how much cheaper I feel it should be from each airport, to be worth the drive.

From Bellingham (BLI)

I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from Bellingham to Ixtapa that's at least $400 less per person than a similar flight from Kelowna.

Typically though, flights from Bellingham to Ixtapa are not significantly cheaper than from Kelowna, as it is a smaller airport, and it's strengths are serving U.S. destinations.

From Spokane, Washington (GEG)

I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from Spokane to Ixtapa that's at least $475 less per person than a similar flight from Kelowna.

Typically though, flights to Ixtapa from Spokane are only around $250-$300 cheaper than from Kelowna.


I think I've found a great deal on a flight to Ixtapa!

Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YLW Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of people from Kelowna are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.

Or if you prefer, you can always give me a shout through the YLW Deals contact form or on Twitter @YLWdeals or through Google Plus. Great deal finds are always appreciated.


Why should I trust this guide about flights to Ixtapa from Kelowna?

Chris Myden Ydeals The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other.

The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so vacationers can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.

But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YLW Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!


I think I have some info that could help improve the Ixtapa vacation flight deal guide!

Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.


Common questions people from Kelowna have about Ixtapa

Is it Ixtapa or Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo ?

There are two separate cities in the same area, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. The airport, named Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport (ZIH) serves both of these cities.

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