By davidleetodd on Apr 09, 2007
Every once in a while, I fall in love with a web site. I can't stay away from it -- I find myself accessing it just to hear its little voice saying, "Am I not I cool?" The last site I felt this way about was Google Maps. My latest infatuation is Kayak.com. In case you haven't seen it, it is an amazing airline aggregation site. You put in your travel dates and destination, and it searches almost every airline site, and also the big bargain travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, CheapTickets, etc., for available flights. It lists all the flights, and then you can sort them by cost, duration, number of segments, airliine name, etc. You can also filter by number of segments, or by any subset of specific airlines. BW is going to Dubai in a couple of weeks, and I got her a great deal on British Airways through Kayak. One thing that is especially cool is that you just click through to the airline or Orbitz, etc., itself and book through them, not through Kayak, so you know you're not taking a risk with a site you may not trust.
If you want to look under the hood a bit, check out ITA Software. They are the guys who wrote the software that underlies Kayak, and they have a permanent beta on their site of the next generation of the program that you can also use to research flights. It has some extra features that some people might find useful. Beware, though. I compared it to Kayak once, and it did not produce as cheap a result. Of course, you rather expect that when you use a beta. According to ITA, their software is now being used by a lot of the major travel sites, so one might expect site results to converge over time, but I think I will stick with Kayak, my true love. For those who are really into sick relationships with web sites, check out FlyerTalk.com, the site for frequent flyer mileage junkies. It was there that I first learned of the ITA site, because mileage junkies use it to construct elaborate "mileage runs," to earn frequent flyer miles at low cost. Find yourself in December with a couple of thousand miles to go before you qualify for Elite status on your favorite airline? No problem! Just use ITA or Kayak to construct a trip from New York to Miami via Omaha and Dallas on a cheap redeye, and fall in love.
Silo warning: Kayak does not search Southwest, so if you are flying to a Southwest city, you may want to check their site separately. I believe Sun's own travel agent, American Express, has the same problem with Southwest, unless you ask them to check it. I guess Southwest doesn't like to cooperate with search programs. Tsk, tsk.