The Internet seems made for purchasing airline
tickets. From the convenience of home you can
search for the best fares, study connections and
departure times, order tickets--and get great
prices. Your local travel agency is still a good
choice if you have a lot of questions, but if you
know what you need, the Internet can be a quick and
efficient way to take care of the transaction.
The Internet's largest travel agency is
The site offers not only tickets but also car
rentals, hotel reservations, and cruises. I'm
dreaming of vacationing in Turkey, and the site
quickly gave me the information I was looking for.
You are asked to register to use the site, but if
you want to do a search, they will let you do it as
a "guest." Registration is free. The lowest cost on
a round-trip, off-season flight to Ankara was
$1,057--a good price but not the lowest I was able
Travelocity also offers travel guides and a wide
range of other planning tools, such as weather,
currency converters, maps, driving directions, and
more. There is also a selection of booking tools.
The site has a "Fare watcher" area that alerts you
to hot deals.
the second largest online travel agency, with a
range of services similar to Travelocity: hotels,
cars, cruises, etc. Again, I didn't need to
register and found a slightly lower price here for
my jaunt to Turkey: $1,029. Expedia has a section
called Today's Deals that offers daily specials on
The price winner for my trip to Turkey was
Tickets. Not only did it offer a much larger
list of choices for flights, but it came in at a
low price of $900. Unlike the others, Cheap Tickets
requires that you register first (free) and give
them information such as your preferred departure
airport and a few other basics. Building a profile
saves you time by not having to re-enter the
information each time you buy a ticket: you can
book your own reservations with as few as four
clicks. They also require registration because they
only want serious shoppers so that their system
doesn't get overloaded. If you're reluctant to
register, they offer a Specials section which gives
samples of their low fares.
And we should also mention Priceline.
As most everyone knows by now, Priceline is
different from the rest in that it lets you name
the price you want to pay for your ticket. Then
airlines with unsold seats can decide if they want
to meet your price. People often get spectacular
deals--but also often must be flexible in regard to
© 2000 by Jim Karpen, Ph.D.