by Toffler



Booking flights between random and far destinations

April 17, 2011, by TofflerN, category Tourism, Traveling

Bob's wingsOnce I decided on my plan for jumping from Asia to Europe and then back to Asia this summer, the next step is to figure out flights.  Hangzhou or just Shanghai to Europe (Germany) is easy, but after that not so much.

Trying to find flights between such random places as Madrid to Bali, Indonesia can be a lot of work. I remember when I did my around the world trip in late-2007-early-2008, I spent hours trying to come up with reasonable flight connections, times and prices.  There, too, I had some pretty random connections: Shanghai to Santiago, Chile; Miami to Cairo; Amman, Jordan to Zanzibar, Tanzania; East Africa to Shanghai.  You can imagine there aren’t a lot of quick options on those routes. As I mentioned back when I was planning the around the world trip, I finally gave up and used an around the world specialist flight planner (Airtreks) to do my flights.

So now again trying to book some pretty random connections (Madrid to Bali, and later Delhi to Phoenix), I’m trying to figure out the best way. And the cheapest!

I checked the usual, Vayama, Expedia, etc, but so many of them don’t even accept non-US origination points.  How is that useful? Then someone told me about cheap flights from JetAbroad and with a quick search, I found they were $400 cheaper than Vayama.  That makes a big difference (but the flight is still painfully expensive).  It seems JetAbroad has the advantage because they include quite a few Asia and Middle Eastern air carriers that don’t show up on some of the other booking engines.  So if you’re traveling around or through Asia, that might be worth checking out.

Yay! Travel planning is fun!  But I also find it to be a huuuuge time sink.  In the end, just like everything else, it comes down to a trade off between time and money. Do you spend extra time hunting around for the best connections and prices? Do you pay someone to do the hunting for you? Or do you spend the extra money and book the first reasonable connection that comes up? I tend to fall into the first category. I enjoy the hunt and especially the success of finding something cheap(er).

What’s your style?

(Just for the record, I may end up using Star Alliance miles for Madrid-Bali flight.)

So, what do you think ?