Is Booking Over the Web Worth the Trip

A look at how online travel websites measure up

the airlines you fly most often. Or visit Websites that aggregate fare and rate information,” such as Smarter Living (www.smarterliving.com). As a free service to registrants, Smarter Living collates airline specials departing from your desired gateway and e-mails a report to you weekly. You then book through the chosen carrier.

If you find a great deal, says McCoy, act fast. “Fares can change quickly,” he points out. McCoy says the best time to surf for travel is between midnight and 2 a.m. “That’s when airlines update their systems and put back discounted seats that were reserved but canceled.”

How online travel agencies measure up

AmEx www.american
express.com

Biztravel www.biz
travel.com

Expedia http://expedia.
msn.com

Internet Travel Network www.itn.net

Preview Travel www.preview
travel.com

Travelocity
www.travel
ocity.com

Speed

3

4

3

3

3

5

User Friendliness

3

4

3

3

3

5

Selection of Airline Carriers

3

5

3

3

3

4

Quality of Extra Options*

3

5

3

2

2

5

*Extra options include providing destination information, special tracking services, travel tips, etc.
Rating: 1-5, 5 being the best

Additional Online Travel Tips

  • Get a recommendation from a friend.
  • Save time by writing down your travel specifications before you go online.
  • Limit searches to airlines you’re most likely to fly.
  • Instead of plugging in one day and time, compare several itineraries for the best deal.
  • Pay close attention to computer prompts.
  • Before plugging in credit card information, carefully read restrictions.
  • If possible, e-mail questions to the service and wait for a response before you book.
  • Keep receipts, records and a printed itinerary. Travel with a copy.
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