Amazing sunset at the airport

How I booked flights from Paris to Montreal for just £88 return.

Though not quite on par for my 12 countries in 12 months feat in 2015, we’re two months in and my travel plans for this year are already shaping up quite nicely.

A month ago, in an attempt to cure my “January Blues”, I booked a trip for mum and I to Naples, Italy. Using some money-saving hacks, it’s cost us just £101 each for flights and three nights bed and breakfast in Ercolano. Not bad, hey? Unfortunately it’s not until mid-March, so still a few weeks away. But as it’s been nine years since I was last in Italy, I’m really looking forward to heading back to “The Boot” and having some proper Italian food. As well as lots of pizza and pasta, we’ll be visiting the ruins of Pompeii, so I can’t wait to finally tick the UNESCO World Heritage site off my bucket list.

Then after Naples, I am heading off on a (semi-) solo adventure to Paris and Montreal…

I’ll be honest, I’m not particularly looking forward to the Paris part of the trip. I have never liked the French capital, and would even go as far as to say that it’s actually the worst city I’ve ever visited. Yes, shock horror: I hate Paris.

I previously ventured to Paris in August 2010, April 2013 and June 2015. Each time I’ve been, I’ve silently vowed never to return, as I end up detesting the place more and more with every visit. But when I saw super cheap flights to Canada from Paris, I couldn’t resist. I could put my hatred of the supposed City of Love aside in exchange for an affordable trip to a country I’ve yet to set foot on, plus the chance to catch-up with Jessika, a friend I made while in Berlin back in 2017.

And ‘affordable’ is definitely the right adjective here: I managed to get £88 return flights from Paris to Montreal. Yes, that’s right: return flights from France to Canada for less than £100. But how did I get such cheap flights?

How to get cheap flights.

I should start by saying it was by complete chance that I got these amazingly cheap flights; the low-cost fares disappeared as quickly as they appeared. So if you want to get discounted flights like these, sorry but you’re too late. Early bird catches the worm – or in this case, early bird bags the cheap flights to Canada. There’s no knowing if the price will drop that low again, but if you’re savvy you just might bag yourself some in the future – they may even be cheaper, or to somewhere else you’d like to go.

Much like the time I booked a 5-star holiday in the Dominican Republic for under £500, one Sunday morning, while I was minding my own business and not doing a lot (ie, snuggled up in bed with my cats and a coffee, scrolling through Instagram), I received a WhatsApp message from one of my favourite travel-booking websites, Holiday Pirates, alerting me to the bargain airfare:

Holiday Pirates WhatsApp alerts

I thought it was too good to be true. But clicking through to the site, I quickly scanned the details, hardly believing what I was reading. It was an error fare, of course – not even low-cost carrier Ryanair could manage flights across the pond for this little. As a comparison, when I’d previously looked at making a trip to Toronto to visit Jessika, return flights were around £600.

Getting more and more excited by the second, I rapidly skim-read the small print. But I saw no glaring obvious reason for the insanely priced flights, no disclaimers stating I’d have to donate my liver before take off or forgo air on the plane just to get a seat. So I typed in my details (or I should say, thankfully, Google autofilled them) and clicked “confirm”. Without more than a minute’s hesitation.

Though not quite as cheap as the headline price, they came in at just under £88:

Screenshot_20181123-074540_Chrome-01

Flying with Corsair, I leave Paris on Sunday 21 April (which I only discovered after booking, is actually Easter Sunday), and arrive back on Monday 29 April.

Obviously I have to get to Paris Orly first, and that has pushed up the cost of the trip – but only marginally. I’ve also managed to get Eurostar return tickets, from London King’s Cross St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, for just £55. So all in, the transport for this trip has cost me £143. That’s a total of 7,429 miles covered, for less than the cost of return train ticket from London to Edinburgh. Mind-blowing.

If you’re looking for more cheap flights, there’ll be a full how-to guide coming soon – follow me on Twitter to get it as soon as it’s published!

Extra brownie points.

If all that wasn’t enough, the cherry on top of my very cheap cake (or perhaps maple syrup on my pancakes, as I am going to Canada?) is that because I’m going over the Easter bank holiday weekend, I’ll only be using five days of my work annual holiday allowance for 11 days of travel. Jammy or what?

Timing a trip so it coincides with a national holiday is a great way to maximise your annual leave allowance, letting you travel the world while still working full-time. The downside is that flights, train tickets and car hire prices usually increase around national holidays like Christmas, Easter and the August Bank Holiday.

But if you’re flexible with your plans, you can usually nab some pretty good deals. Weigh up the pros and cons before booking; an extra day somewhere means more time to explore, but travelling over a national holiday may mean higher fares. This is what I did before booking my Eurostar tickets – as much as I hate Paris, it worked out a lot cheaper to travel on the Friday evening rather than on the day of my Montreal flight. And having to spend a few days in Paris seemed a small price (£55 to be exact) to pay before jetting off on a dirt cheap trip to Montreal.

*****

So, have you ever managed to book a flight as cheap as this? If so, where to, and how cheap was it?

And if you’ve ever been to Montreal before, I’d love some tips from you – drop me a comment below. Jessika and I are currently trying to find somewhere to stay in Montreal, so any recommendations would be great. And I’m also trying to prep myself for a trip back to dreaded Paris. Maybe fourth time around I’ll actually fall in love with the City of Love… Or not.

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84 thoughts on “How I booked flights from Paris to Montreal for just £88 return.

  1. I have never heard of Holiday Pirates before but from this post, it appears evident as to how they got their name! It’s close enough to nothing that you might as well say you scored free flights! Unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that is amazing! I’m from the US living in Spain, and I’ve flown back home for around 500€ roundtrip. I thought that that was good! I just looked up this website and want to figure out how to get their Whatsapp alerts. If I could find something this cheap to travel back to the US this summer, I´d be in heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dang that’s awesome! I’ve been lucky with flights lately and have been hopping around the world with no return flight for pretty cheap. But now that I actually want to fly back the flights to North America have gotten so ridiculous. Wish I could find a flight this cheap

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, such a great deal!! You are one lucky fellow 🙂 I have never heard of Holiday Pirates but from now on I shall check it out for such cheaper travel flight tickets!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is some amazing luck. I’d love to travel more… when the kids get a little older it’ll be easier. Right now it’s easier to drive with cribs, car seats and everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sweet deal Becca. Amazing what a wee bit of legwork does. Cool to see contrarian views of Paris too 😉 My wife books some eye-popping tix too. We’ve a 10 hour flight from the Middle East way across Asia, for like 100 USD or around it. Crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh wow I’m amazed you got it for so cheap. Thanks for sharing I must suggest that to my friends who travel often and hopefully they can get a great deal too x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow what a crazy good deal! I could learn a thing or two from you 🙂 I have never been good at finding deals but with my daughter starting to travel for gymnastics I need to be!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fantastic deal! I am aiming for 12 countries this year and keeping everything crossed we make it. My best deal so far this year is flights to Marrakech from London and 3 nights in a Junior Suite in a 4 * riad right in the medina for £235 pp. so not quite at your level but I was impressed!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! What an incredible deal, even with having to purchase the other ticket. You’d be crazy to pass up a deal like that, even if you hate the city. BTW, I followed you on Twitter. Looking forward to your how to guide!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, booking your trip in a bargain price is really amazing. I love travelling and I hope to get a chance to book my flight in a bargain price, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My you are sooo good! i wish I was half that good, I think I would have traveled a lot more. Thank you for inspiration and congrats with a nice bargain.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m the absolute worst at booking flights—I always wait last minute! I love your strategies that you’ve used to score cheap flights. You’re able to do much more with the money you’ve saved!

    Liked by 1 person

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