Online search for pricing went from bad to useless

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Apr 23, 2018
Just a rant - unless someone knows how to fix this.

Looking for tickets from DC area to Houston. Look at Kayak, Priceline, Orbitz etyc to get leads but always then go to the airlines themselves to see if reality is being twisted :) It is.

Ever since the big airlines started with their cheapo-bare minimum steerage airfares, these search engines are worthless. I can't find a way to tell the darn things to not show me anything connected to "United economy" (or the Delta or AA or whoever's equivalent). All I want is what used to be plain old economy. The ones with seat assignments and carryons. That is the airfare I am interested in finding and comparing.

But not with the current version of tools; I can select for business or first class but cannot ignore the new steerage fares. I'm finding it hard not be angry at all of them for this mess; airlines for creating more chaos and search engines that cannot distinguish at that level.

End of rant

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
The only way I know to avoid this is to go to each individual airline and check. Or call a travel agent that has access to a GDS and let them book your tickets. They can see all of the fares and may have access to fares you can't get. They may charge fees for tickets since there are no commissions paid, but in many cases it is well worth it to save yourself time.
Likes: jsn55


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
Yup, Neil has nailed it. It now takes hours for the traveller to do what used to take one hour. I've been a United loyalist forever (Continental segue), and even just on that one airline it takes me forever to find decent fares. BUT, here's the comfort factor ... it used to take TWO HOURS on the phone to book a Continental tix in economy, upgraded with miles to first class. At least now we can do all our research on the computer ... but you can't book an upgrade at the time of ticketing at all! At least you can walk away from the computer, make a cup of hot chocolate, and come back to continue on your own schedule. Have patience, the airlines are dealing with this new disgusting economy stuff ... they'll get it worked out sooner or later. I was looking at Delta a few months ago, and the offerings seemed to be fairly straight-forward. I've never used an online booking service, but I have a low opinion of them based on my experience on this forum. Meantime, paying a TA a small fee to do the booking might be a good investment. I think they can manage in 5 minutes what it takes you and I half an hour.