Which Booking Website Offers the Best Price?

I thought occasionally I would randomly search a city pair on a selected date to see what airline/booking site offered the lowest price.  If you ever want to suggest your travel itinerary (cities and dates) you are welcome to Email Me. I’ll track the results so we can see what site most often ends up on top.

I will follow the step by step guide to buying cheap airline tickets online.  By the way, if you want to download a pdf copy you can do that here.

Why don’t we head cross country today:  JFK – LAX

Let’s take a fall week vacation Saturday to Saturday September 12th –19th, 2009.

  1. Hotwire Rate = $227
  2. JetBlue, Delta, United, Virgin America, American = $239.21 (all direct flights) Same information produced by Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and Sidestep.
  3. Southwest = $310.40 (only from LGA)

My Notes/comments/reactions:

  1. Sure, Hotwire has the best rate, but only by about $12.  If it were me, I would rather get the time schedule I prefer and guarantee a direct flight.  Hotwire would likely book you on one of the above direct routes but who wants to risk it for $12?  Also remember when you book Hotwire you are not eligible for points.
  2. It is always an advantage when several airlines have a matching price.  Allows you to pick the airline based on whatever brand you prefer and the points programs you prefer.
  3. If I were to try using Priceline I would not go any higher than $190 for my bid.  Anything more than that and it wouldn’t be worth the possibility of getting on a flight with stops.
  4. I’m sort of surprised that Southwest did not fare better.  When you calculate the baggage cost the prices are much closer.  Flexibility could bring the Southwest prices lower.

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