Efficient air ticket searching & booking techniques.
And now, already knowing everything here is to know about money saving methods and risks awaiting us literally on every step during our acquisition of flight tickets, it's time (at long last) to begin such a search of these very tickets.
If you haven't yet heard anything about money saving methods or risks awaiting us, then you'll be well advised to read the following pages from our site: Tips for Buying Affordable Air Tickets and How to avoid being scammed while booking a flight.
It must be said that on the internet a great variety of flight search engines is available and one can easily get lost, if not to try and classify them somehow.
I won't be talking below about Global Distribution Systems (GDS: Amadeus, Travelport, Sabre и so on), because they never deal directly with the end users (some consider this fact to be beneficial for these users) and act merely as a link between travel service providers and travel agencies.
1. From an utilitarian point of view first of all we should mention price aggregators (price comparison sites or metasearch engines). Only with their help one can get the general idea on the existing price rage for the desired tickets. It's impossible to book tickets from these websites directly, we'll be redirected to a page of an online travel agency (OTA) or an airline.
Keep in mind, that price aggregators are not always able to provide us with the opportunity of comparing the fares from various providers accurately: airlines offer various classes of service with various baggage rules (or a particular fare can cover only the carriage of hand luggage), travel agencies impose service charges (more information on the subject you'll be able to find here: How to avoid being scammed while booking a flight) or the information about the tickets is simply outdated.
The largest and well-proven metasearch systems:
- momondo.com + iphone app,
- skyscanner.com + iphone app,
- jetradar.com + iphone app,
- lookupfare.com + iphone app.
The results produced by them all are usually the same or very similar, but the time required for "the search" (or for a data base request and rendering of an answer) will vary. But due to the fact that all these price aggregators conduct their search not only through the sites of large, but also a variety of small ones, airlines and online travel agencies, one of them may have the tickets for a particular direction at the most attractive price, especially if this direction is not very popular (or it's just off-season there). So, if you have some time, you can give a try each and everyone of them.
Perhaps tripadvisor.com is not considered to be among the best price aggregators, but now it's possible to see its user reviews of various airlines and perhaps it were even better, if we could see there reviews of various OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) also.
Google has also launched a new service: Google Flights. The results are received almost instantaneously, but in comparison to the above mentioned price aggregators the number of service providers through which the search is conducted is (yet?) very limited. So you can either get the desired option or not, but it won't take long for you to clarify the issue.
2. With a high degree of probability, the ticket which we've found we'll be able to book only through a website of an online travel agency.
It happens first of all because only a few airlines distribute their tickets exclusively through their own channels (what is rather an exception to the existing rules now), and at a certain point of time an airline can simply run out of these very tickets: they all are being allocated to travel agencies.
And secondly, travel agencies can obtain these tickets from airlines at a great discount on the account of a large estimated volume of sales, so for the most popular destinations they can often offer tickets at a lower price, when compared to the airlines themselves.
Thus, as you can see, travel agencies exist not only in order to increase our expenses through their service fees. However the major agencies alone are able to compel airlines to give any significant discount:
The great advantage of expedia and Orbitz (the latter now owned by expedia) is the absence of booking, changing or cancellation fees (but airport taxes, fees of airlines themselves and so on don't disappear of course), but in some cases these charges may occur (again, it's always worth looking through service terms & conditions).
Some airlines (Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air, Lufthansa, a number of low-cost carriers) currently don't want to distribute their tickets through GDSs or OTAs anymore and impose additional charges (Lufthansa - € 18) on tickets sold this way. They are trying to draw maximum number of customers to their own websites through which they would be able to sell various additional services.
3. On the website of the chosen airline it's also better not to buy a certain air ticket at once. Look at the conditions of carriage first (here you'll find baggage policies of many European airlines).
Particular attention should be paid to the baggage allowance (currently some airlines introduce fares that do not allow transportation of checked baggage (cabin luggage only) and on the conditions of carriage for sports equipment and pets, but only if this is relevant in your case :).
Otherwise carriage of set of skis or your pet may substantially affect the final cost of your flight tickets and exceed such offered by another airline. Some useful links at the bottom of the page.
From time to time airlines organize promos and sell their tickets at a discount. Some interesting offers you'll be able to find on the page Hot deals, special offers, promo codes and coupons of our site.