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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Where do you guys find information on flights?

    From time to time I see the more experienced members here, referring to air-fares... and how it is cheaper to fly from / into different airports. How do you guys do that?

    In the past I have always just bought a ticket from Melbourne to Los Angeles, and never bothered to check cost, or whatever, as I just choose fly Qantas. Well, probably because up until now, I have always flown with frequent flyer points. But that is no more.

    At present I am trying to research four one-way flights, and am blowed if I can work out how to do it. I am not bound by fixed dates. These are approximates....

    20 / 25 March - Melbourne to Los Angeles or Vancouver or Seattle
    6 / 10 July - Boston to Melbourne
    16 / 20 July - Melbourne to Boston
    Sept / Oct - Los Angeles to Melbourne.

    I had planned just to book a return trip - March to Sep, Melb - LA. Then in July, when I plan to give my grandson a holiday in his father's place of birth, book a return trip from Boston to Melbourne. But it seem I am not able to do so, as one has to exit the country on the same ticket as used for entry.

    So what sites do you guys use, and how do I go about finding affordable flights. When I went on a local website which is supposed to find the best deals, and put in Melb - Seattle for both a one way trip and a return trip, the one way trip was more expensive than the return trip.

    I am really trying to avoid having to go to a travel agent. Any advice??

    Lifey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default RTA's Travel

    You can bid on air fares using the Priceline bid system. RTA doesn't sell air fares directly, not enough margin for us!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    That's normal - a one way flight can indeed cost as much as or more than a round trip!

    The 2 major sites we use here for booking flights are Expedia and Travelocity. There are also other sites that claim to find more discounted fares - such as Orbitz and Kayak.

    Using Expedia, I ran a MEL -> LAX -> MEL round trip (senior fare) from 3/22/12 to 9/20/12 and came up with:

    United - stopping in Sydney - $1312 USD
    V Australia - nonstop - $1417 USD
    Qantas - nonstop - $1441 USD

    I also ran a one way MEL -> LAX on 3/22/12 and came up with:

    China Southern - connecting in Guangzhou - $1066 USD
    Qantas/Air Pacific - connecting in Sydney - $1484 USD
    Delta - nonstop - $1536 USD

    Qantas nonstop is over $2000! These prices include taxes and airport fees, but not individual airline fees related to baggage handling, meals, etc.

    EDIT: Mark posted while I was researching - I just tried Priceline and they do not provide tickets from MEL.

    EDIT: Ah... good catch, I hadn't checked that....--Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-29-2011 at 11:52 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The site I use most when just browsing for flight options is ITA Travel, which I first heard about on this forum a few years ago and has recently been bought up by Google. That site searches for flight options and rates, but you can't actually by tickets there. What I like about it is that it gives the most search options, both for searching times -specific days, +/- days, or in a window, and distance from an airport so I can actually look at every airport within 300 miles of me if i want.

    If I actually want to purchase, I usually look at Kayak first. Priceline isn't something I usually use for airline tickets because, unlike hotels where I don't care about the details of where I stay, with a flight, I want to know my departure, arrival, and layover times before I book and you can't do that when you are bidding.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Lifey,

    I did put the general information you mentioned into ITA and came up with a price of AUS$2853 for a trip where the entire thing is on United. This is how I searched, and from there you can pick more of the specific dates for when you'd fly. You'd then have to contact United or a travel agent to complete the booking, but it should have everything the booking agent needs to get the same trip at the same price.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Michael, I think that search result uses a session cookie - all I get when clicking your link is the generic search box with nothing filled in.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I see. Well then here's a couple screenshots with the data I put into that search link.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Good point about the logistical details!

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    The site I use most when just browsing for flight options is ITA Travel, which I first heard about on this forum a few years ago and has recently been bought up by Google.
    All good points about the bidding system. Yeah, there's plenty of speculation that Google would like to become the #1 travel reseller on the Web and put Kayak, Priceline, Expedia, etc. out of business (and, the trickle-down effect would include shutting down secondary sites like RTA). But that is the nature of business...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Well..... thank you very much.

    Thanks for all those sites. Yeah! I have used Orbitz before - years ago - but I could not recall the name of the site.

    That is all exactly what I am looking for, though I feel even more overwhelmed than I did before.

    glc, with the standing of the dollar at present, there really is no issue with the currency... Thanks for those searches.

    Michael, thanks for all that information. I filled in the search, just as you did, using most of the information you had in yours (needed a magnifying glass to read it - lol). After I clicked on 'search' it took a long while to come up with anything, and when it did, it says that flight one is 'in progress' (and it turned orange), and the other three just state 'not selected'. What could I have done wrong?

    When I think about it, I really only select LAX out of force of habit. I can really fly into any west coast city. It is neither here nor there whether I make my way to St Paul and Boston fron LA, SF, or Seattle.... or even Vancouver.

    Anyway, it is beginning to look as if I might get away with it under $5K. (Michael, how did you get $2853?) Had hoped it would be less, but seems not. And that is not counting grandson's fare... which I think at 9 years of age should be about two-thirds of an adult fare.

    It still doesn't make sense that a one way can be more expensive than a return trip.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It makes sense for airlines, rental cars, etc....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    It still doesn't make sense that a one way can be more expensive than a return trip.
    Lifey, air fare rates are not strictly calculated on the cost to fly a given distance. It's not like a miles per gallon rate -- it's much more like a car rental rate -- so much $$$ per day -- How much you drive in a day is usually irrelevant to the cost of the rental. The same with an airplane. Airfare is looking at the offset cost to operate a given airframe on any given day. Whether the plane takes off or not, or flies a particular route on a given day, the cost to own that plane never changes. Therefore airlines prefer to amortize as much of the daily cost as they can. If they can get a little bit of income over two days of the plane's standing cost, instead of charging more for a single day's use that's what they'll do. They want to create an incentive for fliers to allow them to spread the amortized revenue over more than one day. That's why a single one-way air fare is often more than a round-trip fare. Also, they look at the relative cost of where that airplane is when it needs servicing for the day -- and often times the return legs are less expense than outbound flights when the trip is international.

    Mark

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