Monday, April 23, 2012

Booking Flights

Who loves booking flights?  The thrill of looking at prices and schedules, so exhilarating, right?  Not me.  Especially when it was my dollar.  Even when it was someone else's dollar at stake, it's not a good feeling to spend that much.

This weekend I looked at a myriad of flight combinations.  I need to go home early June before my precious sister goes to Taiwan for a mission trip (the girl has been selling candy and gum at her high school, with little luck, in efforts to raise money.  What a persistent and driven young'un!!) and then I need to book another ticket to go home when I finish my work here.  So 3 flights.  I have the option of booking (a) 1 RT flight for the first two and a one-way for the last one, (b) a one-way for the first flight and RT for the last two, (c) a multicity ticket or (d) 2 one-way tickets.  It all just depends on what's cheapest (and least inconvenient for my dad who has to take me to and from the airport).

Searching for flights was a nightmare and for reasons what I'm sure you have experienced.  The prices change as your search.  Ever had that experience where each time you look at the prices, it keeps increasing?  Sometimes there's a fix for that, sometimes.  (TIP!) Clear your cookies!  Some site track what you've been searching and will raise the price so that you sense that the prices are on the rise and book sooner.  Other flight search nightmare, the website that you counted on so faithfully to deliver you the best prices, doesn't, and you discover that seconds before you were about to book.  That is a blessing in disguise although you feel like an idiot for wasting so much time.  OR, you've looking ferociously at flights even though you don't have the permission for time off, therefore wasting your time because prices changes and all of that time spent searching was for nothing.  Yes, I think we've all been there and done that.  For me, it was all three this time (and the changing prices could not be cured with a simple clearing cookies exercise).

I trusted Kayak to give me the best prices.  I used to rely on and for the best flight prices, but then I realized that sometimes had better prices so I could just depend on kayak to do the legwork.  Nope.  I never click on the additional search option from other sites, but I forgot to uncheck it by accident.  I was astounded to see that priceline had better prices than kayak.  Sometimes STATravel also had better prices (there's the under 26 option so it's still okay for me to use that site).  I was also disappointed because it meant that I could not use kayak as a one-stop-shop anymore.  Oh well, at least I would be assured that I indeed found the best price.

FYI, in my efforts to find the best prices and trying to book with United to make use of my credit card that gives me free checked bags, it made the most sense to book 3 one-way flights, with the flights home with United so I can start taking stuff home in checked baggage, free.  Then, taking the cheapest flight back here, with another airline.  Also, most likely, I'll be booking a red-eye flight leaving at night and getting back in the morning.  Anyone have experiences with these flights?  I'm a little concerned because sleeping in airplanes can be hard for me (mostly the regional jets).  Also, concerned about sitting/sleeping next to a creep..  However, I could make it to work late morning and take one less (half)day off.  We'll see.

An hour later...

Booked flights to and from Sacramento at $190 each, aisle seats for all my flights.  Unfortunately long layovers but oh well!  Lots of magazine time at airport bookstores, I guess. 


  1. I never thought to clear my cookies while looking for flights! That's a great idea :) And congrats on booking your flights--get earplugs for the red-eye!

  2. Yeah.. I'll see how that goes. Thanks!!

  3. A few other little things - after clearing cookies, do your searching on a Tues or Wed (apparently that's when new flight schedules are released, so the most cheap seats are available). If you have flexible dates, Travelocity has the easiest-to-use chart matrix that tells you the prices for a week at a time so you can decide exactly which day to leave, and has the easiest-to-use month at a glance charts so you can decide which week to go!

    1. Thanks!! I always forget which day of the week was supposed to be the best, I'll try to remember that next time. I've never used or heard of cheapflightsfinder, so I'll use that to look at flights to Taiwan (although I don't think I'll find anything cheaper than the $807 ticket I found!)