Cheap flights to India: The ultimate student guide to scoring them

cheap flights to India
Are you planning a trip back home and looking for the cheapest flights? Here's how you do it. Source: Arun Sankar/AFP

Cheap flights to India for students exist — you just need to know how and when to find them.

Maybe you’re busy at uni. Maybe you’re trying to keep up with your internship and homework that you forgot you need to plan a trip back home.

Either way, buying your tickets at the wrong time can be expensive.

A one-way ticket from London to Delhi tomorrow can cost you around 417 pounds. Or it can you 800 pounds to fly from Sydney to Mumbai tomorrow (which includes a layover in Singapore). 

International flights are incredibly expensive to run as they include high operating costs. Geopolitical instability (thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine) has driven fuel prices to an all-time high.

More demand for a certain route can also increase ticket prices. 

Finding the cheapest flights to India takes skill and some special know-how — which we’ll explain more below. First, though, let’s take a look at what’s the best time to buy your ticket: 

cheap flights to India

February, June, and September are some of the best months to book your flights. Source: Arun Sankar/AFP

When to book cheap flights to India

Let us explain the three seasons for visiting India:

  • Peak Season (December to March)
  • Off Season (April to June) 
  • Shoulder Season (June to November) 

Generally, flights are more expensive during the peak season. 

February, June, and September are some of the best months to book your flights, as these are the cheapest time to fly from the US to India, according to surveys

Do know there is no hard and fast rule to know when is the best time to buy the cheapest flight tickets.

Even during peak season, you still stand a chance to get a good deal — if you know how and where to look for them. 

cheap flights to India

With these tips, you’ll get back home in time even if you are on a tight student budget. Source: Money Sharma/AFP

Best tips for booking cheap flights to India

1. Sign up for price alerts

Here’s a handy tip: searching for flights incognito, clearing the cookies on your browser or booking your flights on a specific day will not help you to secure the cheapest flights.

Instead, use the Skyscanner price alerts feature to track flight fares.

Set the alerts for your preferred destinations and dates so you’ll receive an email or push notifications whenever prices go down or up — ensuring that you receive the best deals. 

Make sure you check at least twice a day. Deals don’t last long so snap them as soon as they’re launched.

2. Book early

When buying your tickets, avoid doing this closer to your departure date since finding cheaper routes to your destination will be harder.

We recommend booking 30 to 45 days in advance. 

If you plan to fly on the weekend, you can follow the same tip.

Since long weekends are the perfect opportunity for little getaways, more tourists (and locals) tend to fly on these dates and flight tickets tend to be more expensive.

Beware of using an agent to book your flight tickets as they usually charge higher and have added processing fees.

If you notice carefully, airfares usually go up on a Friday and start plummeting on a Monday or a Tuesday.

According to expert observations over a six-month period, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest days to book a flight ticket.

3. If you can, choose a connecting flight

Sometimes, this is the cheaper option.

But how would you know this? You have to consider the cost you might incur during your connection.

Will you be staying at the airport for a long period? Do you have to buy food and drinks? Are you going to travel to a different airport for your connecting flight? 

Worse, flight delays can ruin your travel plans and it will take more time for you to arrive at your destination. 

So, remember to avoid long layovers and ensure you have at least two hours to make it for your next flight.

4. Know your airlines

Do certain airlines offer cheaper fares? The short answer is yes! Air India Express and Indigo are known to offer cheap flights to India.

5. Consider trains and buses

Most airlines land in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. If you don’t live in any of these cities, and you’re not in a rush, book a train or bus to get to your hometown.

They’re usually significantly cheaper than connecting flights.