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sparkymarky
14th Jun 2004, 08:55
Can anyone recommend a really good site for booking a multi-stop UK to US trip please? i.e. flying UK to US, then hopping around a few US cities, then returning to UK.

All suggestions gratefully received.

Globaliser
14th Jun 2004, 10:13
What I'd recommend is just using one of the normal search engines (Travelocity, Opodo or - my flawed favourite - the ITA Software demo (http://beta.itasoftware.com/)) to get an idea of what the fares would be like doing it as one ticket.

Then price some straight returns to your gateway(s) - open jaw if necessary - to see what the differential is.

If the multi-leg itinerary is significantly more expensive, as it often is, then I'd recommend buying the trans-Atlantics separately from the US domestics. You'll then have the freedom to choose your airlines, routes, service levels (:D) and prices for all the domestic legs. This will allow you to use some of the low-fare domestics in the US, if appropriate, whose service levels are now paradoxically often higher than the major airlines'.

Things to watch out for in the ITA Software demo are:-
(a) you must put a UK city (LON will do) for the sales point, to get SITI fares which are usually the best for ex-UK international tix;
(b) it doesn't display all airlines - I think that US is one of the notable absent members for trans-Atlantics;
(c) its tax calculations are hopeless, so use the base fares as comparisons;
(d) in the detailed price breakdowns, base fares are usually shown in NUC (which is I think in effect the same as USD), so you will need to do a currency conversion to get the GBP base price.

SITI = Sold Inside [country of origin], Ticketed Inside
NUC = Notional Units of Calculation/Construction

newswatcher
14th Jun 2004, 12:34
sparkymarky watch out for the "added costs". Some sites wait until you are nearly finished, then add on an "admin" charge, or even a delivery charge to get the tickets to you, even if this is weeks away. These are typically in the region of 10.

The moral of the story is that the cheapest net ticket may not always be the cheapest gross one!

I have recently found it difficult to beat Expedia for prices, and they do a good multi-stop one. :ok: Don't forget Ebookers, they can do multi-city if you need, but online currently restricted to one additional only.

I currently have a whinge about BA site. In trying for a island-hopping trip to Canaries, found out I couldn't do it online through BA.com, but would have to pay them 15/ticket for making booking via a telephone call! :mad:

sparkymarky
14th Jun 2004, 21:18
Many thanks for those tips. Based on my searches so far, it seems fair to return some knowledge....

The Expedia search engine seems very flexible, but the ITA site gives some useful pointers that I haven't seen elsewhere - long layover, prop flights, etc.

One thing I've found so far is that not every search engine seems to get access to the same flight options. The tentative itinerary I'd mapped out was Glasgow to Chicago to Las Vegas to Boston then back to Glasgow.

Knowing that AA do a direct Glasgow to Chicago flight during the summer season, I thought that was the obvious choice, but sometimes I was getting offered GLA-LGW/LHR-ORD with AA rather than direct, yet other engines were giving me the direct option.

So far Expedia has come up with the best results of the multi supplier engines - on the dates I was looking at (in September) it gave me:

GLA-ORD (via LHR)
ORD-LAS (via LAX)
LAS-BOS (non stop)
BOS-GLA (via ORD)

all on AA for 612. Which I thought was excellent, but with more connections than I expected.

So it occurred to me to try the AA website directly, which gave me:

GLA-ORD (non stop)
ORD-LAS (non stop)
LAS-BOS (non stop)
BOS-GLA (via ORD)

all on AA for 599.30. I nearly booked the tickets on the spot!!! Oohhh I do hope we can get the holiday plans sorted out quickly!

I did look at the open jaw combined with budget airlines options, but the open jaw tickets were generally in excess of 500 on their own, so even though some of the budget flights looked like great value, the sums still didn't stack up.

So, thanks again for your help. I hope my info is useful to others too. :ok:

BrightonGirl
15th Jun 2004, 08:42
Sounds like you've got a really good deal there, but I just wanted to post some info that I posted on another thread not long ago:

There's a convenient website called www.bookingbuddy.com that allows you to put in your dates and itinerary once, then access expedia, travelocity and orbitz so you can compare their prices without having to re-type your info.

And you should know that our lowcost carriers Jet Blue and Southwest aren't listed on expedia, etc., so you have to check their websites separately.

newswatcher
15th Jun 2004, 10:37
BrightonGirl thaks for that site reference, but a word of caution, some of the referred sites only work where the journey starts/ends in the States.

Runway 31
15th Jun 2004, 13:28
When I went to the US last year I flew with United. The return flight from Edinburgh to Heathrow were free as were 2 of the flights within the US. The other flights I had were 50 each.

I know that United are in a bit of financial trouble but on the occasions I flew with them they were full, were fine and all the flights were on time with no delays. The UK flights were on BMI.

Might be an idea to give them a call to try and get cheaper but it will mean having to go via LHR which is not very convenient.

BrightonGirl
15th Jun 2004, 20:13
Thanks, Newswatcher, for the info. I had wondered about that. Do you by any chance recall which of them can be used for a trip that doesn't originate and end in the US? Just so I can share the info.

Sparky... Anyway, glad to know you've got a great deal. Enjoy your trip!

Runway 31 -- Incredible deals! Yikes! Good for you!