Some advantages of planning your flights with Online Travel Booking Websites

Normally in travels that I have made, I often prefer booking directly from the airline's website instead of using online travel agents like Expedia, Opodo, eDreams, Priceline and others. The reason for me is simple: I normally travel with only one airline, perhaps because I don't travel much :)  But why do people use online travel websites when they can just visit an airline website and book the flight to their destination straight away?

 There are many reasons why consumers use these travel websites and most of these reasons relate to cost and wider travel choices. Online travel agents often have advantageous pricing that you might not find directly on the airline's website for example. That's how the business works, the savviest travelers pay the least amount of money. If you are not loyal to a single costly airline, online travel agencies and fare finders enable you to compare fares to your destination and estimate the shortest time and route to that destination. Booking with an airline all the time might be convenient but how many deals and last minute fare offers are you missing out there through the online travel agencies? In some instances, tickets on online travel websites are deeply discounted.
Online Travel Booking Websites

There's another category of online travel websites have aggregators that pull in fares from all the travel agencies and travel providers' websites on the web to offer you the lowest fare to your destination. These travel websites contain what's called metasearch capability which simply scrap fare information from destination A to destination B from multiple airline websites, a technique called screen scraping.

As a traveler, you might not be sure of which airlines fly to particular destinations and what fares they offer for those destinations. The hard and archaic way would be to visit the various airline offices in your city looking for available seats and fares. A less archaic but still cumbersome method would be to open multiple tabs on various airline websites and manually search for flights on their booking engines. Metasearchs in the various fare comparison websites enable you to do all this in less than 20 minutes. These online travel websites offer you efficiency and cost savings when traveling from one destination to another.

Consider you are flying from Nairobi to Dubai, one of the most lucrative routes, in a week's time. There are 38 weekly flights between the two cities. As a traveler, you might not be aware of which airlines service this route and an online flight and fare finder will be a useful companion in this regard. Kenya Airways for example charges $629 from Nairobi to Dubai on a one way flight but using fare comparison websites, you can get cheaper offers and save cash. Only two airlines offer nonstop flights on that route.  For example, using farecompare.com, I'm able to get the following fares:

Emirates : $460 Nonstop 5 hour flight
Qatar Airways $450 Connect via Doha  13 hour flight
Ethiopian Airlines $465 Connect via Addis  7 hour 40 minute flight

These are amongst the cheapest offers to Dubai from Nairobi. Please not the duration of flights and the stop overs. So which flight would you choose from Nairobi to Dubai? :) I will probably go with Emirates!
This example illustrates how you can save  a lot of money when using online travel websites.

Other online fare aggregators include SkyScanner.com Kayak.com  Sidestep.com Mobissimo.com farecast.com qixo.com Cheapflights.com amongst others. When organizing your travel, you should be familiar with the online travel agents and the online fare finders or metasearch engines for ease of finding the best and cheapest flights to your destination.

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2 Responses
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