NAIA Survival Guide

Piso Fare: How to Book Seat Sale Flights

Seat sales, or piso fares, are a great way to save money on flights. Here's how you can book piso fare flights and get the best deals.

Updated July 11, 2024

Piso Fare

Piso fares, or seat sales, offer incredibly low flight prices. In the Philippines, they're often offered during holidays like New Year, Labor Day, Independence Day, airline anniversaries, Christmas, or any other celebratory occasion they can think of.

Cebu Pacific pioneered these promos in the country with their famous piso fares, and other airlines like Philippine Airlines and AirAsia have followed suit.

Are piso fares really just P1?

When Cebu Pacific, or any other airline offers a piso fare seat sale, they're only charging PHP 1.00 as base fare. For low-cost carriers like Cebu Pacific or AirAsia, these fares don't include checked bags, and taxes and other fees are extra. Here's what you can expect to pay on top of the base fare:

  • Terminal Fee. This fee is used to operate, maintain, and expand airports. It’s charged by the airports where you’ll be flying in and out of.
  • Security Fee. This fee is paid to the government agency or private agency that handles airport security.
  • Web Admin or Ticketing Fee. This covers the cost of processing your e-ticket and is paid to the airline’s IT systems provider.
  • Fuel Surcharge. This varies with fuel prices and is set by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Airlines often pass this cost on to passengers.
  • Value-added Tax. This is a government tax imposed on goods and services.
  • Travel Tax. Collected by TIEZA, this tax is used to improve tourist infrastructure in the Philippines.

Step 1. Make a Flexible Plan

Before a seat sale, confirm the travel period of the promotion and identify the dates you’re willing to travel. Plan out multiple dates as you might not get the exact dates you want. Basically, align your expectations to avoid disappointment.

If you are traveling with friends, make sure to discuss your plans with your friends well in advance. Decide where and when you're all willing to travel, and be prepared to be flexible with your plans. During the sale, there’s no time to discuss these details, as seats will be snatched up quickly.

Step 2. Gather Your Friends' Basic Information

If you’re traveling with friends, it’s crucial to gather their complete legal names and birthdays ahead of time. Most airlines don’t require passport details during the booking process, but the names used in booking must match those on their passports. Having this information ready will speed up the booking process and reduce the risk of errors.

If the airline requires passport details during booking, make sure to have your friends’ passport numbers, expiration dates, and nationalities on hand.

Plan in advance who will travel with whom in case you need to split up across different flights. This way, you’ll be prepared to act quickly and efficiently.

Step 3. Set an Alarm

Now that you've made plans, it's time to set an alarm!

Set an alarm on your phone for the start of the seat sale. This is usually midnight. Cheap tickets are limited, and airlines often cap the number of low fares per flight. Booking early is key to securing these deals.

Step 4. Book the Flights

Now this is where the fun begins! When the clock strikes midnight, head to the airline’s website and start booking your flights.

Prioritize your most preferred date and destination first. If it's sold out, quickly move on to the next option without wasting time. Double-check all the details before confirming your booking. Making a mistake can be costly and you don't want that, you're trying to get a cheap flight after all.

For large groups, it’s helpful to enlist a friend to assist with booking. Sometimes, promo fares appear sold out for larger groups but are available when booking for smaller groups. Splitting your party into smaller groups can increase your chances of getting the desired fares.

DO NOT ADD EXTRAS like baggage allowance or seat choices yet. This will just slow you down and increase the chances of losing the promo fare. You can always add these extras later.

Take-aways on Booking Piso Fares

Booking piso fares can be fun or stressful, depending on how you look at it. It's a great way to save money on flights, but it requires a lot of planning and quick decision-making.

The main takeaway is to be prepared, be flexible and be quick! Always align your expectations to avoid disappointment.

Mikko Gozalo
About the author

Mikko Gozalo

Creator of MNLAirport.ph

Mikko is a data scientist based in Hong Kong. He flies the Manila to Hong Kong route regularly. Having flown a lot from NAIA, he decided to create MNLAirport.ph to help fellow travelers.