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How To Travel from North America to Manado?

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I am booked on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat next spring. The group I am traveling with takes care of the flights from Manado to Sorong on Wings Air. I need to get from Calgary, Canada to Manado. This is my first trip to Indonesia, so I would really appreciate any and all tips and advice on the best airlines and travel routes. I have all the usual concerns regarding weight restrictions and overweight charges. Also the fewer flights / plane changes the better. How do you all do it?

 

Also, any thoughts on Wings Air?

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Since Singapore Airlines has canceled its Vancouver flights, it is more problematic traveling to Manado. I recently returned, and had to change my flights and route through Japan on Air Canada to avoid traveling through the US (which I try to do to avoid missed connections and TSA hell). As I went on points, I had to claim my bags in Singapore and go through customs as my arrival was at 1 a.m. This meant staying at the Crowne Plaza (which is very nice)at the airport rather than the Transit hotel, which, for a short layover is a much cheaper alternative. If you are buying a ticket through to Manado, buy one that routes you on Singapore Airlines and a Star Alliance member, like Air Canada. It will probably be cheaper than combining different segments, and you can check your bags in Calgary and not worry about them until Manado. Be careful that the routing is through Japan or Hong Kong, and not LAX or San Francisco, which is Singapore Air's default routing for Canada.

 

Cheers,

Marli

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Wings has much improved over the years. I've had good luck with them the last 3 yrs in the same area as yours. From Calgary I'm not sure whether flying east or west is the shortest distance. For westerly travel check Singapore - west coast/Singapore/Manado. Other airlines may also have connecting flights to Manado from HK or KL. Within Indonesia you could travel thru Jakarta or Denpasar, but may have to connect in Makassar.

Edited by jcclink

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From the west coast, I've flown Singapore Air through Singapore a couple times. Not the cheapest, but Singapore's a great airline and Changi is the airport to which all others aspire IMHO. Don't know about other embarkation cities, but the flight from LAX gets you to Singapore around 1 a.m., then you check into the transit hotel right in the airport (there's one in each of the 3 terminals) for a nice nap in a real bed and a shower before continuing on to Manado on Singapore's regional carrier, Silk Air, in the mid morning (9:30-10:30 as I recall). Super easy and recommended.

 

On the other hand, getting to Sorong is an adventure. I have heard the flight from Manado to Sorong is problematic with cancellations, luggage delays, etc. I've never done it, so consult others with actual experience. When I flew to Sorong last fall, I was encouraged and so went through Jakarta on Cathay instead (lots of airlines can get you there). This requires an overnight in Jakarta as the best outbound to Sorong leaves very early in the a.m. and goes via Makassar (Ujang Pandang), getting you into Sorong in the early afternoon if all goes well. You can also go through Bali, which is always great, esp if you can spend a few days there on either end. I think then getting to Sorong requires another overnight in Makassar.

 

What ever way you go, I'm told it's best to get your intra-Indonesia ticket from a local agent in case there are problems. All the local carriers change times, combine and/or cancel flights at their whim, so keep checking on them up until the time you actually get on the plane.

 

You will have a great trip!

 

Phil

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Another option is to book a ticket to Kuala Lumpur then book Air Asia from KL to Manado. My experience is that it is often much cheaper to book the Singapore-Mandado or KL-Manado leg separately, rather than one booking for the whole thing.

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Air Asia's baggage allowance is miniscule. If you are booked through from North America to Manado, then the 2 x 23 kilo checked baggage allowance applies. The transit hotel is an excellent option, but only if you are not using points for a portion of your flight.

 

Cheers,

Marli

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Air Asia's baggage allowance is miniscule. If you are booked through from North America to Manado, then the 2 x 23 kilo checked baggage allowance applies. The transit hotel is an excellent option, but only if you are not using points for a portion of your flight.

 

Cheers,

Marli

 

I was looking at this yesterday. They changed this recently and have no baggage allowance anymore except a single carryon. On the other hand, you can advance purchase 30 kg checked for 115 MYR, about 33 USD. You can add another 15kg of sports equipment for another 40 MYR or 11USD. Even with baggage charges and charges for picking a seat, it comes out considerably cheaper than SilkAir.

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With Air Asia, you have 15kg baggage allowance BUT if you prebook your luggage up to 30kg AND you can prepay for a sport equipment bag of 15kg for a nominal fee. Check out the website. They count by weight and not pieces.

The seats aren't comfortable but they do go to quite a few places directly from major airports so Air Asia does work in a crunch.

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Check out EVA Airlines. They show Air Canada Calgary/Vancouver with connect to Taipei (non-stop). Good connections to Jakarta & Bali. This routing is actually about 2.5hrs less flight time than west coast/Singapore/Bali. They have Elite Class which is like Singapore Exec Economy. 2 x 61# checked baggage for this class. Probably have to overnight before arriving in Manado thou. As mentioned early domestic flights have the best chance of being on time. I've flown EVA since Singapore discontinued Exec Economy. Jakarta has transit hotel in terminal, which I'm trying for first time in a couple of weeks.

Edited by jcclink

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I did the Calgary to Manado trip in July. We used Air Canada/United for Calgary-Vancouver-Hong Kong-Singapore. Then after a couple days in Singapore we flew Silk Air over to Manado.

 

The only hitch was that our original Silk Air booking was cancled. Make sure you don't book any of the seasonal "extra" flights with them. i.e. fly on the regular flight days not on a Thursday.

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