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Fly to Ecuador for $259 (Roundtrip)

Friday, Jan. 11, 2008

Learn more about Ecuador in International Living Postcards–your daily escape

Flights to Ecuador were never too expensive, but now they are becoming even cheaper with competition from a new Ecuador airline flying from Miami.

The new airline, Aerogal, runs flights from Miami to Guayaquil in Ecuador; from there you can transfer rapidly to Quito, Cuenca, the Galapagos Islands, or Manta.

Aerogal operates 20 flights a day from Quito to Guayaquil and is one of three Ecuadorian airlines (the other two are Icaro, and the national airline, Tame).

Aerogal is the official airline of the Galapagos. Over the last few years, it expanded dramatically. Back in 2002, it had a monthly average of 700 passengers, but it’s now transporting 50,000 per month, and over 1 million per year.

Aerogal is the only Ecuadorian airline to fly into the U.S. It is also the only airline to offer all passengers first-class service, including welcome champagne, warm meals, and individual flat-panel TVs.

This is also the only Ecuadorian airline that offers online booking. The Aerogal website takes you to an English version where you can select flight dates and get quotes. I took a look at the website and found that a Miami Guayaquil fare was currently running $450 plus $115 tax, or $565 total.

But this is not the cheapest quote I have found. Farecompare shows that American Airlines is offering flights during this same time for $359. A roundtrip flight from Miami to Gauyaquil on American Airlines was quoted at $259, versus $349 for Aerogal.

I’ve noticed time and again that American Airlines becomes very aggressive at dropping fares when new airlines are introduced to its Latin America destinations. Competition…I love it.

It seems to be more expensive to book directly with Aerogal on its website than to book the same flight through price-comparison sites. Farecompare offered an Aerogal flight for $459 on the same dates as Aerogal’s website offered the $565 fare.

Merri and I will try Aerogal soon, but in the meantime, whether you fly Aerogal or any of the other airlines to Ecuador…now is a great time to do it, while prices are low.

Airlines that fly into Quito from the U.S. include:

Aerogal

Avianca

American

Copa

Continental

Delta

LanEcuador

Taca

To add a cherry on top, the Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito is one of the nicest emerging airports Merri and I have ever used. In the rose-decorated immigration area, the officers politely welcome you to Ecuador. Baggage arrives promptly, and customs rarely looks at your baggage. We are often from the plane to our waiting van in less than 30 minutes. The entire process is quiet, well organized, and the baggage handlers treat us well.

Gary Scott
For International Living

Read related articles:

- Retirees Get Half-price Flights in Ecuador

- Get to Costa Rica in Less Than 3 Hours With New Direct Flights

- Ecuador: The Owner’s Manual

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