Kayak/BA differenceBack to Forum
Anonymous11 Jan 2011
I find Kayak a pretty useful site for booking my travel. Late last week I looked up AMS – CHI, then NYC – LON business return. I found a BA deal for a price I was happy with, it said I should book direct with BA, so I went on the BA site and got a much more expensive quote. I filled it in a few times, and also checked a couple of other routes which also came out more expensive.
Am I doing something wrong, or is this a bug? Any hints for fidning that cheaper fare that I saw on Kayak?
Any help much appreciated.
Matt11 Jan 2011
No, that’s unfortunately pretty normal for Kayak, and it is getting worse at displaying accurate prices. I don’t think it’s BA’s fault – it seems to affect other airlines and travel agent fares – particularly Ebookers in my experience
Regarding many airlines, I think there’s a glitch with the Kayak software, as sometimes it actually shows J0 or C0 or Z0, even when it thinks a fare is “available”. There used to be a button after you clicked through asking if you were unable to get the advertised fare, and saying they would investigate – that has mysteriously disappeared
Conversely, in the case of Ebookers, quite simply whatever booking software they use is always out of date – I think Ebookers “shortcuts” searches – i.e. if the search has been done in the last day or two, they repeat the previous results (to make the search quicker, and reduce the number of costly GDS queries). However, availability changes so quickly that your search query is almost always out of date, and when you click through to purchase a fare, it suddenly becomes unavailable. It’s bloody irritating. I suspect that’s what’s happening with Kayak too
Matt, unfortunately for you, I think this just means the fare probably was available, but is now sold out on the flights/dates you want
Kayak isn’t the cheapest source or most accurate search engine, but it is the fastest and most convenient way to compare many different sources (short of having your own GDS terminal). I have to admit, I effectlvely use it to check availability, and then often find another agent to actually buy the ticket – e.g. I have been doing daily searches to establish when discounted business class become available on specific LHR-BKK Austrian flights, and then booked through a non-Kayak agent, which was over 10% cheaper than Austrian, Ebookers or Expedia. Sweet!11 Jan 2011
I use Kayak and may be the mug that just accepts their quotes. Once you have identified the availability, where do you search for the cheaper prices. I always thought of Kayak as a well priced source.11 Jan 2011
City is right. I do the same. I get a price from Kayak or the airline then get my agent to quote. Invariably she is cheaper sometimes by 20% and she sends me the invoice so I don’t have to keep filling in cc details.11 Jan 2011
Kayak only checks the big online agents and airlines – e.g. the “big” airlines and Expedia/Ebookers/Netflights etc. That’s fine for the cheapest economy fares on established airlines and big trunk routes – LHR-CDG and LHR-JFK on BA – airlines have nowhere to hide, and the prices are all the same
However, particularly in premium classes, and where the airline itself doesn’t offer an explicit lowest price guarantee, there is almost certainly a cheaper agent. Which agent depends on the route and fare
e.g. I travel to South East Asia quite a bit and I tend to use Lees, Emerald or WestEast (find them on Google). WestEast is better at Thailand and Vietnam, Lees is better for Malaysia and Singapore
How can they be cheaper? (a) they sell a large volume of seats to specific geographies, (b) they don’t have expensive overheads (IT, marketing, etc) and (c) they don’t give me Nectar points or accept credit card payments. Is it worth it for the 100s of pounds I save on every trip? You betcha!!!11 Jan 2011
Just a thought…
If Business Traveller was really acting in the interests of, errr, business travellers, then maybe it should do a feature on the cheapest agents to use for different routes/airlines/geographies (i.e. not directly with airlines or any of the big agents), and the easiest ways to access GDS-style data without paying for it (e.g. Kayak for paid, ANA tool for *A redemptions, etc)
Given that this would p155 off some of BT’s biggest advertisers, I think there is no hope in hell of seeing this. But you gotta live in hope, eh?11 Jan 2011
Perhaps Cheapflights and Travelsupermarket could work as alternatives?
I’ve used Kayak to book hotels and haven’t been disappointed with the accuracy of the prices.15 Jan 2011
Thanks for your replies. I (or rather work) booked through Orbitz in the end. We got the price we wanted.
I’m flying back on the NYC – London city flight so that should be an experience, plus it gets me enough tier points to get to BA silver.
Now to find a decent nightclub in New York where I can get table service.15 Jan 2011