February 13, 2011

Buying Tickets

Which route?

The nearest airport to Duke University is RDU but there are no direct flights from Singapore to RDU. You’ll have to take an international flight somewhere before flying down to RDU. The most popular places to fly to are New York (JFK or EWR airport), Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO).

Ensure that your stopover times between flights are sufficiently long (>2 hours). Domestic flights in the US tend to get delayed, especially those that originate from the busiest airports like New York (JFK airport).

You will ALWAYS have to collect your check-in luggage at your first port of entry, even if your luggage is checked directly to RDU (if your luggage is checked in directly, just pass your bags over to a counter/attendant/belt that will be marked for connecting passengers to domestic flights afterwards). In addition, you will have to clear immigration at your first port of arrival in the US, which may take over half an hour. If you have goods to declare, you may take up to half an hour depending on how long the queue is. A stopover time that is too short might cause you to miss your connecting flight.

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending air travel as we know it, flight routes and schedules are subject to unpredictable changes. Many Singaporean Dukies travel onboard Singapore Airlines’ direct flight from SIN to JFK, and then catch a connecting flight out of JFK on a domestic carrier in the late afternoon.

Currently, there is no single airline that can take you from SIN to RDU, even with stopovers. You will need to change from your international flight to a domestic carrier.

Which tickets are cheapest?

Tickets are cheap when airlines are having offers during that particular period. Check the websites of the above-mentioned airlines online for rates. Websites like Orbitz, Expedia, STA, Sidestep and StudentUniverse may give you better rates.

Check out Kayak and Bing as both sites offer a comparison of all airlines. Buy your tickets as soon as you can! They are likely to get more and more expensive as time passes.