This list was easy to make as I have been to all of these sites in the last week. Some I check daily and some compliment the task at hand. This is by no means a complete list but is full of useful links to any frequent traveler.
Finding Cheap Fares
- ITA Matrix. This is the tool I use to find the best fares. Understand that it is not a third party booking engine, just a search engine. Although it is not as user friendly as the popular search engines it is way more comprehensive. My favorite parts about ITA Matrix are both that it searches favorite airlines as well as that it adds routes. By making the trip longer you can get more miles. It’s not worth it for short hauls but it can add up. Under help ___ you can learn the controls.
- Kayak (Explore). Kayak is my favorite search engine because 1) it will connect me right to the airline/hotel website 2) because it also has a good Matrix 3) it searches multiple third party engines without pop-ups and 4) the Explore feature lets you look at the cost of flying different places using a map. A quick and easy way to find the cheapest but furthest flight.
- Farecompare. Farecompare shows flight comparisons better than Kayak and has been really good about showing deals. (Unfortunately they have taken away the mileage run tool that showed deals and cost per miles. I’m waiting for its promised return.)
- AirfareWatchDog. This shows you the 50 cheapest flights in the states. The drawbacks are that it incorporates too many junk airlines like Spirit that are just showing fees before incredibly high fuel charges and it has only a small amount of international flights.
- Your favorite airline. No doubt about it, the best way to find good deals from your airport is to be on their email list.
One World Awards
- One World Alliance Map. The One World Map shows you all the routes out of every possible airport and what airlines run each route -a fun way to map out your next One World flight.
- BA. British Airways has a good search engine for direct flights (works well with the map). While it shows partner airline information, this is not the case when routing through Europe. Unfortunately it does not give you any other options for Europe other than BA itself via London. (In this case Qantas also has a decent search engine.)
- ExpertFlyer. ExpertFlyer is the best way to figure out how to use your American Airline miles (and many other programs) on partner flights. Unfortunately it costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. There is also a 5 day trial to get you hooked. If you’re planning an AA trip, it’s a must, even if you only get 5 days. It also helps out with setting alerts for upgrades and a few other things.
Star Alliance Awards
- United. The merger left United with Continental’s website which is mostly a plus simply because it includes an awesome search engine. It searches award flights on partners flawlessly.
- Air Canada. AC has a map that I actually prefer to the Star Alliance map. While Star Alliance has its benefit in seeing airports, it is fickle in showing routes. The AC map shoes both, which is why I prefer it.
- Greater Circles. GC simply tells you how many miles you would fly. So if you’re thinking about adding a segment to your flight for more miles, check GC first and see how many miles it earns. (Please note that not all programs earn miles at the same rate. Discount airlines and some foreign airlines earn differently. But be assured if you’re flying on a real airline like AA, USA, UA, etc… you’ll earn per mile flown for revenue flight).
- Seat Guru. Not only do I use seat Guru to pick my seat, I sometimes use it to pick my airplane. Some business class long hauls have beds and some don’t. Some first classes have suites and some don’t. If I can change my flight by 1 hour to get a suite, I will. A must for any airline nerd or frequent flyer.
These are a few of my favorite tools.