Your preferred online booking method?

 
Old Mar 17, 02, 8:52 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Washington, DC -- Delta PM, SAA Gold, USAir SP, CO Silver, SPG Platinum, Marriott Silver, Hilton Gold
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Your preferred online booking method?

With all of this talk about the decline of the travel agent, I thought it might be interesting to begin a thread on the best method for booking airline tickets online.

For us frequent flyers, there are a number of factors to consider when booking online 1)price, 2)schedules, 3)comparison to other airlines, 4)fare code, 5)upgrade availibility, 6)bonus miles, etc.

My typical MO is to:

1)Go to Orbitz to check price and schedules
2)Select the flight on Orbitz I am interested in and then hit "Fare Rules" to see if I've been given any LUser sergments
3)Sometimes check ITN for first class availability for that flight (expecially if it is a long-haul)
4)Go to the airlines website (Delta.com) to see if it will give me the same price as Orbitz for the same schedule (it usually will not)
5)Buy the ticket at Orbitz (or the airline website if it does give me the same price).

Seems like a lot of steps I go through to accomplish what I need. What do others do?
nashvillenole is offline  
Old Mar 17, 02, 11:32 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: ATL, PM
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I usually just go to delta.com directly to look for upgradeable domestic fares.

For upgradeable int'l fares I use my travel agent.

I guess I could shop around more but I usally don't have time and saving $15-$40 1 time out of 3 doesn't seem worth it.
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Old Mar 17, 02, 12:25 pm
  #3  
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Do you often get lower fares at Orbitz than at delta.com? I have checked lots of flights (maybe 100 trips) and Orbitz has never been lower for Delta for the routes I fly (and it has often been higher) -- I do see lower fares on other carriers, sometimes surprisingly so. But not once is it lower than delta.com and I've been looking for it. Given that Delta is part-owner of Orbitz you'd think they would match prices.
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Old Mar 17, 02, 1:28 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Several times (as late as this morning) I have checked Orbitz for Delta prices and found them to list Delta flights that Delta doesn't even list on their website. Example, going from TYS to MSY in September. Delta lists only the flights that connect through ATL while Orbitz lists the flights that connect through CVG....for the days and times I wanted, the CVG connection was cheaper and better flight times. Checked a second time with Delta online to verify that the flights were not listed, and then called Delta, and gave the agent the flights numbers for the CVG connection. She quoted me the same price as Orbitz and will be able to use my bump vouchers through Delta. This is not the first time I have run across the same situation. Moral of the story, its good to use several of the online resources before booking.
Spoilt
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Old Mar 17, 02, 10:02 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Phila Delta ex-PM, ex-UA-PE
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I use Travelocity usually as my first check because it's one of the few (maybe the only) booking engine that lets you see all the dates that the lowest fare is for the most part still available. After I narrow down the dates, I'll then use delta.com for the online booking bonus.
I don't understand how Delta (maybe other airlines as well) define routes on their reservation systems. I live in Phila, and I know a lot of times (seems more so for int'l travel) I need to manually build the routing (ie. PHL-ATL-DUB or PHL-ATL-ZRH), just entering the city pairs (PHL-DUB) comes back with '... no service provided between those cities)'. Orbitz does do a good job of presenting almost every possible set of flight combinations.

Jeff
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Old Mar 18, 02, 12:44 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Henderson, NV, USA
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I usually check delta.com first. If the fare looks reasonable, I buy it.

If I have a little extra time and feel like it, I'll check Orbitz, Expedia, ITN, and Travelocity. I have never found those services to offer fares lower than what I find on delta.com for L/U and upgradeable.

If I travel on any other airline, I'll check Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity. Orbitz in almost all cases will come up with a cheaper fare (on a trip coming up soon on a major airline going up/down the West Coast, the Orbitz fare was $200+ cheaper than that airline's web site for the "lowest" coach fare).

For international, I've simply called Delta directly and asked for lowest upgradeable fare and whether or not an upgrade was available.
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Old Mar 18, 02, 3:59 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
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I have a tool called SideStep loaded into my browser. Whenever I am on a site doing an airfare search, SideStep kicks in and searches all airline sites for me, showing me a ton of fares. So I can just go to delta.com, do my search, and simultaneously learn what others are charging AT THEIR OWN SITES. Very useful tool for comparison shoppers.
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Old Mar 18, 02, 4:15 pm
  #8  
 
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andymo, where did you get SideStep?

I generally use expedia.com. Flying out of PHX, the best fares are always America West, Delta or United. And, I have never seen the prices on expedia beaten by more than a dollar or two.

I am sure the other on-line services are comparable, I'm just use to expedia. I am starting to check the airline's own websites to see if there is any difference.
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Old Mar 18, 02, 4:28 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
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I usualy go to ITA's web-site (beta.itasoftware.com) first. This is the booking engine that is used by Orbitz and will be used by Delta in the future... it checks out the adjacent airports, lays out the fares neatly among all the airlines.

Then I go to the airline I want to use for booking so as to get the online booking bonus.

Rarely, very rarely, does the ITA tool give me a different fare than the airline's site.

[This message has been edited by abigail (edited 03-18-2002).]
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Old Mar 18, 02, 7:38 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by andymo99:
I have a tool called SideStep loaded into my browser...</font>
www.sidestep.com. I'd also recommend it.

Jeff
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Old Mar 19, 02, 6:16 am
  #11  
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Occasionally I find a fare for a few dollars less on one of the discount travel sites. However unless there was a major difference in price, I always book on DL's or another carrier's own site to receive the 1,000 miles online booking bonus. I cannot remember the last time where I didn't use a major airline's own site.
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