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Airline information on-line on the Internet FAQ
Changes from last week are indicated by the usual marks in the right margin.
Please look through this entire FAQ, particularly the PLEASE NOTE at the end,
before e-mailing me a question or comment, since most of the questions I get
are already answered in the FAQ.
* July 2005 update |
The airline industry is still in lousy shape. (I'd like to change that
starting sentence, but I won't be able to any time soon.)
Planes are fairly full, schedules about back to the level of 2001. National,
Midway and Vanguard Airlines are out of business, United, US Airways, ATA, and |
now Aloha are flying in bankruptcy and are squabbling with their unions. |
United was turned down for government assistance three time and is hanging on,
trying to get out of bankruptcy, currently trying to renege on pension
commitments, to the point where unions are threatening suicidal strikes. They
have such valuable international routes that they'll be reincarnated as
something if they go. Hawaiian has emerged from bankruptcy, but it's still |
soon to tell for Aloha. Maybe they'll merge and die together. |
US Airways is slogging through its second bankruptcy, which makes me so
thrilled that I have Gold Elite frequent flyer status this year, and has
negotiated agreements with creditors so it's OK until at least June. The Wall
Street Journal says it's currently on the verge of merging with America West.
ATA made a surprise deal with Southwest to provide codeshare service between
Midway and places Southwest doesn't go, such as New York LaGuardia,
Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy in OK but not great shape, but it'll
survive in some form since it's the only airline in most of Canada,
particularly since low-cost competitor JetsGo turned out to be so low cost
that it ran out of cash and died.
Other major US airlines are financially fragile; Independence Air is on life
support at the mercy of its plane suppliers, although a recent capital
infusion make it likely they'll last at least through mid-year. The only major
U.S. airlines currently making money are low fare carriers Southwest, Jet
Blue, Frontier, and Airtran. Since early 2003 there's been a mild industry
recovery, but it only improved the situation from really, really bad to merely
Passengers are subject to much more extensive screening than in the past,
including screening of checked baggage at check-in time, and, according to
news reports pat downs that approach groping. Airlines recommend arriving at
least an hour earlier than before. In my experience the extra delay is rarely
more than 15 minutes, even with the extra baggage screening, although I
usually fly out of smaller airports, not big hubs where you can get the killer
two hour lines. The TSA has taken over screening at most airports, to
relatively positive reviews, although there still can be great inconsistency
in procedures from one airport to another, particularly with respect to your
shoes. The TSA has a web site with estimated wait times
(http://waittime.tsa.dhs.gov) based on averages in previous months, not real
time numbers. Foreign airlines are flying to and from the U.S. normally.
Other changes include: some airports have stopped curb-side baggage check,
anything vaguely resembling a knife or lighter may or may not be confiscated,
you're often only allowed one carry-on plus a purse, briefcase, diaper bag or
the like, non-passengers aren't allowed past security without a gate pass from
an airline, all passengers must have document that looks like a boarding pass
at most airports to get past security, some parking areas close to terminals
are closed. But check-in clerks no longer have to ask you whether you packed
your own suitcase.
* What's in this FAQ?
There's an enormous amount of information available on the Web about airlines
and aviation. This FAQ concentrates on two things: schedules, fares,
reservations, and tickets for commercial airlines, and on-line travel agents.
We list both airline-sponsored and independent information.
The first parts of this FAQ discuss on-line sources of airline schedules and
fares, of which there are several general-purpose services.
After that it lists airlines that have any of online schedules, fares,
reservations, ticket sales, and flight status.
Next comes a listing of on-line specials, sources of special fares and other
deals available over the net. Many airlines have short-notice specials which
are worth checking out.
The rest of the FAQ lists travel agents that offer service over the net and
have indicated that they'd like to be listed. I am not a travel agent (I
consult and write computer books which you can find out about in my web site
at http://www.johnlevine.com, and the agent listings are provided free to any
agent that asks and sends in a short description of what he or she offers.
* Where is this FAQ available?
It's on the Web at http://airinfo.aero, and perhaps at mirror sites. Anyone is
welcome to mirror the HTML version of this FAQ so long as the mirror is kept
up to date with the original. If you make a mirror, please let me know by
e-mail so I can tell you when there are updated
You can also get it by e-mail every Sunday. To get on the mailing list, send a
message to containing the line "subscribe airline".
(Don't type the quotes, nor any other punctuation.)
* How do on-line reservations work?
Four giant airline computer systems in the United States handle nearly all the
airline reservations in the country. (They're known as CRSs, for computer
reservations systems, or more often now GDS for global distribution systems.)
Although each airline has a ``home'' CRS, the systems are all interlinked so
that you can, with few exceptions, buy tickets for any airline from any CRS.
The dominant systems in the U.S. are Sabre (home to American and US Airways),
Galileo (home to United), Worldspan (home to Delta, Northwest), and Amadeus
(Continental and many European lines.) Many of the low-price start-up airlines
don't participate in any of these systems but have their own Web sites where
you can check flights and buy tickets. Southwest, the largest and oldest of
the low-price airlines, doesn't participate, either. Southwest's web site gets
car and hotel info from Galileo, but the info seems not to flow the other way.
Orbitz, one of the big three online travel agencies, runs its own system which
is linked directly to many of the airlines.
In theory, all the systems show the same data; in practice, however, they get
a little out of sync with each other. If you're looking for seats on a
sold-out flight, an airline's home system is most likely to have that last,
elusive seat. If you're looking for the lowest fare to somewhere, check all
four systems because a fare that's marked as sold out on one system often
mysteriously reappears on another system. Some airlines have rules about
flight segments that are not supposed to be sold together even though they're
all available, and at least once I got a cheap US Airways ticket on Expedia,
which didn't know about all the US Airways rules even though I couldn't on
their own site or Travelocity which did know about them. On the other hand,
many airlines have available some special deals that are only on their own Web
sites and maybe a few of the online agencies. Confused? You should be. We are.
The confusion is even worse if you want to fly internationally. Official fares
to most countries are set via a treaty organization called the IATA, so most
computer systems list only IATA fares for international flights. It's easy to
find entirely legal ``consolidator'' tickets sold for considerably less than
the official price, however, so an online or offline agent is extremely useful
for getting the best price. The airlines also can have some impressive online
offers on their web sites.
Here's our distilled wisdom about buying tickets online:
* Check the online systems to see what flights are available and for an idea
of the price ranges. Check more than one CRS. For tickets within the U.S. and
Canada, the prices in the CRS are for the most part the real prices that
people are paying.
* After you have found a likely airline, check that airline's site to see
whether it has any special Web-only deals. If a low-fare airline has the
route, be sure to check that one too, since most low-fare airlines don't
appear in CRS listings.
* If your schedule is flexible, check ticket bidding sites including Hotwire
(http://www.hotwire.com) and Priceline (http://www.priceline.com) and ticket
auctions such as SkyAuction (http://www.skyauction.com/).
* Particularly if you don't qualify for the lowest fare visible on the CRS,
check with a travel agent to see whether he can beat the online price, and buy
your tickets from the agent unless the online deal is better. Most agents get
no commission on fares visible on the CRS, so you can expect an agent to
charge you for ticking them.
* For international tickets, do all the steps above in this list, and then
check both online and with your agent for consolidator tickets. This is
particularly important if you don't qualify for the lowest published fare. See
Edward Hasbrouck's Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ
(http://hasbrouck.org/faq) for much more detailed information on consolidator
* How can I get airline schedules on the Internet?
There are many sources listed below. Many of them will also let you book and
buy tickets. Until mid-1996 there were paid services were considerably better
than the free ones, but now I find that the free services are just as good.
* What's available on the Internet?
There are now several Internet gateways to airline CRS (computer reservation
systems) described later in this section. Also check this interesting
comparison of many of them (http://www.travelterminal.com/cgi-bin/compare.pl).
* Are these the same systems that travel agents use?
The underlying data are the same, but the interface is different. Some data
are visible to agents, but not to these systems. A good way to work is to make
the best reservation you can on-line, then call a travel agent, tell him what
you've reserved, and see if he can do better.
* How do I get access to them?
Most of these systems are provided through web sites. Many of the sites use
frames and SSL secure connections so you need a relatively recent browser such
as Mozilla (http://www.mozilla.org/), Opera (http://www.operasoftware.com/),
or, if you're willing to accept the security risks, Microsoft Internet
Explorer (http://www.microsoft.com/ie/default) 5.0 or later.
A few systems provide their own software which invariably is a plug-in for
Microsoft's Internet Explorer, again if you're willing to accept the security
Travelocity: Travelocity (http://www.travelocity.com) is an online agent owned
by Sabre. You need to provide a credit card number to make reservations, but
they won't charge you until you tell them to. Tickets can be issued as
e-tickets or, at extra cost, by mail. There is also a great deal of travel
destination information of variable usefulness. Unlike most other web-based
systems, it sometimes lets you hold a reservation without buying it. Also
handles hotels and rental cars. A nice fare watcher feature lets you list a
few routes you're interested in, and it sends you e-mail when an interesting
fare becomes available. They have a Travel Deals page that often has private
fares, two-for-one deals, and the like. Their flexible search option provides
a fare calendar, table of what fares are available on what dates, that's
better than any other site I know. Unfortunately, just because a fare is
available on a date doesn't mean that any actual seats are available at that
fare, so a certain number of the fares are cruel jokes, great bargains if only
the airline would sell you a seat at that fare which they won't.
Some fares are marked "good buy" which means that they're only available on
Travelocity. But that doesn't mean that they're any cheaper than other fares.
All fares now include a $5/ticket service fee.
Travelocity includes a "last minute deals" feature which is a rebranded
version of Site59 (http://www.site59.com), which Travelocity owns.
Expedia: Expedia (http://www.expedia.com) was Microsoft's flashy entrant into
the web travel biz. In July 2001 they sold a controlling interest to USA
Networks, owner of Home Shopping Network and other great cultural monuments.
In August 2003, the two companies were merged under the extremely trendy name
of IAC/InterActive Corp, along with hotels.com, Match.com and LendingTree. It
still has that Microsoft feel, although I can hardly wait to see them start
cross-selling. The site is garish, but it's reasonably easy to negotiate and
to find schedules and fares. Underlying info is from Worldspan, prices now
include a $5 per ticket service fee. You have to provide a credit card number
to make a reservation, even if you don't want to buy immediately. Early on,
when I tried to reserve, it said it the credit card link was down, no
reservations possible, call a number in Florida if it's urgent. Yeah, right.
(At Microsoft, quality is job 1.1.) It seems to work better now. There's also
lots of promos and tie-ins, with Expedia-only special fares. You can sign up
for weekly e-mail about best fares on routes you select. Your web browser must
accept cookies or Expedia doesn't work.
Internet Travel Network (http://www.itn.net) is now part of American Express.
It's a WWW-based flight booking system. You make reservations, using Apollo,
which are then ticketed by American Express, unless you entered via another
agency's web site. Several other sites on the net including several airlines
have ``private label'' connections to ITN, but it's the same system, usually
just with slightly different screen backgrounds and titles. The base ITN
system uses data from Apollo, but apparently some of the private label
versions use other CRS. Now that Easy Sabre is gone, this is the only system I
know that can display available fare classes, an important feature for some
kinds of discounts and special fares. It also displays an approximate number
of seats available in each fare class, useful both for guessing whether you
need to buy a cheap ticket right away, and for seeing which flights are likely
to have seats available for upgrades to first class. Set your display
preferences to ``expert.''
Worldspan (http://www.worldspan.com) is another large international CRS. They
provide a Web availability and pricing system, which underlies the web sites
of participating agents as well as the Delta and Northwest web sites, only
available via customer sites, not on their own site. It's the system that
underlies Expedia (described above) and Orbitz (described below).
Orbitz (http://www.orbitz.com), was intended to be the "killer" airline ticket
web site. Founded by United, Northwest, Continental, Delta, and American, it
was sold in October 2004 to Cendant, a large travel company that owns Avis
rent-a-car and Ramada Inns and dozens of other familiar chains. They still
have at least 30 airlines including the founders as charter affiliates, which
means they give all of their web fares to Orbitz. It has a very nice lowest
fare search engine. You can tell it to add alternate airport within 70 miles,
and it gives you the possible routings, cheapest first. It now lets you give a
range of dates, or say that you want to take a weekend trip in a particular
month, and it gives you a grid showing the lowest available fare for each
combination of departure and return dates. They promise unbiased fare and
schedule listings, and have agreements with affiliate airlines to include all
publicly available fares (a term that is harder to define than it looks) such
as web specials. Their search engine does a more thorough job than others
(it's written in Lisp and runs on PCs, the others are written in assembler on
mainframes) so it'll often find fares and connections that are entirely valid
but not shown on other systems. They also have some spiffy customer service,
e.g., they can call you or send a text message to your mobile phone or PDA a
few hours before flight time to tell you your gate and whether there are
delays. They charge a service fee of $6 per ticket. (Disclaimer: I was a paid
member of Orbitz' Consumer Advisory Board.)
Trip.com (http://www.trip.com) has been merged into Cheap Tickets.
Cheap Tickets (http://www.cheaptickets.com) originally sold mostly cheap
tickets to Hawaii, but is now a general purpose online agent. I gather that
unlike most other web sites, the live agents at their 800 number have access
to fares not on the web site and often not available through other sites.
Owned by Cendant, which is in the process of merging their back end operations
into Orbitz, although the sites will remain separate.
AmadeusLink (http://www.amadeus.net/), was started in 1987 by four European
airlines and in 1995 absorbed System One which started a long time ago as
Eastern Airlines' reservation system. They offer extensive schedule and
availability info, along with rental car, hotel, and destination info. For
bookings, you need to use a subscribing travel agency, such as one of the
agent systems that link to Amadeus such as TripWeb and Travelweb, below. The
AmadeusLink booking systems all link into the same site, so other than some of
the graphics, the function they provide is identical.
TripWeb (http://www.tripweb.com) is run by a Florida travel agency and offers
search and bookings through Amadeus, with free ticket delivery. Underneath
it's ITN, but it uses Amadeus for underlying data.
Mobissimo (http://www.mobissimo.com/) is an experimental meta-search that |
searches lots of other web sites for a pair of cities and dates and shows you
what fares it found, with links to the other sites so you can followup. |
* Kayak |
Kayak (http://www.kayak.com) is a meta-search that looks at lots of airline |
and agent web sites and produces a combined listing with links you can click |
through to the various sites to buy. It works well, but as with all combo |
sites, there are usually interesting sites they don't search so you still have |
to look for yourself. AOL has a deal with Kayak so they're featured on AOL. |
Sidestep (http://www.sidestep.com) also searches multiple airline web sites to |
find the lowest fares, along with promotions like weekend fares and extra |
frequent flyer miles. Their original version is an add-in to Internet Explorer |
that you download and install so it only runs on Windows with Internet |
Explorer. (Considering the well known security disaster that is IE, this is a |
significant drawback.) Now you can also visit their web site and use it like +
any other search system. It's gotten wonderful reviews but when I've tried to +
use it I haven't been very impressed with what it found, no better than fare
searches at Travelocity, often worse than Orbitz. It splatters your browser,
desktop, toolbar, and start menu with icons which is really annoying.
* Farechase +
Yahoo's Farechase (http://farechase.yahoo.com/) is yet another meta-search. It +
has the slick interface you'd expect from Yahoo, results similar to but +
perhaps not quite as complete as Kayak. +
* Other general sites
OneTravel (http://www.onetravel.com) offers booking and ticketing. (They
recently absorbed FLIFO.) A "fare beater" feature searches negotiated and
"white label" fares. Similar data to Travelocity, less flashy, but less buggy,
too. Data from Amadeus. In some quick tests, Travelocity found fares that they
didn't and vice versa, with Travelocity's lower.
Travelweb (http://www.travelweb.com) has a lot of travel info, graphics that
look like they were drawn with a crayon (it's an aesthetic effect, I guess),
and airline reservations via Expedia.
Destina (http://www.destina.ca) was introduced as a one-stop travel service
for Canada, although it was owned by Air Canada. They recently integrated it
more tightly with Air Canada's own web site, and at this point it appears to
sell only AC tickets, making one wonder why they bothered. They say it'll do
more later in the year.
* Fare searches and comparisons
ITA Software (http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch) builds the search
engine used by Orbitz and an increasing number of airline sites, and you can
use a copy of the latest version of their search system. No booking, you have
to take what you find and book elsewhere.
Qixo (http://www.qixo.com) searches two dozen airline sites and returns a
combined list of the lowest fares found for route. If you book through them,
there's a $20 booking fee, but of course once you know the airline and times,
there's nothing keeping you from booking up the same flights on another site.
Cheap Flights USA (http://www.CheapFlights.com) and Cheap Flights UK
(http://www.CheapFlights.co.uk) offers a nice search engine for low cost
tickets from the US and UK, many of which don't appear in the major search
engines. Not a travel agency, they link to other agents and airlines where
they presumably collect a referral fee (which is fine, it doesn't affect the
price of the ticket.)
Sky Scanner (http://www.skyscanner.net) offers an excellent search engine for
cheap flights within the UK and Europe. Don't miss their month views with
little bar charts of daily fares.
Flight Atlas (http://www.flightatlas.com/) offers cute animated maps showing
what routes are available among European airports, with links to the airlines
serving them. (To me it looks like of like a game of Battleship.)
SimplyQuick (http://travel.simplyquick.com/discount-airfares/) is an
independent guide to who's cheapest online for discount airfares, based on a
large survey of the top 8 online booking services, and providing a search
tailored city by city (US only). They also rate online travel agents and
travel service web sites. They're in New Zealand, but most of the info is for
Cheap0 (http://cheap0.com) has comprehensive info on European discount
airlines including a map that shows where they all go, and frequent blog style
news items on new and changed service.
Discounted international tickets: Apple Fares (http://www.applefares.com) has
an excellent search engine for low-cost European airlines. You can search both
for specific dates and destinations and for more general questions like
weekend trips from London to Spain two weeks from now.
AirTreks (http://www.airtreks.com) has a spiffy web site that helps construct
and price multi-stop and round-the-world international travel. They're a
travel agency, the site estimates the price, exact prices and tickets come
from live agents at the agency. (That's what you want, no computer can
navigate the swamp of international routes and fares very well.)
Farepoint (http://www.farepoint.co.uk/) provides a large database of fares via
UK travel agents. The site links to some of the agents who offer their
Flights.com (http://www.flights.com) (formerly called TISS) is an online
database in Germany with current airfares provided by a group of
consolidators. They offer departures from a lot of different countries, now
including the U.S. They claim the prices they offer are the best available.
For routes within the US they act as a front end to flifo. One reader reports
a bad experience with their US agent, rebooking his reservation in a way that
lost the discount fare he'd reserved, although he'd had good results with
their UK agent.
Air Fare (http://www.air-fare.com) tracks lowest fares among major U.S.
cities, with daily updates of significantly lower fares. Worldspan-based Res
and ticketing also available.
* Real-time flight status and information
The extremely cool service from TheTrip (http://www.trip.com/) (scroll down to
Flight Tracker on their home page) gives you a real-time position map and ETA
for most domestic flights. Choice of plain text or way beyond cool animated
Java relief maps, and you can tell it to send e-mail when the plane arrives,
or an hour or two before. If you haven't already got your ticket, they offer
ITN for info and ticketing.
Expedia (http://www.expedia.com/pub/agent.dll?qscr=flin) now has real-time
flight ops including times and gates for major US airlines.
The Track A Flight (http://www.trackaflight.com/) service (formerly Flyte
Trax, same organization as flytecomm.com) also provides real-time position map
and ETA for most domestic flights, by flight number, or departing or arriving
airports. It's as nice as TheTrip.
Flight Arrivals (http://www.flightarrivals.com/) offers impressively complete
arrival info for most US airports. (It even has info for the teensy Ithaca NY
airport.) No maps, but lots of data.
* Itinerary Lookup
Each of the GDS has a web site where you can look up the details of the record
for a reservation if you have the locator code, generally a sequence of six
letters or digits, and the passenger's last name. A single trip can have
information on more than one system. For example, if you make a United
Airlines reservation on Travelocity, the main Travelocity record is on Sabre,
but there's a copy on United's home system Galileo, as well. Each system has a
different locator code, and it can be hard to find the codes for other than
the original system. Virtually There sometimes shows the locator for other
system records as the Confirmation field, although you have to figure out or
guess which system it's on.
Every travel agent except Orbitz uses one of the GDS to make its reservations
so the master record for each trip is available through one of the systems.
The online systems usually show the locator code on one of the confirmation
screens, and any airline or local travel agent will tell your the locator for
your reservation if you ask. Since Orbitz uses its direct connect technology
to make reservations directly with many airlines, the master record is on
Orbitz itself and as far as I can tell you can't tell the airline's locator
until you get your boarding pass.
Virtually There (https://www.virtuallythere.com) can show records from Sabre
inclding reservations on Travelocity, American Airlines, and US Airways.
Check My Trip (https://www.checkmytrip.com) can show records from Amadeus,
including reservations on Continental and many European airlines.
My Trip and More (http://www.mytripandmore.com/) can show records from
Worldspan, including reservations on Delta and Northwest.
View Trip (https://www.viewtrip.com/en-us/ViewTrip.asp) can show records from
Galileo, including reservations on United.
Some of these systems will also show rental car and hotel info if they're
included in the same records.
* What about the airlines' own web sites??
Many airlines are on the World Wide Web. Five good directories of them a
This list contains only airlines sites that have schedule or booking
information available; see the pages mentioned above for lots of other airline
web pages with other info.
In the discussions below, flight ops means flight operations, that is, delays,
gates, cancellations, and the like. Ticketless ticketing means that rather
than issuing a real ticket, the airline sends you a receipt with a ticket
number. You cite that number and show ID when you check in. They send the
receipt via e-mail, fax, or (if there's time) snail mail. You pay with a
This list is for North American (U.S., Canada, Mexico, and nearby islands)
airlines. The next section lists airlines elsewhere in the world.
Air Aruba (http://www.interknowledge.com/air-aruba/) has a rather dusty page
with limited route and contact info, on which the most useful item is that
they don't fly any more.
Air Canada (http://www.aircanada.ca/schedules/) has schedule info,
reservations, ticketing, and weekly Websaver special fares. Aussi disponible
en francais (http://www.aircanada.ca/francais/horaires/). You can also
download a 400K PC version of the entire schedule.
Air St Pierre (http://18.104.22.168/AspWeb/) flies from St Pierre (which, for
those who slept through geography class, is a French island near Newfoundland)
to nearby points. Schedule and fares, in French.
Airtran (http://www.airtran.com), a low-fare airline in the eastern U.S., has
schedules, reservations, ticketless ticketing, special offers, and an e-mail
Air Transat (http://www.airtransat.com) is a Canadian scheduled charter line
that flies to the US, the Caribbean, and Europe. Well-organized web site has
schedules, reservations, and flight ops.
Alaska Airlines (http://www.alaska-air.com/) has a web site with flight info,
reservations, ticketless ticketing, and special offers. On-line tickets get
250 bonus miles, more for e-tickets and automated checkin. They give $10 off
for web booking when you register on their web site and buy a ticket by May
26. The reservation system finally seems to be working reliably, new design is
pretty but not as cute as the old retro design. Downloadable PDF schedule,
ALM (http://www.airalm.com/) flies to and from the Netherlands Antilles.
Routes, schedules, destination info, and occasional specials.
Aloha (http://www.alohaairlines.com/) flies within Hawaii, als to and along
the U.S. west coast. Routes, schedules, tickets, special fares. Frequent flyer
program allows family members to pool miles. Bankrupt but still operating.
America West (http://www.americawest.com) has schedule info, reservations, and
ticketless ticketing in a site that is quite attractive now that the images
hold still. Weekly web specials for both air and air/land packages.
American Airlines (http://www.aa.com/) has a newly redesigned very blue web
site with schedules, fares, and flight ops. Reservations and ticketing
available, using the Orbitz booking and search engine. (So much for the
company that built Sabre in the first place, 40 years ago.) They also offer
timetables (http://www.aatimetable.com) in various online and printable
American Trans Air (http://www.ata.com) has a web site with schedules, fares,
flight ops. Reservations provided through a system which appears to be a
private label version of Travelocity. They currently offer a free companion
ticket after three round trips, free ticket after six round trips, for travel
booked on their web site.
Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com) isn't an airline, but they're competitive on
many routes in urban parts of the U.S., and have scenic long distance routes.
Schedule info and reservations available, although the reservation system can
be awfully slow.
Bearskin Airlines (http://www.bearskinairlines.com/) flies small planes around
northern Ontario and Manitoba with hubs in bustling Thunder Bay and Sioux
Lookout. Sounds like fun. Info and reservations via a private label version of
Amadeus. The logo sweatshirts are attractive but seem a little pricey at
BWIA (http://www.bwee.com/) flies to, from, and around the Caribbean. They
have a separate site (http://www.bwee-ticket.com), if you want to buy tickets
rather than just look at their soothing green web site.
Canadian Airlines (http://www.cdnair.ca) has been absorbed into Air Canada,
familiarly known as Mapleflot.
Continental (http://www.continental.com) has a spiffy new design with schedule
info, on-line booking, and flight status. CO.O.L. system offers a general
purpose reservation system with hotels and cars as well as flights, with the
same features as Microsoft's Expedia. Currently offering up to 1000 extra FF
miles for tickets bought on-line. Weekly specials via mailing list or web
site. (CO.O.L. requires cookies.)
Cubana (http://www.cubana.cu/) flies from Havana to points in Europe and the
Americas. Schedules, destinations, and fleet info. I wonder where they get the
spare parts for their DC-10 and 727.
Delta (http://www.delta.com) has fares, schedules, on-line ticketing, and
flight ops. Currently offering up to 1000 extra FF miles for tickets bought
Firstair (http://www.firstair.ca/), a Canadian regional airline, has schedule
info. (Finally, you can get from North America to Greenland without flying
The current incarnation of Frontier (http://www.frontierairlines.com/) is a
low-fare line with a hub at Denver flying to points in the US and Mexico. Site
has reservations, flight ops.
Great Plains Airlines (http://www.gpair.com/) is a low-fare carrier with a hub
in St Louis.
Hawaiian (http://www.hawaiianair.com/) flies within Hawaii, to the South
Pacific, and to the U.S. west coast. Bankrupt but still operating.
Independence Air (http://www.flyi.com/) is the new name for Atlantic Coast
Airlines, recently reborn as a low-cost carrier flying regional jets from
Dulles Airport near Washington D.C. up and down the east coast. Schedules,
res/tix, will have online checkin. Customers of Size (their term) who are too
fat to fit in one seat have to buy two tickets but can get a refund for the
second ticket if there the flight had empty seats.
Interstate Jet (http://www.flyijet.com/) is a low fare public charter line
flying from Atlanta to a few cities in the east central US. Schedule and fare
info (much of which is way out of date) and a broken online reservation page.
Jet Blue (http://www.jetblue.com), an airline that may yet bring sane airfares
to upstate New York, has an elegant web site with routes, fares, and on-line
ticket sales, Don't miss the rotating 3-D Airbus A320, even though it does
make Internet Exploder crash.
Jetsgo (http://www.jetsgo.com) is a low-cost Canadian carrier that was eating
Air Canada's lunch until they suddently stopped operating in March.
LIAT (http://www.liatairline.com), who island-hop in the Caribbean, has a web |
site with reservations and frequent flyer info, except no matter what airports |
and dates I put into their res form, it says there's no flights on those |
Midwest Airlines (http://www.midwestairlines.com/), formerly Midwest Express,
has routes, schedules, and fares. Also seat maps and a surprising number of
missing pages, like the one that's supoosed to tell you what other airlines
are in their frequent flyer program. On the ``signature'' flights, the ones
that don't go to vacation places, the chocolate chip cookies are still free.
New England Airlines (http://www.block-island.com/flybi/sumsched.html) flies
between Block Island RI and Westerly RI. Schedule and fare info, reservations
via an e-mail form.
Northwest Airlines (http://www.nwa.com) has schedule, fares, reservations, and
flight ops, using the Orbitz booking and search engine. Weekly Cybersaver
specials offered, book through the web site for the lowest price. On-line
store offers a $12.99 plush moose and a $279 1/100 scale 747-400. That's only
Pan Am (http://www.flypanam.com) flies 727s has its hub at Portsmouth NH and
flies between the northestern US and Canada and Florida and the Caribbean.
It's owned by the parent company of the Boston and Maine railroad and has no
connection to the old Pan Am other than buying the logo. Online schedules,
reservations, and destination info.
Song (http://www.flysong.com) is Delta's low-cost airline within an airline.
Their web site is all fluffy and beautiful and offers the same stuff as
everyone else, schedules, reservations, flight ops, and online checkin. For
some unfathomable reason, Delta's regular web site doesn't include Song
Southwest Airlines (http://www.iflyswa.com) has schedules and fares, and now
reservations and ticketless ticketing. The graphics are still too big, but the
site loads faster than it used to. Mailing list for weekly specials.
Spirit (http://www.spiritair.com) is a low-cost airline that flies between
Florida and the northeast and midwest, and also from Detroit and Chicago to
California. Has schedules, reservations, and weekly "syber" specials. You can
change the name on any ticket for $25. Wow!
Sun Country (http://www.suncountry.com/), a regional airline headquartered in
Minneapolis, is once again running scheduled service on new 737s from MSP to
places all over the US and nearby warm-weather vacation spots.
Ted (http://www.flyted.com) is United's low-cost airline within an airline.
Their previous attempt, Shuttle by United, failed dismally, but what the heck,
maybe the laws of economics are different this year. The web site is United's
with minor cosmetic changes. Either the United version or the Ted version
shows you the same flights and fares. Join the Ted Club which appears to be
Milage Plus and a maiing list with special deals.
Transmeridian (http://www.tmair.com) is mostly a charter airline but has a
scheduled flight from Syracuse to Sanford FL (near Orlando) to San Juan and
back. Online schedule and reservations.
TWA has been absorbed into American (http://www.aa.com). Where's Howard Hughes
now that we need him?
United (http://www.ual.com) has resdesigned their site so that instead of
being intriguingly bizarre, now it's just plain ugly. Reservations and booking
via ITN. Web site requires cookies, although ITN itself doesn't. Direct link
(https://wunited.itn.net/unitedair) to United's reservation sub-site on ITN is
a lot faster than navigating through the main pages.
US Airways (http://www.usair.com) has schedules and reservations via a site
that looks to have the same underlying engine as Travelocity. Booking is nice
when it works, but half the time I get an error message rather than a ticket.
1000 frequent flyer miles for tix bought online. Also weekly weekend travel
specials from (and occasionally to) USAair hub cities. Don't miss the company
store (http://www.usairwayscompanystore.com/) featuring a wide variety of cult
objects, including some nice-looking model planes, although the've run out of
the DC-3's in Allegheny, Mohawk, or Lake Central trim.
USA 3000 (http://www.usa3000airlines.com/) flies a sparse schedule of A320s
between the northeastern US, and Florida and the Caribbean with pretty low
fares. Onboard services include food, movies, and "first flight" certificates
for small children. (Nice, but not as cool as the Jr Pilot wings TWA gave me
in about 1959.) Schedules, reservations, flight ops. The site uses a lot of
Via Rail Canada (http://www.viarail.ca) isn't an airline but is competitive in
the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor. Schedule and fare info, on-line
reservations. Aussi disponible en francais. (Was developed in French and
translated into English, I know the guy who did it.)
Westjet (http://www.westjet.com) is a low-fare Canadian airline. Schedules,
reservations, flight ops, weekly web specials.
* Airlines in Europe
Aegean Air (http://www.aegeanair.com/aegeanen/home/index.asp) is a new full
service with moderate fares, airline flying around Greece and elsewhere in
Europe with nice new RJ-100s and tired old 737s. They're an attractive
alternative to Olympic.
Aer Lingus (http://www.aerlingus.com/) has on-line booking with a useful fare
calendar (click the Lowest Fares Availability link below the reservation box)
that shows when cheap fares are available. It also explains their plans to
cancel their current frequent flyer program, which means that if you don't use
your points by October, you lose.
Air Berlin (http://www.airberlin.com) flies from about twenty hubs in Germany
to holiday spots all over Europe and North Africa and to London. The very
thorough web site has schedules, reservations, specials, and lots of other
info, including the fact that the airline was originally headquartered in
Air Europa (http://www.air-europa.com), a low-cost airline based in Spain, has
routes and schedules in an intriguing mix of English and Spanish.
Alitalia (http://www.alitalia.it) is the Italian flag carrier with a web site
in, not surprisingly, Italian. USA site (http://www.alitaliausa.com) has info
and reservations via a lightly customized version of ITN/Getthere. Also online
specials, e.g., a fairly impressive 25% off what appears to be any coach or
business fare through 25 Oct.
Aer Arann (http://www.aerarann.ie) flies ATR turboprops within Ireland and to
Scotland, England and the Isle of Man.
Air Scotland (http://www.air-scotland.com) is a new airline apparently flying
between Scottish airports and Mediterranean holiday destinations. It has a
nice site full of plaid Scottish motifs, but I was unable to get it to cough
up any actual flights I could book.
Albatros Airways (http://www.albatrosairways.net/) flies a Fokker F-100 around
southeastern Europe from their hub in unspoiled Tirana, Albania. Web site, in
a peculiar mix of Italian and English, has schedules and impressively low
fares, but you have to call them to book.
Austrian Airlines (http://www.aua.com) offers schedule and availability info,
and a downloadable Excel spreadsheet schedule. Also special offers in a
sometimes inscrutable mix of German and English.
British Airways (http://www.british-airways.com/) has schedules and
reservations on an improved site with ticket-by-mail. Also flight ops, and,
depending on what part of the site you believe, there may be some special
offers for some flights departing from some countries, sometime.
British Midland (http://www.flybmi.com/) has a Web-based booking and ticketing
system which lets you reserve and buy tickets.
bmibaby (http://www.bmibaby.com/) is a low-fare subsidiary of British Midland,
with Flights from regional airports in England and Wales to business and
vacation destinations in Ireland and Europe. Before you book, check that there
isn't a cheaper fare from a nearby airport on bmi (above.)
SN Brussels Airlines (http://www.flysn.com) is trying very hard to persuade us
that they're not Sabena. (Legally they're not, but they arose from the ashes
of the Sabena bankruptcy and seem to have the same cheerfully inept attitude.)
They fly around Europe and to a few places in Africa, but not to North
America. Flights to the US on their web site are in fact code-shares on
Crossair (http://www.crossair.ch/), has morphed into the new Swiss
(http://www.swiss.com) Swiss airline that's filling the hole left by
Easyjet (http://www.easyjet.com) is a low fare airline with a hub at London
Luton. Site offers routes, reservations, and other info, with garish but easy
to read orange and blue graphics. Don't miss the stuffed pilot bear with
goggles and faux leather jacket, for only L 5.95. They acquired and absorbed
Go, formerly the low fare branch of British Airways.
Eastern Airways (http://www.easternairways.com) flies small planes to cities
around the UK with fares ranging from cheap to rather high. Routes, schedules,
fares, reservations. Baggage rules say "On board use of the ghetto-blaster
type or radio or tape player is an irritant to other passengers and is
Finnair (http://www.us.finnair.com/) has schedule info and occasional have
seat auctions. They have a reservation system hosted by Amadeus, but for some
reason they only let you buy expensive business class tickets through it.
Travellers in Finland can apparently access the web site through their cell
phones, which is kind of cool.
flybe (http://www.flybe.com) is a low-fare airline with hubs at Bristol,
Exeter, Southampton and Birmingham, flying mostly within the UK and from the
UK to Europe. Schedules and reservations. It used to be called British
European, but that name evidently wasn't contrived enough.
GermanWings (http://www.germanwings.com) is a cost airline flying from its
base at Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart all over Europe. E-Specials (see tab near
top of home page) include ticket sales and hotel discounts.
Globespan (http://www.flyglobespan.com) flies between Scottish airports and
mostly Mediterranean destinations. Site offers booking of flights and vacation
Hapag-Lloyd Express (http://www.hlx.com/en/) is a cost airline, flyingfrom
Cologne/Bonn and Hannover to airports in Spain, Italy, England and Germany.
Schedules, reservations, destination info.
Hellas Jet (http://www.hellas-jet.com/) flies from Greece to major cities
Europe. It's a subsidiary of Cyprus Airways. Online booking via a
private-label version of ITN, frequent flyer program,
Iberia (http://www.iberia.es/) has schedules and fares in Spanish, English,
Danish, Swedish, Japanese, and Russian. Reservations through a private label
Iceland Express (http://www.icelandexpress.com) is an Icelandic low cost
airline linking Reykjavik with London and Copenhagen. Nice icebergs on the web
site, and you can change the name on a ticket for only L 20.
Icelandair (http://www.icelandair.com) flies between the US and Europe, via
their hub in Iceland. Reservations, flight info, specials. Through Dec 17
they're offering an impressive two-for-one offer on many US to Europe routes.
Lucky Fares mailing list offers trans-Atlantic specials most weeks,
occasionally at amazing prices.
Jet2 (http://www.jet2.com) fliees from Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, and Belfast
in the UK to Spanish and French holiday spots, Amsterdam, Prague and Milan.
Schedules, reservations, links to places to buy holiday cottages.
KLM (http://www.klm.com) has a gateway site to national sites all over the
world, most of which offer schedules and some offer reservations. The US and
Canada sites are actually Northwest's. They're owned by Air France, but the
web sites don't seem to have noticed yet.
Lufthansa Info Flyway (http://www.lufthansa.com) offers schedule info (for
most airlines, not just LH) and also reservations. Also has a US site
(http://www.lufthansa-usa.com/) with info tailored to US customers, including
occasional Web Specials live seat auctions.
Luxair (http://www.luxair.lu) flies from Luxembourg to the places that
Luxemburgers (or is it the Luxembourgeois) want to go, business and vacation
destinations around Europe. Schedules, reservations, destination info
including the daily menu specials at the airport restaurant.
Malev (http://www.malev.hu) Hungarian airlines has an attractive site with
schedule info. There's supposed to be fare info but it pops up a box saying
it's out of order.
Manx Airlines (http://www.manx-airlines.com) has schedule info.
Mytravellite (http://www.mytravellite.com/) is a low cost airline flying from
Birmingham (UK) to Ireland and Spain. Schedules, reservations, destination
info. Small discount offered for online booking.
Norwegian Airlines (http://www.norwegian.no) is a low cost airline flying from
Oslo to Norway and elsewhere in Europe. Site has reservations and info mostly
translated from the Norwegian.
Olympic (http://www.olympicairlines.com/), the flag carrier of Greece, has a
basic site with online booking.
Ryanair (http://www.ryanair.ie) is a rapidly expanding low-fare airline with a
hub at London Stansted and minor hubs in London Luton, Dublin, Shannon,
Glasgow, Brussels, Stockholm Skavsta, Frankfurt Hahn, and Milan Orio Al Serio.
Web site offers routes, fares, and booking.
Sabena (http://www.sabena.com/), the notoriously inept Belgian airline,
finally went bankrupt in October 2001 and has shut down. Their replacement is
SN Brussels Airlines, described above.
SAS (http://www.sas.se) has schedule info on-line, and in large downloadable
text file. Windows interface program (2MB download) lets you search through
the schedule file, but it's far faster to search with a text editor. Also
limited reservations for pass holders and frequent flyer redemptions.
Swiss (http://www.swiss.com), the successor to Crossair, has schedule info and
on-line booking on a somewhat sloppy site, and some web specials. (Click
Special Offers on the home page.) They're about to be taken over by Lufthansa,
but it's not clear whether it'll continue to operate as a separate airline.
Swissair went bankrupt in September 2001 and their schedules have somewhat
been taken over by Swiss airlines.
Transavia (http://www.transavia.nl/en) is a subsidiary of KLM flying from
Amsterdam to holiday destinations in Europe and north Africa. Info and online
reservations. Their former low-cost subsidiary Basiqair is now merged into
Virgin Atlantic (http://www.fly.virgin.com/) has a spiffy looking site with
reservations, fares, and ticketing. Also tours and occasional specials.
VLM (http://www.vlm-airlines.com/) is a low-cost airline flying small planes
mostly between the UK and Benelux. (The V stands for Flemish.) Schedules,
reservations, company history.
* Airlines elsewhere in the world
Air Asia (http://www.airasia.com/) is a startup headquartered in Kuala Lumpur
(Malaysia) offering low-fare single-class point to point service along the
lines of JetBlue or Ryanair. They have some amazing intro fares, like round
trip from Kuala Lumpur to Johor, across the bridge from Singamore, for RM78,
about US$20. Online reservations, info, and a nice three page menu of onboard
food offerings. I think I'll try the Asian egg salad sandwich.
Air New Zealand (http://www.airnz.co.nz) offers schedules and booking via a
private-label version of ITN/Getthere, which assured me that you can't fly
from Auckland to New York. Also special fares and frequent flyer info.
Ansett Australia (http://www.ansett.com.au) stopped flying in March 2002. But
the web site has lots of tedious details of the financial dissection of the
Aerolineas Argentinas (http://www.aerolineas.com.ar) has schedules and
reservations (for Argentine residents) through a private label version of
Amadeus. In Spanish and English. I think it's flying this week, labor has been
battling owner Iberia.
Cathay Pacific (http://www.cathay-usa.com), Hong Kong's airline, offers
booking through ITN and a variety of special offers such as bonus AA frequent
flyer miles or package deals to Asia.
El Al (http://www.elal.co.il) has U.S. schedules and some US-oriented package
info. Appears to have on-line booking although I couldn't get it to work.
Emirates (http://www.emirates.com), the airline of Dubai, has an attractive
site with info about schedules, packages and special offers, and requent flyer
info. The on-line booking makes it easy to search by schedule, even among
I can't tell whether it actually sells tickets.
Gol (http://www.voegol.com.br) is a low-fare airline flying in Brazil and a
few adjacent countries. Routes, fares, e-tickets, ground connections. Nice
flash animation of flying pigs on the home page.
Lan Chile (http://www.lanchile.cl) has an attractive multi-lingual site with
schedules, fares, and some cheap Internet-only specials.
Malaysia Airlines (http://www.malaysiaairlines.com) has route and schedule
information, with frequent special deals, but if you want to buy a ticket, you
have to call them.
Polynesian Airlines (http://www.polynesianairlines.co.nz/) has basic routes
Qantas (http://www.qantas.com.au) has an attractive site with online booking,
schedule info and flight ops and a downloadable off-line Windows itinerary
manager. Bookings are oriented toward but not limited to Australian residents.
Also a mirror site (http://www.qantas.com) in the U.S which appears to be
unreachable due to mistakes at the Internic.
Royal Jordanian (http://www.rja.com.jo) has a stylish but slow web site with
routes and schedules to and from their Amman hub.
Singapore Airlines (http://www.singaporeair.com) has schedule info, best
viewed via a proxy server that will filter out anything that's unwholesome.
South African Airways (http://www.saa.co.za/saa) has schedules and a little
destination info, but they've toned down the eye-straining graphics.
Occasional seat auctions.
Varig (http://www.varig.com.br), Brazil's major airline, has schedule info and
reservations via Amadeus.
Virgin Blue (http://www.virginblue.com.au) is a low-fare domestic airline in
Australia with its hub in sunny Brisbane. Schedules and on-line booking. Lunch
Airlines often offer special fares or promotions to Internet users, and there
are some other specialist outfits selling tickets on-line.
* Special fare newsletters
The Air Travel Update mailing lists sponsored by Prodigy reports on specials
they find on the web, and send a detailed weekly compendium of special deals.
Highly recommended. Send "subscribe airtravel" to
Smarter Living (http://www.smarterliving.com/) collects weekly specials from
selected major cities and both puts them on their web site and e-mails them to
mailing lists. You can sign up for the cities you're interested in flying
from, as well as general newsletters about travel deals.
The Wednesday Airfares webring (http://www.bomis.com/rings/airline) has links
to many sites with. on-line specials, although they should really update it to
take out the link to TWA.
Travelocity has a Travel Deals page that often has private fares, two-for-one
deals, and the like. Click Flights on the home page, then Deals on the blue
* Ticket auctions and the like
Priceline (http://www.priceline.com) sells tickets over the web using a
peculiar system sort of like an auction. You tell them where and when you want
to go and how much you're willing to pay. You have to be prepared to go at any
time of day, on any major domestic airline or one of a list of international
ones, and to accept a stop or change of plane. You tell them what you're
willing to pay, along with credit card info. If they find a ticket at that
price, you've bought it and can't change or refund it (like most any low-price
ticket.) Flights must originate in the U.S., or via an affiliate, in the U.K.
If they have a ticket available at or below your bid, they'll sell it to you,
but you don't know if you're getting the best price. They'll charge what you
offered even if the carrier would have accepted less, and they make it
difficult to offer increasing bids. They now offer seats on all the major US
airlines except Southwest, as well as Singapore, Lufthansa, and perhaps other
airlines. A lot of reports, including articles in the Consumer Reports Travel
Letter, and the Wall Street Journal, say that in practice bids for lower than
published prices are rarely accepted, and they admit that they accept less
than 10% of the bids people make, although they do sell 15,000 tickets a day.
Early on, Priceline sold tickets below cost to build up their volume, but
they've apparently stopped that.
I haven't ever bought a ticket through Priceline, but would welcome more
reports from people who have. (I tried to get a NYC hotel room one time, they
turned down all my offers, but I've heard from at least one person who got a
room at a nice Boston hotel for about half the normal price.) The idea of
auctioning left-over tickets is a good one, and it's a shame if it can't be
put into practice. If you're planning to travel on a route well-served by one
of the airlines listed above, and can fly at any time of day, try bidding
slightly less than the best fare you can find on one of the regular
reservation sites or Hotwire and see if they take it. Otherwise, you're better
off with a agent who knows about unpublished fares, many of whom are listed in
subsequent sections of this FAQ.
Hotwire (http://www.hotwire.com) is a sort of competitor to Priceline now
owned by InterActive Corp which owns Expedia and Hotels.com. You tell them
where you want to go, what dates, and a few conditions such as no red-eye, and
they offer you a price. Unlike Priceline you'll get to see what they offer
before you pay and have an hour to decide before you buy it. Like Priceline,
you don't get to know the times and airline until you buy the tickets. Hotwire
is another good place to check for last minute tickets. It hasn't yet ever
offered me a ticket I wanted to buy, but considering that I fly from Ithaca
NY, not exactly a hotbed of airline competition, I can't say I'm surprised.
Flights must originate in the U.S., but you can fly internationally.
SkyAuction (http://www.skyauction.com/), in contrast to Priceline and Hotwire,
auctions off tickets and travel packages using a "second bid" scheme similar
to what eBay and other online auctioneers use. (The best strategy is to bid
the maximum you're willing to pay, since if you win you'll pay just enough to
beat the runner up regardless of what your maximum was.) The descriptions of
what they're selling are quite concrete, and you can see what the competing
bids are. Tickets are offered in small lots, you can end up with fewer tickets
than you asked for unless you make a bid "all or nothing". Be sure to add in
the often large service charge for each ticket, and be sure you know what
normal fares are since tickets are often bid up above published fares. I've
bought tickets to London through them, their service was prompt and efficient,
but I've seen reports that it is very difficult to get a refund if there's a
problem with the flights.
General auction sites often have airline tickets available. You can find them
in "Miscellaneous:Travel" at eBay
(http://listings.ebay.com/aw/listings...310/index.html) or Travel
Tickets:Airline at Yahoo Auctions
(http://auctions.yahoo.com/26180-category-leaf.html). Many of the tickets
offered appear either to be frequent flyer tickets, which the airline will
confiscate if they can tell that you bought them, or dubious deals where the
air tickets are "free" if you buy an expensive vacation package. There do seem
to be a few transferrable bump certificates, and quite a few ancillary items
like drink coupons.
Site59 (http://www.site59.com/) offers last minute weekend travel packages.
They all include air and hotel, but the price is often lower than what you'd
otherwise pay for air only (Travelocity's "last minute deals" are really
FairAir (http://www.fairair.com) used to sell transferrable tickets. Now their
web site says they're out of business. (If you just want to change the name on
a ticket, check out Spirit Airlines which permits name changes for $25.)
* Individual airlines
Air Canada (http://www.aircanada.ca/schedules/) has weekly Websaver special
Airtran (http://www.airtran.com) has weekend specials. Double frequent flyer
credit for specials purchased on-line. (Actually worth something, since six
round trips earn a free ticket.) Also an e-mail newsletter you can sign up for
on the site that announces weekly specials.
Alaska Airlines (http://www.alaskaair.com/Webspecials/start.asp) has web
American Airlines has weekly mailing lists for ``Net SAAver fares'', otherwise
unadvertised specials from Chicago or Dallas, as well as some hotel packages.
Visit their web page (http://www.aa.com) and click on specials on the toolbar
at the top.
American Trans Air (http://www.ata.com) has ``net fares'', special fares
available only on their web site.
America West (http://www.americawest.com) has Surf'n'Go weekly specials and
Quick Trips air/land package specials.
Austrian Airlines (http://www.aua.com) has weekly lists of specials, with
occasional web-only last minute specials.
Cathay Pacific Airlines (www.cathay-usa.com/dotm) has regular web specials.
The currently have web-only fares from, Los Angeles, or San Francisco to
Bangkok for $599, from New York for $699. You have to register in their free
``Cybertraveller'' at the web site.
Continental (http://www.coticket.com/) has a mailing list and web site for
net-only specials. You buy tickets on-line, but you have to subscribe to the
mailing list to get access. (Site requires cookies.)
Finnair (http://www.us.finnair.com/) has occasional seat auctions.
Lufthansa's US site (http://www.lufthansa-usa.com/) has occasional Web
specials and live seat auctions. Sign up for mailing list to find out when
Malaysia Airlines (http://www.malaysiaairlines.com) offers RT from the USA
west coast to Kuala Lumpur and 30 days of travel within Asia for $747 plus
tax, a very attractive deal. (East coast residents should look at the similar
Cathay Pacific offer.)
Northwest (http://www.nwa.com/nwa/flight/promos/index.shtml) has promotions
including a few web-only fares which they put on their site on Wednesdays.
South African Airways (http://www.saa.co.za/saa has) occasional seat auctions.
Southwest (http://www.iflyswa.com/email has a mailing list) with weekly
specials. Also there's a package specials list
(http://www.swavacations.com/guest/guest.htm) with special deals if you sign
their guest book and answer a bunch of nosy questions.
Sun Country (http://www.suncountry.com/) has weekly on-line ``Cy-Fly''
United (http://www.ual.com) has E-Fares specials for members of their Milage
Plus program posted every Wednesday, also by e-mail. (Signup info on their web
site.) Choose E-Fares from the menu on the home page. You have to sign in but
US Airways (http://www.usair.com/travel/fares/esavers.htm) has an "e-savers"
mailing list with weekly special fares from (and occasionally to) their hub
cities. Web site also has Internet-only special fares to and from Baltimore
and Washington, with extra frequent flyer miles.
* Are there many on-line agents?
There's lots of them, grouped below by location of the agent and type of
NOTE: All of the descriptions below are edited from info provided by the
agencies themselves. There are many resources other than travel agents
available on the net, as well, but they're not listed here. Most agencies
offer a broad range of services, so the groupings by type of service below are
NOTE: If you're a travel agent and would like to be listed, drop me a note and
I'll add you. Please make my life easier by e-mailing me a three-line or so
description in the style above. Thanks.
* Generalist agents located in the U.S.
EZTrip.com (http://www.eztrip.com/), an online agency in Missouri, offers
tickets, hotels, rental cars, and modest amounts of destination info.
Bayless Travel Associates (http://www.baylesstravel.com) Full-service Vacation
Travel (Domestic and International) in Oklahoma City. Book your vacation
Isha Tours & Travels (http://www.ishatravels.com) in Edison NJ provide
consolidators airfares to anywhere in the world.
Enid Cohen affiliated with WorldTravel Partners
in Dallas, has over 30 years of experience both arranging travel and
travelling herself, specializes in meticulous, old-fashioned service to
business and leisure/personal travellers.
JetStar Travel Service (http://jetstartravel.vacation.com) is a full service
agency Specializing in Cruises, Family Vacations, Honeymoons, European Travel,
Las Vegas, and much more.
Compass Point Travel is a full service agency that
welcomes Internet customers. Specialties include custom planning of major
trips, Club Med, discount cruises, adventure travel, and US-originating
international travel. Web page (http://www.cptravel.com/).
Edward Hasbrouck (http://www.airtreks.com), now at High Adventure Travel, San
Francisco, around-the-world specialist; also other discounted international
tickets; NOT a general-purpose, corporate, or domestic travel agency. Also see
his Airline Ticket Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ
(http://hasbrouck.org/faq) for info on getting the lowest international air
Germantown Travel in Germantown Md is a full service
airline ticket agency suppling information and discounted tickets for domestic
and international travel. Web site (http://airtravel.com) with special fares
and Caribbean tour info.
CTM Travel in Coral Springs FL welcomes
business from the Internet.
Genie Travel Services Inc. specializes in discounted
international and domestic airline tickets for Internet customers. For prices,
see their web page (http://www.genietravel.com).
Endeavour Travel is a travel agency specialising in NZ
and Australian travel, staffed in large part by Aussies and Kiwis. Web pages
(http://www.anzac.com/endvr/endvr.htm). I got Circle Pacific tickets from
them, service was decent.
Marla Baer-Peckham of Cornucopia First Class Travel is a
full-service travel agency. Web page (http://iquest.com/~marla).
Uniglobe GEM Travel or Full service agency, WWW site
(http://www.uniglobe-gem.com/) with leisure info and travel request forms. Our
goal is not to find the cheapest product, but the best value for money.
Park'N Ticket Travel located in Atlanta GA,
specializes in Business Travel. We have a 24 hour travel agency as well as a
1,250 car parking facility with a 24 hour shuttle service.
Paul Foley , at Passport Executive Travel of Alexandria, VA, a
full-service agency, CLIA, and IGTA, specializes in Corporate Travel, personal
preference is Gay and Lesbian travel. Web page
The Travel Experts in Champaign, Illinois is a full
service agency with a special emphasis in Caribbean destinations and the UK,
and have expertise in Israel and the Middle East. Web page
Newlywed Susan Mitchell Skinner at Online Travelservices
near Atlanta specializes in honeymoons and family vacations -- but also work
with consolidators and offer fast turnaround on quotes to international
Priority Travel is a small agency in Waltham, Mass
specializing in corporate travel for small companies and start-ups who need to
minimize their travel costs. Also have specialist in European business or
World Travel located in Stockton, CA, specializes in
travel to Southeast Asia. A Traveler's Choice Associate.
Super Saver Travel , Aurora, CO, offer personalized
service in getting you the lowest available airfares out of Denver and
Colorado Springs area. Domestic & International.
Adventure Travel Service (http://www.greencis.net/~ats) provides domestic and
international consolidator tickets. Book online for domestic tickets using
ITN, and Spring Break '97 packages now available. Email .
QuinWell Travel Service (http://www.quinwell.com) is a full-service travel
agency offering SABRE online reservations & ticketing, discounted cruises &
tours, free newsletter, and an extensive web site.
Metropolitan Travel (http://www.mettravel.com), specializes in corporate
travel, res/tickets through ITN, offers reports online, tracking for companies
and employees, tracks trips, FF miles, etc., including pre-trip reports. Also
vacation specials through "Club Met".
Heather Trofholz , Aliso Veijo CA, corporate/business executive
specialist. Knowledgeable, personalized service, delivery, maps, vacation
planning to the traveling individual. Available for new So. Orange County
clients. Web site (http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/3005).
Certified Travel Services (http://www.certravel.com) is building a network of
independent travel agents who operate from their homes or places of business.
Complete training, software, reservations system, manuals and continuing
support is offered. Listings of travel specials and on-line air travel booking
is provided through their Internet site.
RMS InHouse Travel (http://www.rmssys.com) is a full service agency offering
on-line reservation system.
Travel Service, Inc. has three offices in the Tulsa area,
in the business since 1973, are a full service agency, specializing in groups.
Rosemarie Hughey at Go Vegas First Class located in Las
Vegas NV provides a service to travelers to Las Vegas and surroundings as well
as airfares to Europe. German spoken.
Lovely Planet Discount Travel Service in Hailey, ID
specializes in researching international discounted airfares.
Biztravel.com went out of business in September 2001
B. Charles and Co. (www.airreservations.com) has lists of discounted fares and
travel agent contacts. No on-line schedules or booking, call their toll-free
Kayron and Don Lance , independent agents for Carroll
Cruises and Tours, specialize in cruises, tours and packages. Especially
knowledgable about the Caribbean. Online reservations
(http://www.travelopinion.com) and Caribbean hotel information
Terminal One Travel (http://www.terminal-one-travel.com) offers direct
bookings via Worldspan. Also packages, custom tours. E-mail mailing list.
MtRoyalTravel (http://www.MtRoyalTravel.com), full service "personalized"
travel agency for leisure and corporate travel arrangements, many packages,
all experienced agents and many price ranges (economy to first class). Over 25
years of experience.
* Tours, cruises, and special interest agents located in the U.S.
Journeys Off the Tourist Track (http://www.balijourneys.com) is a 11 year
expert in groups and unique individual vacations to Bali, Thailand, Fiji,
Hawaii plus individual African Safaris and Off the Tourist Track travel with
discounted air to most international destinations.
Travelagentus.com (http://travelagentus.com) is a consolidator travel agency
primarily promoting business class air ticktes to Europe, Africa, Asia, and
Fly Malaysia Air (http://www.flymas.com) offers discount airline tickets on
Malaysia Airlines for international flights departing the United States via
LAX and Newark to Malaysia and southeast Asia.
Trav.com (http://www.trav.com) offers Online Reservations for Budget
Accommodation. Book hostels, hotels, apartments, campsites and bed and
breakfasts online.* Instant reservations guaranteed.* Online accommodation
Airline Consolidator (http://www.airlineconsolidator.com) is a retail
consolidator and travel agency specializing in discount international
airfares. Offers online booking and live telephone support.
Destination Southern Africa (http://www.amasafari.com) is a full service
travel company for Southern and Eastern Africa. Tours, safaris, car hire,
packages, hotels, transfers for groups or individuals.
Since 1980, Eric Fenster has organized affordable
study trips to Moscow to examine political and economic change in Russia
first-hand. All adults welcome.
Air Discounters International (http://www.airdiscounters.com/) offers
discounted airline tickets from the US to Europe, Africa, Asia, South Pacific,
Central America, and South America. They also have hotel discounts in most
major cities worldwide.
Bonjour USA tours (http://www.bonjourusa.com) specializes in providing ground
services for leisure and business group travel to all major cities,
attractions, sights and National Parks of the USA.
Travel Tek (http://travtek.net) specializes in discounted business and first
class airfares to international destinations.
Walter Ward ) at Jacquin Travel in Miami, a full service
agency including Gay/Lesbian travel.
Air Overseas (http://www.airoverseas.com) in Miami specializes in travel to
Europe. Air fares, car rental rates, and European Rail programs.
Travel Network (http://www.tvllink.com/travel.network) of Walnut Creek, CA is
a full service agency. Cruises, Jamaican All Inclusive Resorts and Hawaiian
Vacations are among our specialties. Try our "Rock Bottom Fare Finder" E-mail
Superior Travel Service specializing in Singles Groups, age
45 to 60's. Accredited CLIA member specializing in cruises, Have cruised
Europe, Panama Canal,Bermuda, Alaska, etc.
Mike Espinosa at Maluku Adventures is a tour operator
specializing in SE Asia, and Nepal. We offer kayaking, diving, and treks.
Manny Segall at Vacation Partners runs a service
that finds compatible travel mates for single travelers, for companionship and
to avoid the dreaded single supplement. Web page
Bill Byrnes author of "Airfare Secrets" specializes in
high value Round the World, long haul and missionary travel. Offshore
ticketing from Euro and Asian consolidators.
Torcaza Trails offer a mountain treking and a tropical
forest option in western Venezuela. Web page of Venezuela info
European Traveler,Inc. specializes in individual
vacations to Europe. Full colour brochure "EURO CITY TRIPS" available on
request offers 2-3-5 and 7 days packages in up to 40 cities all over Europe.
Association of Business Travellers offers the international
traveller a hotel reservation service, specials at top class hotels,
restaurants, service office facilities, lost lugage tracing, etc. Web page
Stephen P. Aleksza with Travelink on the shores of
beautiful Bamber Lake in Whiting NJ specializes in cruises and vacation
packages. Web page (http://www.eclipse.net/~vacation/travlk.htm).
Cruisin The first exclusively on line cruise only agency.
Web page (http://www.crocker.com/cruisin).
Island Dreams Tours & Travel specializes in scuba
diving, snorkeling, and world-wide adventure travel. Web page
(http://www.islandream.com/island/index.htm) with a broad range of information
of interest to scuba divers and international travelers.
Bill Welk of Vacation Connection operate a lodging
reservation service in Oshkosh, Wi. and serve many special events organizers
by providing free use of our toll free phone numbers for information and
lodging connections. Web page (http://www.atw.fullfeed.com/~dadvanc/).
OnlineTravel offers European railpasses, Eurail travel,
and the Chunnel channel tunnel, with planning maps, car rental and discount
air fares. Web page (http://www.eurorail.com).
Travel Agents International (http://www.traveltai.com) specialize in corporate
travel and cruises. Located in Florida, offering special insight into Florida
vacation destinations. Reservations via ITN, and a custom designed form for
First Class Travel specializes in sports and leisure
travel, welcome Internet customers, E-mail for info.
Classic Travel , full service agency specializing in
cruises, caribbean dream vacations, european discoveries, mexican getaways,
las vegas sprees, etc. Travelfax newsletter loaded with specials, send your
fax number for our latest copy.
Barbara & Earl Seppala (http://www.selective-travel.com/) of Selective Travel,
Scottsdale AZ, outside agents, specializing in cruises and international
tours. Email .
ModTravel (http://www.modtravel.com) are Leisure Travel Consultants
specializing in Hawaii and Mexico destinations.
Mexico Online (http://www.mexonline.com/travel) is a complete reservation
service dedicated to Mexico. We offer vacation packages to 100 of the most
popular resort and specialty properties, archeological tours and the Copper
Canyon, and can include discounted airfare, car rental, and fishing
Marvelous Tickets (http://www.marveloustickets.com) specializes in worldwide
sports tours & tickets, offering tickets and travel for major events in
football, baseball, tennis, boxing, racing, etc. for individuals & groups.
Event information is available at web site.
Barbara Kwiatek , CTC, MCC, Aussie Specialist, Holland
Specialist, Disney Specialist, Unique Travel.
Phil Carta's NEW ADVENTURES (http://www.newadventures.com) specialize in
vacations to exotic, sunny, tropical destinations and do 75% of our business
through the internet. E-mail newsletter.
Lighthouse Travel (http://www.lighthousetravel.com) is a travel agent that
specializes in cruises, members of the Cruise Lines International Association
(CLIA) and experienced cruise counselor. No fee for our services and discount
Global Express Travel specializes in discount leisure
and discount midweek business travel.
* Agents located in Canada
African Wings Travel & Tours (http://africanwings.com) in Toronto specializes
in travel to Africa and other international destinations.
Debby Lampron-Lynch at Voyage Absolue (http://www.voyageabsolue.com) of
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, offers travel service to individuals and groups. Will
serve you in Engish as in French. Email .
Future Travel/Voyages L'Avenir of Montreal offers
complete leisure and corporate travel services, they accept reservation and
information requests via e-mail, in business since 1974.
Marc-Andre Lalande at Voyages Vacances Tourisme in
Montreal specializes in incoming and outgoing tourism, leisure and corporate
travel from all over the world. Affiliated with wholesaler Groupe Voyages
Jimmy Georgiadis , Montreal, Que., has 45 years of
experience with travel to the land of the Gods - GREECE. "If it's Greece, we
have it". Can arrange, hotels, car rentals, yacht rentals, tours. Web page
Robert Zuzek at Kompas Express Travel (http://home.istar.ca/~kompex) is a
specialist on Spain and Italy has contacts with many local suppliers does "a
la carte" itineraries and has best Airfares with 6 European carriers ex
B & P Travel Services (http://imf.nb.ca/bptravel) operates from Fredericton,
N,B.,Canada. Dealing in Quality Travel Products, Insurance and Discounted
International Air Fares. Departing from Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa.
* Agents located in Europe
All Destinations (http://www.all-destinations.com), a UK agent established in
1988, offers flights, packages, and other travel products.
Destinations Europe (http://www.destinationseurope.com) is a
specialist*company offering a personal service for*UK and Europe
including*weddings, honeymoons, tailormade holidays, adventure holidays for
couple or small groups. Also garden and military group holidays.
Flight Bureau (http://www.flightbureau.com) is based in Edinburgh but serving
people worldwide, specialise in flights, particularly odd itineraries or RTW
trips. Other services include hotels, car hire and travel insurance.
Discounted fares available with many airlines, including inbound fares from
Australia and the US to the UK.
Sky Tours (http://www.sky-tours.com) is a German agency offering a combined
database of published and discounted airfares. They note that European fares
are occasionally lower than US fares for the same flights.
DriveEurope (http://www.driveeurope.com/) offers the European Driving Tours as
well as car and motorhome rentals and more then 5000 hotels.
Zak Travel is an on-line British discount flight agency
specialising in flights from the UK to Europe and worldwide. We offer the
cheapest scheduled and charter flights and offer a no-obligation flight
Jan Hutchings of Concord World Travel, London, arranges
tailor-made travel worldwide at sensible prices: tours, flights,
accommodation, car hire, cruises. For departures from Britain.
Global Adventures specializes in custom travel
for the active and adventurous traveler to Australia, the South Pacific, and
Southern Africa. Web page:http://www.globaladventures.com (.)
Andean Trails specializes in small group,
off beat trekking and mountain biking adventures in the Andes. Web site
Shelley at Goel Travel International
offers business flights, hotels,
conferences, and limousines for discerning individuals who appreciate
hassle-free service and privacy. Web site
European Travel Network (http://www.etn.nl/) has an extremely cluttered web
site which lets you get discounted fare quotes from a variety of travel
agents. Also a link to ITN for regular booking. In March 2001 they sent mail
to me which looked to me to be spam, they swear that I'd left the address they
spammed with a fare info request on their site a year earlier. I find that
very hard to believe, both because I don't recall visiting their site at all
in 2000, and because the address they spammed isn't one that I'd have used
Airline Network (http://www.airnet.co.uk/) has on-line discount fares and
booking for flights from the UK.
Flightbookers (http://www.flightbookers.co.uk)p offers flight booking and
info. They appear to be affiliated with TISS, described earlier.
Imp Travel ) of Lincoln UK offer discounted
schedule and charter flights ex Uk,plus discounted package holidays. We also
arrange incoming ground arrangements within the UK and Germany on an
individual basis or groups.
* Agents located in other parts of the world
Pagan Nomads (http://www.gonomads.com) designs, promotes and market
affordable,alternative and eco-adventure tour packages to the Philippines,
Asia and the World.
Middle East Travels & Tours (P) Ltd. in Kupondole,
Lalitpur, Nepal, arranges trekking, mountaineering, and other tours in Nepal.
IranGashtTour.com (http://www.irangashttour.com), located in Iran, offers
tours and other travel services for visitors to Iran.
Traveller Services (HK) Ltd (http://www.traveller.com.hk) is a travel agent
and local hotel consolidator in Hong Kong. Online ticketing and consolidator
fares, also online hotel booking.
Stellenbosch Travel (http://www.stellenbosch-travel.co.za) in South Africa,
provide flights, tours and car hire in South Africa at subsidised tourist
rates, also all accommodation in Cape Town and our Winelands Area.
Shannon Services (http://www.marflam.com) of the Marina Flamingo, Costa Rica
provides free personal on-line information on fishing, sailing, and diving
charters centered around the Marina Flamingo on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica
(northwest Pacific coast).
Meet the People provides small-group and private-charter day tours for
international visitors to Sydney, Australia. Their web page
(http://www.meetoz.com.au/g_day) has links and other visitor info.
Bagwis Travel & Tours Inc. in Davao, Philippines.
specializes in international travel & local tours of the beautiful white sand
beaches in Mindanao. especially Pearl farm, a must for all tourists
Cyber Air Broker , Sydney, Australia, offers discounted
airfares worldwide. Free internet access for travelers in Sydney. Web page
(http://www.airdiscounter.com), also separate web pages for offices in Manila
(http://www.airdiscounter.com/ph) and Auckland
Lucky Travel in Bahrain offers best rates from the
Arabian Gulf to all over the world, also arranges tours to US and far east.
Re'em Greiver , Patra Travel Agency in Israel,
specializes in business travel, as well as groups & FIT to Israel on the upper
Costa Rica Express , the oldest travel agency in
Costa Rica, offers tours and packages on their web page
(http://www.icr.co.cr/crexpress) with a 20% discount to Internet users.
Alex Poplavskiy at Transit Travel and Tours in Cape Town,
South Africa, offers domestic and worldwide ticketing with response and
confirmation within 24 hours. Also tour operator in Southern Africa.
Bob Tierney (http://vader.nw.com.au/~harley), owner of Australian Harley
Holidays and Hawg Custom Harley Tours, in Western Australia, offer motorcycle
tour packages, a unique holiday experience and cater to individuals through to
Cyber Air Broker (http://www.airdiscounter.com) is an Australian based travel
agency. Fare discounts offered, higher discounts if you book your own ticket
Gateway Travel (http://www.magna.com.au/~gatrav) is a full service agent with
expertise in to travel to Russia and other CIS countries.
NELL Tour & Travel Services Ltd. , tour operator in
Sulawesi (Celebes) UjungPandang. Indonesia. Specializing in daily Bugis-Toraja
package tour, off the beaten track tours, special interest tours ,cruises ,
* Not recommended
A few agents are not recommended, mostly due to spamming, sending out bulk
e-mail advertisements to people who haven't asked to get them.
"Connie George Travel Associates" claims to arrange Christian travel to the
Holy Land, but I can't see anything very holy about spamming (copy on the web
site) out ads to people who haven't asked for them.
I've gotten spam (copy on the web site) from someone in Canada called
itravel2000.com with what look like ads for vacation packages, but if they
can't even figure out that people in the US aren't likely to buy travel
packages from Canada, I wouldn't suggest doing business from them. They used
to call themselves "Virgin Holidays" but they were spamming (copy on the web
site) then, too.
An outfit calling itself Cruiseawards claims to be a travel agency selling
crusises, but since they seem to be chronic spammers (copy on the web site),
who knows what the real story is.
A company calling itself CheapAirlines has a web site that appears to be
selling air tickets and the like. But since they send out spam (copy on the
web site) to addresses harvested from spamware CD-ROMs that falsely claim that
the spam recipients are "registered users", who can tell whether anything else
they say is true.
A company called something like AMT Travel purports to be somehow affiliated
with American Express. But since they spam (copy on the web site) random
usenet addresses, I'm not inclined to give much credence to their claims.
A website called go4less.com purports to sell discounted travel of some sort,
but since they spam (see web site for a copy) I wouldn't do business with
A Malaysian company calling itself ATN Interactive or asiatravelnet claims to
offer travel booking software, but I wouldn't consider using it since they
advertise it by postage-due spam.
A Washington DC outfit called bargain-airfares.com claims to offer
international travel discounts. But since they advertise by spam (see web site
for a copy) I wouldn't count on anything else they do being honest or ethical,
An outfit calling itself "German Tourist Center of Florida" with an address at
naplesinfo.com advertises various packages and tours, but since they spam out
their ads, I can't have any confidence that they're for real.
Update: In May 1998 they sent me e-mail denying that they spam and threatening
to sue me. If anyone cares, a copy of their spam is on my web site at
TravelUSA which has a web site name containing "travusa" claims to be an
on-line travel agent, but since they have advertised using junk e-mail, I
remain sceptical. The president of the company has confirmed that they used to
spam, but says they don't any more. Glad to hear it.
WorldWide Family Travel appears to offer cruises from Florida, but since they
advertise using junk e-mail, I would recommend not doing business with them.
supertour.com has a nice looking web site, but since they're spammers (copy of
spam on our web site) I would exercise great caution should you consider doing
business with them.
NOTE: If you're a travel agent and would like to be listed, drop me a note and
I'll add you. Please make my life easier by e-mailing me a three-line or so
description in the style above. Thanks. PLEASE NOTE: I am not a travel agent,
just an interested traveller. Everything I know about on-line travel info is
in this FAQ. Don't write or call me asking for fare quotes, packages, or any
other travel agent info, because I don't have it.
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|rec.travel.europe FAQ||Yves Bellefeuille||Europe||0||March 30th, 2005 06:35 AM|
|rec.travel.europe FAQ||Yves Bellefeuille||Europe||5||January 21st, 2005 01:46 PM|
|rec.travel.europe FAQ||Yves Bellefeuille||Europe||0||September 29th, 2004 05:19 AM|
|holland america cruise holland america cruise line alaska cruise holland america holland america cruise ship||Islam Promote Peace||Cruises||3||July 31st, 2004 10:31 PM|
|rec.travel.europe FAQ||Yves Bellefeuille||Travel - anything else not covered||0||December 15th, 2003 10:49 AM|