Travel Aggregators
December 13, 2004 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Upstart travel sites challenge the big three Catering to skinflints who can't be bothered to check multiple sites for the best fares, travel aggregator sites like Mobissimo, CheapFlights, Qixo, or Sidestep allow you to search Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity with a single query, as well as bargain airlines like JetBlue and Southwest, which aren't covered by the big three. (note: Sidestep requires a download, and only works on Windows; the others are all just regular websites.) But maybe you'd be best off just heading straight to an obscure Belgian travel site.
posted by yankeefog (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I should add that, in practice, different aggregator sites actually end up searching different places--for example, Mobissimo searches Travelocity but not Orbitz, whereas Sidestep searches Orbitz but not Travelocity. So if (like me) you are intent on getting the absolute cheapest fare, you'll still have to search multiple sites. But each search will be covering significantly more territory, which is a major time saver.

Now, if somebody can just design an aggregator aggregator to let me search multiple aggregators at once...
posted by yankeefog at 7:20 AM on December 13, 2004

As an employee of a notable competitor to the "big three" and the "little four", I'd like to point out that almost every cheap-airline ticket company gets their listings from the same place. It's like choosing a cola: close your eyes, and you won't be able to tell the difference.
posted by Plutor at 7:51 AM on December 13, 2004

I am fairly certain that I have seen different rates between sites. Is a 5 minutes search lag enough for the price market to shift? Are these sites living entirely off their $5 commission for the flight (plus travel commissions & kickbacks from non-flight stuff) or do they engage in competitive pricing practices to extract maximum rent? Can they charge more than list? Less?
posted by allan at 8:16 AM on December 13, 2004

I use kayak!
posted by shoepal at 9:00 AM on December 13, 2004

Slightly OT: The use of pricing algorithms is really out of control. I recently priced tickets on all the major sites and assorted others and got wildly differing prices for the same basic itin, often the exact same airline. Got one deal that was so good even a consolidator in SF said "We can't really beat that. I'd take it if you haven't already." Of course, the deal was gone the next time I checked and then it was magically available a couple of days later at a slightly higher rate. I always feel like I'm playing roulette or something.
posted by shoepal at 9:09 AM on December 13, 2004

I hate that price-jumping stuff they talk about.

Flight for $230? Great! Get to the later's up to $348. What the hell is that all about?
posted by u.n. owen at 9:51 AM on December 13, 2004

It's also taxes and fees--they add more than 100 bucks to an overseas roundtrip.
posted by amberglow at 10:06 AM on December 13, 2004

I give a "thumbs up" for SideStep. I've been using it for a few years, and now rely on it almost exclusively. Hmm, no Travelocity, though...
posted by bullitt 5 at 10:56 AM on December 13, 2004

My mom, our family's newest web genius, told me about BusySky, which reportedly has some good deals...
posted by greatgefilte at 11:31 AM on December 13, 2004

shoepal, that Kayak site is really nice! I will definitely be using it in the future.
posted by r3tr0 at 6:10 AM on December 14, 2004

My favorite new inexplicable pricing detail. I got my most recent flight to New York cheaper by adding a hotel room.

Yes, flight + hotel was cheaper than just the flight. So I booked that, and am staying in my regular hotel room anyway, pondering how dumb it is that I'm saving money by wasting a hotel room.
posted by mosch at 2:16 PM on December 14, 2004

Mosch, you could offer the extra hotel room to someone you trust. I was thinking you could try and donate it for use by a homeless shelter but got stuck on the creating liability issue (which may be my biased thinking or just a growing paranoia, or I may be right).
posted by billsaysthis at 2:46 PM on December 14, 2004

My mom, our family's newest web genius, told me about BusySky, which reportedly has some good deals...

WARNING: I was just trying to help my bro find a cheap flight to Italy next week and remembered this post. We were psyched to find flights that were $400 cheaper than the rest on BusySky--but after a bit more research on the company, it seems that is a scam.
posted by dinah at 2:29 PM on December 21, 2004

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