An article in NY Times comparing several meta-search sites got me thinking about how each might or might not find the unadvertised Spring deals we reported last week between the West Coast and Hawaii.
Meta Sites like Bing Travel, FareCompare, Fly and Kayak are designed to save you time in finding the best deals.
Searching hundreds of other sites, they present pricing to you, before directing you to the site of your choice for purchase. They make money through referring you to the purchase site and through advertising.
Not one of the Meta Sites found my $336 airfare between LAX and HNL.
They couldn’t see all of the dates for the lower-priced, non advertised deals which I found on the Hawaiian Airlines site.
FareCompare missed the lower airfares in terms of the initial pricing presented, but found the deals when I clicked specific dates. It also uncovered a $329 Delta fare, that was more difficult to find.
I talked recently about how sites use backward and forward looking pricing and what that means to you while shopping online.
The examples below are screen shots of my meta flexible date search.
Bing and Kayak came closest to my $336 fare with their $352 offering. FareCompare was higher at $381 and Fly was a dollar more. I was also able to get an additional 5 percent discount using an Affiliate Code which lowered my fare to $320.
What does this mean? No one is perfect. All of these sites have a place and strive to be as accurate as possible. We’ll also keep reporting the best deals we find.
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