Travel & Activities

Compare Air Fares – Not So Fast!

Update coming soon……

An Illinois court ordered American back to Orbitz. American says it disagrees but will comply while evaluating options. American Airlines had gone off Orbitz and Expedia. Delta has gone off CheapOAir.com, One Travel.com and BookIt.com.

Are they taking a lesson from Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue which usually did not list on comparison sites? Both of those airlines had a reputation for low fares so people felt comfortable getting the best price without always seeing the competition. Today Southwest and Jet Blue are no longer the cheapest, in fact, quite often much more expensive. Many travelers may not realize this because they lack one-site comparisons. Jet Blue is now listing on the major travel sites. Even though they are not necessarily the least expensive, Jet Blue now has such loyal fans they feel comfortable with comparisons. Southwest still lists only on their own site. American may feel big enough and strong enough to go it alone at this point.

For price comparisons try ITASoftware.com, the technology behind many of the airfare shopping sites you use now. It allows you to easily compare almost all your choices, but not to purchase a ticket. Log in and click “Search Airfares”. Google is rumored to be working on purchasing ITAS which would change the game.

www.Kayak.com also offers most price comparisons but not one-stop shopping. Click on a button to go to other sites to purchase the ticket.

We should note that airlines do have to pay some sales fee to any site or agent that sells their tickets.

Another difficulty- Expedia admits incorrect prices are displayed on airfare searches about 5% of the time. The same is no doubt true on every site because of the difficulty of synching different computer systems plus a fast moving inventory of tickets and price categories. Many systems are searching the same inventory. Changes in the inventory don’t necessarily happen while your hunting, only when you are actually buying. So a good fare may not be available by the time you buy.

Keep in mind that timing your trip makes a huge difference. Travel this summer will be significantly higher than it has been earlier, especially June 27 to July 3. Demand for flights to Europe is unusually high this summer even with bigger capacity from airlines and higher prices.

Related Articles:
10 Tips For Success at the Airport
Considering a Move Overseas?

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