How do you search for and book your flights?

I usually go to Orbitz, because I started using it for whatever reason years ago, and it never gave me any problems. But I’ve been recently trying to book a flight to Las Vegas this summer, and so far I haven’t been happy with the available prices. So I started looking at some of the other flight price aggregators (Kayak, Expedia), and didn’t find anything much different than Orbitz. Which got me thinking about what the pros and cons of using one over the other might be.

So, just out of curiosity, which site(s) do you use? Are there any aggregator sites you like better than the others, and if so, why? Or do you skip the aggregators all together and go to the individual airlines?

Thanks!

I like Google Flights. It’s easy to use and I’ve always gotten the flights and times that I wanted.

I search on an aggregator site (usually Expedia these days), but I’ll usually use the airline’s own website to book the flight, unless it turns out that Expedia has a substantially better deal than I can get directly from the airline.

The reason for this is that I’ve had a couple of bad experiences when booking flights on an aggregator (specifically, Travelocity), when I had flights cancelled or needed help with rebooking. At least at that time, the airlines told me that I had to work with Travelocity’s customer service, rather than the airline, for rebooking, which turned out to be a tremendous pain in the backside.

Also, I sometimes fly on Southwest, and their flights don’t show up on aggregator sites.

I usually use Expedia. The one time a flight was canceled (AA’s reservation system crashed and they canceled all their flights that evening) the airlines rebooked it.

I’ve used Expedia to book a flight/rental car. To my shock it was much cheaper to book the rental car through Expedia than it was through the rental car agency…we saved a few hundred dollars.

For my trips to the UK, I always take Virgin and I always take the same flights there and back–so often that I know the flight numbers. So I just go to their Web site to book.

For any other flights I might have to take, I go to Expedia and see what’s available at a reasonable price and flight time. Except for one time last year when I was in the middle of booking, when they suddenly told me that seats on the flight I wanted were no longer available; I went to the airline’s own site instead and got a seat on the same flight, same price. I don’t know what Expedia’s problem was.

I run the search on a couple different sites. Rarely is there a difference.

I had one booking screw up using Travelocity a few years ago. And they did abide by their guarantee to make it right. They ended up rebooking me into first class for one of the legs of the trip and charged me for coach.

With any of the sites now, I agree that they are very similar. There are some that work better for more obscure deals especially in foreign travel: vayama, booking, for instance. But generally, I shop with the plan that if I see something that is cheap and I can work with the times, I book it at that time. Airlines have a 24 hour cancellation policy and I have just seen too many times that the cheap tickets disappear even during a refresh 5 minutes later and never reappear. I got tickets from SFO direct to London over two weeks in August for $370 using google travel which redirected me to kayak to british airways. I bought them on the spot as that is less than half what it usually is and was clearly just finding the correct days with currently underbooked flights.

Google travel now allows searches such as “Denver to Europe (or France or Paris) sometime in August” and there are some great deals out there if you can be flexible- it will then take you to the correct website to book.

So shop often and buy the moment something looks good!

If you’re not too specific about when and where you want to go, try kayak.com/explore. You can see where flights are relatively cheap, then figure out why to go there!

I search for flights on Expedia and occasionally Kayak. There are some airlines that book only direct from their own sites (e.g., Southwest), so you have to remember to check those. I will book through Expedia because I often book hotel and car too and get a better deal when booking them all together.

The couple of times I have had problems, Expedia was pretty helpful. Well, they were just as helpful as the airlines, anyway, which sometimes is no picnic. I did have a very bad experience with Travelocity about 20 years ago. They issued my ticket with a different name than I had given them (I confirmed my online account and the ticket swapped first and middle names), and it was an international flight that had to match the passport. This was before e-tickets so I had to deal with a paper ticket and get it reissued. It was reissued before departure but at a huge effort on my part. I know they’ve probably changed since then but I’ve never never used them since.

I usually start with Google and expand from there. I always check the airline site last to see if they have an offer as good or better than what I found elsewhere. All else being equal, or close to it, I’ll book directly with the airline.

https://www.skyscanner.net is always the first call for all my flight information or bookings.

Ditto, it has always worked OK for us.

Orbitz/Kayak/Google for the initial general-idea search, then head for the airline sites for the specifics – which I have to do anyway if SouthWest flies the route, since they don’t send prcing info to the aggregators.

Ditto, except in the reverse direction and with BA :slight_smile:

When I have to fly domestically in the US, after grumbling mightily, I’ll go to specific airlines websites and faff about doing price comparisons. Then book the flights and grumble mightily until the ordeal of actually taking the flights is over (I loathe flying US domestic carriers with the passion of a thousand suns, especially SouthWest).

Flight network, good prices, I’ve never had a problem. (But I check Hopper before I book to see if they are predicting whether the fare I’m purchasing is to rise or drop and when!)

Like a lot of people in this thread, I search the “find cheap flights” web sites; then get the info and book directly w/ the airline whenever possible. Tickets you get from 3rd parties are opened to all sorts of pain-in-the-ass hassles that are much easier to handle directly w/ the airline.

I almost always fly Southwest, and (as others have already mentioned) they don’t appear in aggregators, so I start there.

If I’m going somewhere Southwest doesn’t go, or they’re sold out or too expensive, then I’ll check Expedia or Travelocity and see what else is available. However, I usually do the actual booking at the airline’s own website.

If it’s an international flight, I go to a travel agent.

Yup, same. We live close to many airports so being able to open up the search to include more than just one is very handy. Also being able to see the whole month as opposed to specific days is very helpful.

I used to use Expedia for the flight/hotel deals but we haven’t stayed in a hotel in years. I now only book accommodations through airbnb or homeaway. Homeaway being the preferred choice.

I use the travel agent down the street and pay 35 per ticket for it. $ 75 if overseas flights.

His tips and suggestions and options are well worth the price and I avoid the aggravation of going on line and seeking it all out myself.