June 27, 2009

traveltip: kayaks go farther

I've posted before about my love for kayak.com. I have no connection to them and no benefit from plugging them, but they are far and away the best airline search service I have found. To really get to love it takes a while - at first all the thousands of options seem overwhelming, but once you start playing with all the buttons on the left after getting your results, you can easily learn to love its flexibility. While I've always found it to have cheaper fares than Orbitz, Travelocity, etc., I've recently had an odd thing happen. First off, you don't book through kayak - it finds the best result on other sites and when you click on the fare it links you to that site. But a couple times recently, I have searched a fare on kayak and linked to the Delta Airlines website as the cheapest fare. For whatever reason, I also searched the fare starting directly on Delta.com. But for the exact same flights, the fare was cheaper coming to delta.com from kayak than starting from delta.com, despite Delta's low price guarantee. Not a lot, but hey, thats your baggage fee. Speaking of which, that's the new option that I really love on kayak and was posting about: You can now search with baggage fees included. And as I learned with United last Christmas, it may not matter even if your bag is a legal carryon and fits in the carryon test box display - they can still tell you that you can't enter the secure area of the terminal and you have to pay to check it (which by the way now costs a new extra fee if you pay at the airport instead of online). So its a good idea to assume you may have to pay the fee even if your bag fits in carryon and at least make your travel searches that way. Then if you join the carryon-folks who delay takeoff and make boarding unpleasant for everyone, you at least have a little bonus cash. That is, unless you use it for the fees to reserve a seat or buy a drink: Kayak also has a page to help you keep up with all those extra fares being added continually - a good thing to check before you fly. Or save yourself the hassle and just fly Southwest. (and by the way, you can click on any image above to see it full size)
  • kayak.com: megachart of individual airline fees
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