One of the fun parts of my entrepreneurial journey has been the travel. In the last two years alone, I traveled to 15 different cities (some multiple times), at least flew in and out of cities almost every three weeks, and finished one set of passport, cover to cover. It’s been a fantastic experience.
But, all of these did not come for free. Unlike my days of corporate traveling, I had to pay for those tickets out of my pocket. I always had to be budget conscious. There were never any instances where I would book the very first option provided to me on Google Flights. The question on my mind was always –
“Can I get it any cheaper than this?”
I would dig into numerous websites searching for cheaper and more convenient travel options. I even started getting this weird sense of achievement when finding a 10% cheaper option. There were some orgasmic moments when I would find a more competitive business class fare than coach on the SAME flight.
My methods were simple. In the initial stage, I would rely on the information already curated by fellow passionate travelers. The article by Thirftynomads was a great start. It gave me a better understanding of how the air tickets are priced, and how we could reap the benefits from it.
My biggest take away from this article was to use the INCOGNITO MODE while browsing. In addition, the blog also provides numerous lists of search engines to use.
However, there were a few points that were not relevant to me. I am not going to (or be able to) change my credit cards just so that I get reward points, nor am I a member of any frequent flyer programs. These are some of the major drivers when it comes to finding cheaper flights or even getting complimentary upgrades. But, it merely is not the option for many of us.
Let’s take a look at how I find my tickets these days. I need to travel from London to Dubai next month for a ten days trip. I depart from London on July 1st and return on July 12th.
It seems like a pretty easy choice:
- $539 for a direct flight on Emirates.
- $453 for a Turkish Airlines flight with one 2hr50mins layover at Istanbul.
- $459 for a Gulf Air flight with one 40mins layover at Bahrain.
It seems like good deals, right? Wrong.
A simple search on http://www.skyscanner.com with the same itinerary gets me a better deal than that of Google Flight.
I still would not make the purchase yet, as the question on my mind is always — “Can I get it any cheaper than this?”
I would hop over to http://www.booking.com to check for the same itinerary. And the results are pretty reassuring:
Now that’s a massive drop.
If I were to proceed with the first two options, I would have overpaid by $44~$79. That’s easily how much I would spend 1~2 nights on a hotel in Dubai.
The top three options from Google Flights are now down to two: its either a direct flight on Emirates for $495 ($44 less than on Google Flights), or a layover flight with Gulf Air $380 ($79 less than on Google Flights).
Does this mean Booking.com is always the best choice?
Prices on websites change quite frequently, and each of these websites is competing with each other. For this reason, finding the lowest fare for the most convenient flight option is a very time-consuming process. (For this article alone, I spent almost 45 minutes comparing the prices on eight different websites).
Yes, there are services like Priceline which compares multiple sites. However, the list is not comprehensive. It misses out on deals from websites like http://www.makemytrip.com (India) which caters to a large segment of travelers traveling from London-Dubai-Bombay (or any other major Indian Cities).
Modern Day Solution
The problem is that I do not have all day looking up for the best deal. I try not to spend more than an hour looking for tickets on every trip. After all, I cannot spend an entire day trying to save a few dollars on the ticket. And that is why I included the flight reservation to the Avendi Concierge Service.
With Avendi, users would have to enter their destination along with their travel dates. It’s simple as chatting with your friends.
Once submitting the flight details, Avendi will get to work. Since this is a messenger service, you will receive a notification once Avendi gets back to you with the flight options.
Avendi is simply crawling and processing vast sums of options available online. In this case, Booking.com provides the best deal. That is why Avendi returns the Booking.com link for those particular flight options. The cool part is that Avendi provides links from various service providers. The options are not limited to Booking.com, but it could be skyscanner.com, Emirates.com, or anywhere where the best deal is.
Finding the best flight deal is not easy. The worst feeling travelers often get is when they find lower prices for the same ticket AFTER they have purchased. Yes, we live in an age where everything exists online. And this has significantly improved our life — because unlike our parents or grandparent’s generation, we can purchase a ticket fast and easy. However, the problem today is that there is a massive amount of information that it is time-consuming to process everything.
You can try out Avendi Concierge Service from here.