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16/04/2008 – Finding The Lowest Airfares : Looking Beyond The Obvious Web Sites
When you are shopping online for your airfares there are generally three obvious web sites that come to mind, Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. Those who are seeking other alternatives often seek out Kayak, and the daring turn to Hotwire and Priceline.
I will admit, I often use Expedia for quick searches and I use Orbitz to search routes by airline alliance (a nifty feature on Orbitz). I find both Expedia and Orbitz great tools. I stay away from sites such as Kayak for a very simple reason, more often than not when you select a fare you are informed that the $397.63 fare is now “repriced” at $862.91. This is frustrating and causes me to skip Kayak entirely marking it off as an unreliable tool.
For those of you seeking alternate reliable web sites to further search airfares, I have listed a few sites that are often overlooked:
SmartFares (www.smartfares.com) – SmartFares is unique in that the fares offered on the site are a mix of fares direct from the airlines and fares purchased through consolidators. Consolidators often offer fares at a significant cost savings. The sheer number of potential discounted fares found on this site often gives quite a few more options than their competitors.
JetCombo (www.jetcombo.com) – I like JetCombo because you are able to streamline your airfare search by searching not only seats in economy/business/first class in a much easier manner than other sites, but you can also search for available seats on private jets! I know when I am searching a flight from New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) and see US$835 in economy,US$5,632 in Business, US$11,692 in First………..and US$226,205 on a private jet all I can think is “Wow, First Class is such a bargain!” (then I usually buy the economy fare and upgrade with frequent flyer miles). OK, lets’ skip buying a seat on the private jet, however I like being able to search economy and business class so easily. At times I have found business class seats within a very close margin of economy class seats depending on the airline and route.
Vayama (www.vayama.com) – Vayama is unlike any travel web site you have ever used. You can select your departure and arrival city by using an interactive map! How cool is that? I’ll tell you, it’s cool! You can use the fantastic visual features to plan your point-to-point routes or even your round-the-world routes. You can also choose flights by a sliding fare scale and a sliding travel-trip time sliding scale. Even if you choose not to use this site to purchase your tickets, you have to play with it!
Have a site you think I have overlooked? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org