The Ultimate Airfare Compare Challenge
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) How do you pick an airfare finder?
There are seemingly dozens of airfare sites lurking around the Internet, all offering essentially the same service: pulling prices into one source to ease searching. The question is what, if any, real difference there is between them. After all, the prices site to site are largely comparable, since they're all searching the same airlines, so why choose one over the other?
Well, to help make your decisions, we here at MainStreet have done the hard work for you! Here are eight of the most popular travel sites on the internet compared by price, along with what unique features each has to offer.
All prices test were checked on Thursday, September 19, 2013. Domestic flight prices were checked against an October 1 10, round trip flight from Chicago to New York; foreign flights against the same dates, round trip from London to Bangkok.
Domestic Price: $262.80
Foreign Price: $860.00
The first takeaway here is that I kind of wish I lived in London right now. A week in Thailand for only $860? That's a lot of money, but compared to the $1,468 that same trip would cost out of Chicago it's practically a lottery ticket!
Anyhow, Orbitz is a good, go-to site to search for airfare. It works for both domestic and international flights and scoops up most of the low cost carriers in its results. (Not every airfare site does this, and that can make a big difference in your results.) Although I've never personally benefitted, they offer to refund 110% of the difference if someone later books the same itinerary for less money. The extra 10% is a nice touch.
I could have done without the aggressive marketing for hotels and rental packages, but that comes standard with many sites these days.
Nothing too fancy here, just an effective and straightforward site.
Domestic Price: $248
Foreign Price: $805.53
One of my favorite sites. Along with ITA, Kayak adds a wonderful feature to searching for airfare: the calendar. Searching by calendar is a great way to find prices, as the site will simply pull up a month long grid and show how much it would cost to leave on any given day. Kayak can even accommodate a calendar search with a flexible stay.
Although I don't always have the luxury of moving dates to suit my wallet, it's absolutely worth looking when I can; a business trip might be immobile, but a vacation or visit with friends can usually get bumped based on price. For example, a quick look told me that shifting dates from October 1 10 to October 2 8 could knock $60 off the domestic ticket.