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Booking Airline Flights

swift

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Do you use an online service such as Kayak or Travelocity or do you book direct with the airline most of the time?

If you use a service which one do you use most and why?
 

CATBinCO

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I may use one of the big search engines like Travelocity, Expedia or Kayak first, and then I go to the airline's site directly to save the $5 booking fee. For our family of 4, that's an extra $20 in my pocket, plus the extra assurance that I booked it direct w/ the airline so there's no middle man to complicate things.
 

x3 skier

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I also use Orbitz, Travelocity and others for research and then book directly with the airline. Keeping a middle man out of the loop is important if something goes wrong and I also get bonus miles for using the airline site. They also sometimes have unadvertised specials on their site.

As Delta and American, my usual airlines, have a low fare guarantee, there is not much reason for using Orbitz or others. One caveat, I think Orbitz and maybe Travelocity do have a money back deal where if the price goes down for the flights you booked, you get the difference in price back.

The only time I don't use AA or DL sites is for the last minute specials where a package deal on one of the travel sites is usually a good deal.

Cheers
 

camachinist

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I always book directly on the airline site and use my GDS accesses to build the itineraries prior to booking.

I just booked 5 transcon mileage runs out of my local for 166.00 ea. all-in a couple weeks ago when Delta and United were attacking each other's hubs. Fare came from FareCompare, routing from ITA, seating/upgrade space from ExpertFlyer and the bookings were done using the multi-city booking feature on United's flight search. Very seemless. All occured within 20 minutes. Fare was pulled after about 30 minutes of existence in the GDS. The trick is knowing the fares are coming before they actually hit the booking engines. I saw DL attacking ORD and DEN so figured UA would retaliate at CVG and ATL so started building itineraries around those hubs.

Of the online TA's, Orbitz likely mimics what I do the best, as ITA powers their search function and esoteric routings/timings are more easily found. I know some runners use it and Travelocity when they get frustrated with UA's clunky interface.

The same parameters which work for mileage runners also work for price conscious travelers. It's the same process with only the reason for doing it being different :)

Pat
 
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