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dmax
07-10-2008, 19:05
What are the best web sites to find the cheapest plane tickets?
What about hotels?
Are there better sites to go to for flights and different ones to go to for hotels? I usually use expedia, but I figure somebody on here knows where the better ones are.

Sly
07-10-2008, 19:28
priceline.com, cheaptickets.com, obitz.com, travelocity.com try them all and compare. All have flights and hotels

Just try to book atleast 3 weeks in advance.

Cookerhiker
07-10-2008, 19:40
I've used all the ones Sly mentioned but about a year ago, I discovered Kayak.com (http://www.kayak.com/)which I think is the best because it searches all the aforementioned sites plus the airlines' sites incredibly fast and gives you a comparison. In short, it does in 30 seconds what you could do in about half an hour if you went to all those sites yourself.

Others include hotwire.com and hotels.com. And recently, I discovered http://hotel-guides.us/ and was able to find deals not available on the others.

Several travel sites charge booking fees but you can to to them to find the cheapest air flight or hotel, then go to the airline or hotel site and often find the same rate or less where you can book without the fee.

FFTorched
07-10-2008, 19:51
I second Kayak.com, but I've never used the site yet. If I take my trip to Prague I will most likely use Kayak.com.

Fiddleback
07-10-2008, 19:59
priceline.com, cheaptickets.com, obitz.com, travelocity.com try them all and compare. All have flights and hotels

Just try to book atleast 3 weeks in advance.

In the recent past, three weeks did seem to be the cutoff for discounts. Who knows what's going on this summer..? One thing you have to be concerned with is changing/cancelled schedules as the airlines are cutting back on flights and capacity this summer.

FYI, the book-in-advance discounts are usually found on the individual airline's web site too...I try both the airlines' and the travel web sites. When there's not a big difference I prefer to deal with the airline directly. Ditto auto rental.

FB

Blissful
07-10-2008, 20:32
I like this site (http://www.itasoftware.com/) from ITA software for airline prices, esp if you aren't picky about layovers, switching planes, etc. Click on searching airfares.

modiyooch
07-10-2008, 20:42
kayak.com

not only does it show the cheapest, but it has several filters as well such as takeoff times, # of stops, certain airlines, length of layover. I notice it has a hotel tab, but I have never used it.

also, check out jet blue airlines and airtran airlines. They only fly into certain airports such as Boston and Baltimore. I prefer to fly to Manchester, NH; but for the price, it was alot cheaper to fly to Boston.

Beware: ticket prices have doubled. That's why I am currently homebound. I have to combine my hiking trips.

Moon Monster
07-11-2008, 00:50
I'm another kayak.com fan.

Also, farecompare.com is a nice site for research on how to time your purchase to possibly save for your given set of departure and arrival cities. It searches the airlines' FAA filings and tracks historical data. Of course, historical data may be worth less in these times of fuel price volatility.

A-Train
07-11-2008, 09:30
Another vote for Kayak. I found $350 to Costa Rica here (roundtrip, non-stop, Saturdays, Delta).

Alligator
07-11-2008, 09:37
I like this site (http://www.itasoftware.com/) from ITA software for airline prices, esp if you aren't picky about layovers, switching planes, etc. Click on searching airfares.I've used this one for a couple of years myself and found it very helpful.

I will also try out that kayak.com in the future.

Fiddleback
08-09-2008, 09:48
This isn't a big thing...now. Let's hope it doesn't catch on...

"Airline Plans To Cancel All Flights Booked Through 3rd Party Websites"
(QUOTE)...And people wonder why airlines have so much trouble staying in business? We were already confused enough by American Airlines' desire not (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080725/1322411794.shtml) to be listed on the sites where people search for airfare, and easyJet's plan to sue (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080627/1250171538.shtml) the sites that send it customers, but Irish-based airline Ryanair is taking this all to a new level. Beyond just being upset about those 3rd party sites (i.e., sites that send it business!), it's planning to cancel the flights for everyone who booked through one of those services (http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/ryanair-travellers-may-lose-bookings-1449260.html) ENDQUOTE (more follows)
http://techdirt.com/articles/20080808/1057031933.shtml

FB

fiddlehead
08-09-2008, 10:10
I've found that bestfares.com is a good one.
for hotels, I'd check Lonely Planet.

Bob S
08-09-2008, 11:01
I never understood the idea of price shopping for plane tickets, people have been doing this for so many years that the aircraft industry has to market this way now to survive and also this leads to corners being cut in areas where you should not do so. Planes not maintained properly can kill you. It’s not like a flat tire on a car; you don’t just pull over and change it.


Jets are big very expensive to make.

Burn a large amount of fuel.

Have a lot of parts that have to work right every time or it crashes and lots of people die.

And you have to constantly work on it, check for problems, change parts that are wearing out.

Airline companies have to pay for space at every airport they use.

Pilots make $70.000 a year.



All these things cost and make owning and flying jets expensive, and people seem bent on not paying much to fly, it’s a recipe for disaster.


Customer want to fly from Detroit to Florida for $99.00, (pick whatever your favorite route is) common sense tells me something is going to have to be cut out of the equations to keep jets in the air. Inspection and repairs are going to be one area that gets the axe because they are not seen by customers. Parts are going to be run a little longer, tires that need to be changed every 3 landings are going to be pushed to 5 landings. Things like this work, till is doesn’t and a failure is catastrophic.


At some point it’s going to have an undesired effect (people are going to die)

20-20 just did a show on runway incursions as they called it. Basically what they said in the show is that there are 2 Ĺ near misses on runways in the USA every day. (One plane pulling onto a runway while another was coming in for a landing at 185 MPH.) this is going on every day, 365 days a year, that scary!!!



I would consider driving instead of looking for a low cost plane ride. It’s like a balloon, you can keep blowing it up, but you know at some point it’s going to burst.




My guess at some point there is going to be a plane crash that will focus on how poorly the airline industry is maintaining its planes & jets and there will be a big push to nationalize the airline industry to protect us.

Frosty
08-09-2008, 11:18
Read the entire Ryan Air aritcle before getting upset.

Ryan Air has the lowest fares of any airline, so low that even teh cheap websites sell tickets for less than they are on Ryan Air.

Hard to blame a company who keeps prices as low as possible for not wanting websites to make more than they do per ticket. I don't agree with the way they are doing this, but it sounds like there has been a war on for a while, as Ryanair states they will refund the websites and let them sort out the refunds in order to create ill-will and chaos for the websites.

Admittedly Ryanair is unique, but in this case the price gougers are the discount websites, not the airline.

rafe
08-09-2008, 12:17
I've dealt with cheaptickets.com for a few years now, generally no problems. However, as of this week I've discovered one serious downside: you really can't change anything in the itinerary once you've booked it. cheaptickets.com will refer you to the airline in question. In my case it was AA, and their charge for changing the return date exceeded the original round-trip fare. Ridiculous. I returned the rental car (from Hertz) a week early, and expect to get no refund.

rafe
08-09-2008, 12:54
My guess at some point there is going to be a plane crash that will focus on how poorly the airline industry is maintaining its planes & jets and there will be a big push to nationalize the airline industry to protect us.


So are you saying that the "free market" is not enough to guarantee airline safety? :-?

You make some interesting points. Certainly the airline industry is being squeezed hard right now -- but frankly, I've never quite understood their business model. At the moment, you get free non-alcoholic beverages -- but no meals or snacks -- on a cross-country flight (coach class) on American Airlines. On my return flight from SFO yesterday, on USAir, they were charging $2 for sodas and bottled water (and no meal or snacks at all.) The "Sky Chef" industry must be dead or dying.

USAir is charging $15 for the first piece of checked luggage, and $100 for the second. Folks are trying to get around this by carrying large or multiple carry-on items, which creates further havoc. Economy-class flying was never much fun, but it seems to be getting worse.

max patch
08-09-2008, 13:15
I use the Travelocity service where they email you every time one of the cities you've listed with them lowers the price $25. I also book thru them even tho I could save $5 a ticket (their service charge) by going directly to the airlines because its the right thing to do.

PJ 2005
08-09-2008, 13:24
Another kayaker reporting...

Bob S
08-09-2008, 14:35
I’m saying that at some point there is going to be a final straw of accidents and people will run (demand) that the government take control and fix it rather then expect the industry to do it. The free market at that point will not be any more. One would think that there is an opportunity at this point for the emergence of an airline that goes above and beyond all others in not only maintenance, but also customer service. And be forward in advertising these facts. And charge more. Yea it cost more, but it’s safer. But it seems people are not really interested in safety as much as they are a low price. I was simply pointing out how I don’t understand this thinking?


Every safety rule or law is written in blood, the airline industry is no different. I’m a big believer in free enterprise, but I also think there should be safety standards as at times companies or in this case (I think?) the whole industry is willing to forgo safety issues.

As far as the airline industry becoming nationalized in the USA, I see it happening at some point for 1 of 2 reasons. The industry can’t make it and will fold, or an accident will push us into it because of public demand for it.


I don’t think it will make it better or give us better service. Other then the post office, what has the government ran that gives its customers better service? Nothing!



I don’t look forward to more of the nanny-state where the government takes care of all our needs.

rafe
08-09-2008, 14:48
I donít think it will make it better or give us better service. Other then the post office, what has the government ran that gives its customers better service? Nothing!

That's not correct, by a long shot*. That's been the conservative mantra for the last thirty or forty years, but think about it: do you really want government officials who constantly preach that the government is "the enemy?" It's actually in their interest for government policy (at least social policy) to fail -- so they have zero interest in making it work, and plenty of interest in having it fail. That wasn't always the case.

(*Here's a PDF (http://www.dchealth.dc.gov/doh/lib/doh/information/grants_funding/grant_program/pdf2/blackbox_of_costs.pdf) about the relative costs of public vs. private health care that refutes your claim.)

As to the airlines -- I think you make a case for strong regulation, if not nationalization. Nationalization, in the USA, is not going to happen.

Sly
08-09-2008, 14:52
USAir is charging $15 for the first piece of checked luggage, and $100 for the second. Folks are trying to get around this by carrying large or multiple carry-on items, which creates further havoc. Economy-class flying was never much fun, but it seems to be getting worse.

They recently changed the fees from free for the 1st to $15 and $25 for the 2nd unless it's oversized!

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,52481,00.html

I mailed my gear pack home from the west coast so I wouldn't have to deal with it getting lost or damaged. $33 for 29 lbs parcel post. Took 4 days. Insured with U-Pic (http://www.u-pic.com/index.aspx) for $12 for $1000

PS In this case USPS insurance is as cheap as U-Pic. Wasn't always that way.

Bob S
08-09-2008, 15:46
As to the airlines -- I think you make a case for strong regulation, if not nationalization. Nationalization, in the USA, is not going to happen.



Actually Iím in strong favor of government regulation (I think we both agree on this and that the airline companies donít seem all that concerned about it.) of safety issues as it relates to aircraft. I just wish it would happen without regard to political favors and corruption and lobbyist.


As far as nationalization. I donít want it to happen, but the aircraft industry doesnít seem to be willing to police itself very well and people will at some point demand it and I think the government will take over.


Not a super big issue to me on a personal level as I generally donít fly. I drive

rafe
08-09-2008, 15:54
Not a super big issue to me on a personal level as I generally donít fly. I drive

All well and good if you've got lots of time, or if the distances are minimal. If you need to get across the country, or across an ocean... it's tough.

You made an interesting statement earlier in that "regulations are written in blood." I think the airline industry is aware of that... and they're also aware, I'm sure, that air travel would plummet if safety statistics took a turn for the worse.

IIRC, in terms of passenger-miles, you're still far safer in an airplane than an automobile. Personally, I'd like to see a revival in passenger trains.

Bob S
08-09-2008, 16:20
Train travel would be a neat way to get across the country

There just doesn’t seem to be a big call for it in this country.

My train travel experience consist of hopping a few freight trains when I was a kid to get around town.

fiddlehead
08-09-2008, 18:24
Doesn't anyone use airhitch anymore?
Cheapest way to travel between the US and Europe that i've found.
Used em twice, very happy with the price, and the way it worked.

Also Courier flights.
I did this once. Only $400 for RT to Thailand from JFK (NY city)
It took some time to set it all up though (3 or 4 months)

I believe Southwest air is still relatively cheap in the states. They have some smart people who somehow got a long term contract for fuel oil or something and have supposedly kept their fares low through the gas crises.

I usually go to a few of the before mentioned sites like bestfares, kayak, etc. and THEN go directly to the airlines that are the cheapest. Sometimes you can save another $25 or something.

I don't really understand those that say it's not safe to fly. With the amount of planes landing and taking off worldwide every day, accidents are very rare. I googled statistics and found this: the actual risk of one person being involved in a fatal airline accident, to be once every 19,000 years, provided he flew on an airliner once each day of those 19,000 years. He bases that estimate on what actually happened in the domestic U.S., during the 1990s.

That's in the US.
It seems this year there was a crash in Sudan, Honduras, Venezuela, and Congo. That is in 7 months of 2008 wordwide.
Last year there was a crash (with fatalities) here in Phuket. It was on a day when i've seen some of the worst winds of my life with big trees blowing over around the island. It would be calm and then all of a sudden, a 50 mph wind gust.
People blamed it on pilot error but if you were here that day, you would say it was an act of nature. (sort of like Karl Meltzer's hike right now) (or Katrina, or the earthquake in China this year, or.......................)

Anyway, good luck finding those cheap deals out there. There's also consolidators out there but i've never had any luck getting better deals with them.

flemdawg1
08-10-2008, 14:55
I never understood the idea of price shopping for plane tickets, people have been doing this for so many years that the aircraft industry has to market this way now to survive and also this leads to corners being cut in areas where you should not do so. Planes not maintained properly can kill you. Itís not like a flat tire on a car; you donít just pull over and change it.
....

My guess at some point there is going to be a plane crash that will focus on how poorly the airline industry is maintaining its planes & jets and there will be a big push to nationalize the airline industry to protect us.

First of all, the airline/ aerospace industry just doesn't work like that. The accountants don't call the maintenance dept, and tell them to stop changing tires. The maintenace of aircraft is studied continuously studied and refined to ensure that catastrophic events are so statistically unlikely that...well 10^-7 probability is the standard.

Statistically you much more likely to be killed driving than flying.

Plodderman
08-10-2008, 16:05
Actually over the past few months I have flown some of my kids from Chicago to Columbus and have used priceline, travelocity and have even called the airlines direct. I have always been able to get a reasonable flight.

The bag situation makes it trickier as you have to check that before ordering but I have also been able to cross that hurdle by checking other flights. We only fly real early or real late.

highway
08-10-2008, 17:02
As to the airlines -- I think you make a case for strong regulation, if not nationalization. Nationalization, in the USA, is not going to happen.



Actually Iím in strong favor of government regulation (I think we both agree on this and that the airline companies donít seem all that concerned about it.) of safety issues as it relates to aircraft. I just wish it would happen without regard to political favors and corruption and lobbyist.


As far as nationalization. I donít want it to happen, but the aircraft industry doesnít seem to be willing to police itself very well and people will at some point demand it and I think the government will take over.


Not a super big issue to me on a personal level as I generally donít fly. I drive

Nationalization? Don't even mention that word. Our government can't even manage themselves, let alone some private company. Lets see....Amtrac, for instance?

Bob S
08-10-2008, 17:15
I don't want it to happen, but I can see people demanding (people ahat are fooled into thinking the government can fix it) it at some point. And it will not fix it and it's a good bet it will make it worst.

Sly
08-10-2008, 17:33
Doesn't anyone use airhitch anymore?
Cheapest way to travel between the US and Europe that i've found.
Used em twice, very happy with the price, and the way it worked.

Also Courier flights.
I did this once. Only $400 for RT to Thailand from JFK (NY city)
It took some time to set it all up though (3 or 4 months)


Yo, if you can tell me how to get a flight to Thailand for $500 RT, I'll come visit. I'll need about two months so I can visit India and Nepal too.