In Praise of Kayak

If you read my blog (and I hope you are a return reader), you know I travel a lot and that I like to travel.  (If you are a first time reader, check Wednesday’s posts for more on travel).

For this Thursday’s “Site I Like” post, I thought I might write a few words in support of Kayak, which is my go-to site for checking airfares and hotel rates.

You may have seen some Kayak ads on television in the recent past, but those are relatively new. It’s trademark, visible in the ads, is a board that changes destinations like those old arrival and departure boards in airports and train stations.  Despite the advertising, Kayak has mostly flown under the radar.

Because most of my travel is for work, and we have a corporate travel agent, I use Kayak exclusively to find out what routes exist and what low fares exist.  I have to use my travel agent to book.  I can’t comment on the purchase process on Kayak.

One of Kayak’s great features is that is allows you to easily narrow your travel preferences to focus on your best options, including:

Kayak TV Ad -- The Image of the Destination Board in the Background

  • Your preferred take off and landing times for each leg by sliding a button down a bar – much easier than a drop down box
  • Your preferred airline or airlines or airline alliance (Star Alliance, OneWorld or Sky Team)
  • The total length airport to airport of your flight, including lay overs
  • The length of your lay over (I hate short layovers.  I like at least an hour.)

Kayak lists all the flights in a list and gives you several options to sort.  At first, it shows you just the departure to destination times of all options.  You decide if you want details like the flight numbers, the layovers, the fees, etc. and on which site the price is available. This allows you to do a quick scan of the best options.  I usually sort by total flight time and try to find something near the top of that list.

Another neat feature is that Kayak allows you to find all trip options based on one specific flight.  For example, if I’m traveling from St. Louis to Beijing and back, and I know I want a specific return flight from Beijing, I can find that flight and tell Kayak to show me all itineraries with that return flight.  This feature in particular is one that other sites need to have.  I often want to build my own itinerary, but don’t have that option elsewhere.

For comparison shoppers, Kayak will search five other sites simultaneously, including Priceline and Expedia.  I don’t use that feature much, because I’m so comfortable with Kayak, but I can see where it might interesting to travelers.

Kayak’s hotel search is similar, in that it presents the information in a simple list, letting you decide what details you want to see.  You can narrow the search based on brand of hotel, # of stars, price and amenities or any of many combinations.

Again – Kayak works for me, especially in terms of how quickly I can scan and sort options.  Other sites may work for you.  But, if you haven’t visited Kayak and you tend to research fares, you really should give Kayak a try.


One Response to In Praise of Kayak

  1. Pingback: A Simple Investigation into Round The World Airfares « Life With Spidey

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