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Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

Level Contributor
11 posts
1 review
Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

Hi, would anyone be able to help me.

I've read on a few things that there are different fare prices for residents of Ecuador and for tourists. I'm looking at buying flights (I've seen some on search engines e.g. Skyscanner) but unsure whether the price quoted is applicable for me or not. Is there an easy indicator? If not how do I find out.

If you go direct to the airline websites e.g. TAME they state that 'saver fares' are only for Ecuadorean residents but then has no indication of which fares are saver fares as non have such a name.

Thank you in advance


5 replies to this topic
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
284 posts
1. Re: Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

By law, each of the airlines (LATAM Ecuador, Avianca Ecuador/Aerogal and TAME) must provide a minimum number of seats to Ecuadorian residents at a discounted rate on each plane trip (known as a "resident discount"). If these seats are not filled by native Ecuadorians then they can be given to foreigners... but obviously without the discount.

When I booked directly on the airlines websites this was simple because I simply didn't check the box that says "Ecuadorian Resident" (or something similar). I don't imagine that this has changed.

The problem you are talking about seems to occur occassionally with 3rd party online "cheap booking services" (usually foreign), because their software is systematically looking for the only the "cheapest possible tickets"... but sometimes simply doesn't have the extra lines of computer code necessary to translate certain restrictions or requirements that exist for the booking at that price (in this case differenciating from "resident discount only" seats and "normal tourist" seats).

Because this entire process takes place online without a human ever taking a close look at it, this error is usually only noticed by staff in the airports in Ecuador when the foreign traveller is booking in with their passport and has already arrived.

The airline companies by law cannot give a foreigner a seat at the discounted price that exists exclusively for Ecuadorian residents and therefore require payment to cover the removed discount before they can board the plane. So legally, their hands are tied and arguing with the airline themselves is pointless as there is nothing that they can do. The mistake appears to be almost always with the online booking service, not the airlines.

It seems logical that if you do use a "cheap ticket search website" and you do happen to find a ticket at a price that seems too good to be true... it is probably worth considering that perhaps it is too good and to set aside some extra $$$ just in case to cover a possible error.

As this does happen occassionally, you wont be refused to get on the plane itself (they know that this mistake happens) but you will be required to pay for the difference after the removal of the discount. From what I read online, the money those people had to pay in the airport once the discount was removed was usually between $100 and $170.

Once paid, there were no problems.

Roswell, Georgia
Level Contributor
56 posts
54 reviews
2. Re: Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

Thank you for this information. I have the same concern. I had read in another blog that Skyscanner automatically is set up to prevent these kind of mistakes, but the price they have quoted me is half the price listed by the airline for non-residents. I don't know how else they could offer such cheap flights.

Level Contributor
11 posts
1 review
3. Re: Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

Thanks for your help.

I had the same concern that the skyscanner prices were often cheaper. But when I clicked onto the company that was selling the tickets on skyscanner once I got through to their page I could see that is says 'tourist' seat with all the flight information. I have booked the ticket but have also emailed the company as well to confirm.

Hoping it all works our well!

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
11,417 posts
101 reviews
4. Re: Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

You should call the airline as well, to make sure you really do have a ticket.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
1,501 posts
35 reviews
5. Re: Galapagos airfares for non-residents or foreigners

I used Expedia to book our flights and got a really great price for avianca. A friend who lives over there said they were about the same price as residents. I’m not sure if I got really lucky but I tried multiple dates until I got a good deal. It was all smooth at the airport and we didn’t have to pay extra. I’ve always been reluctant to use 3rd party sites but we used Expedia 3 times for flights and they were great.

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