I’m often a fan of booking directly with the airline (mainly in case a booking provider charges extra to make changes). However, there are some cases when it makes sense to use a booking engine.
– Piecing together multiple fares (on different airlines) to get the cheapest overall fare.
– Looking for potential stopover options you might not have considered.
– Avoiding horrible airline booking sites. (Jetstar Australia I’m looking at you! – more often than not the confirmation email doesn’t come through, sometimes putting in the booking reference shows no booking when in fact there is a booking, and often the payment processor crashes).
Let’s compared two players that are worth checking when you’re booking flights.
From past experience, Momondo is hit and miss, but what I like is that sometimes it comes up with really creative routings that I never would’ve thought of. I’m prepared to endure longer travel time to save a few hundred bucks or to get a stopover in somewhere I haven’t been.
What annoys me is that it doesn’t offer NZD as a currency option.
Test search for a simple flight:
Auckland to Christchurch Wed 27 March, 2013.
Cheapest option provided:
Booking a Jetstar flight via Bravofly for a total 29.61 Euro (currently $47 NZD).
This was fine except that the fees for adding baggage when booking via Bravofly were grossly inflated and not the standard Jetstar baggage fees. Bravofly did have a nice pay via Paypal option. It would’ve been a fine choice if not adding baggage.
Auto detects my currency as NZD.
For the test: Identified the cheapest flight as booking directly with Jetstar for $49 NZD.
The negative is having to deal with the Jetstar website, and Jetstar charge fees to pay via credit card when booking on their site. So, being taken directly to the airline site has both positives and negatives.
From a user experience perspective Dohop has a nicer interface than Momondo, but Momondo shows the prices on nearby dates which can be useful to see if traveling earlier or later might save money.
Test search for a more complicated flight.
Christchurch to London return 3/27 4/23
Momondo offers AUD 2168 (approx $2715 NZD)
Dohop offers $2688 NZD
Both are the same Etihad flights, and the fare directly on the Etihad website was more expensive (over $3000 NZD).
A third search revealed big savings via Dohop
Auckland to Singapore May 8, returning May 22
$1062 AUD on Momondo vs $683 AUD on Dohop for the exact same flights.
Outbound via Melbourne (Qantas then Jetstar) and Inbound direct (Jetstar).