Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Kayak lets me down

I very much like Kayak's flight search engine. But it didn't find the cheapest flight for me.

I have to go to CA twice in June for Monday-through-Friday trips, and since we were more prepared than usual, I tried searching for it as a four-leg itinerary. The very best Kayak was able to come up with for me was:

Monday: MSP 7:10am -> OAK 12:18pm (one stop)
Friday: SFO 2:50pm -> MSP 8:25pm
Monday: MSP 7:10am -> OAK 12:18pm (one stop)
Friday: OAK 12:20pm -> MSP 8:55pm (one stop)

all on Delta for $802. Somewhat more sane options were also available, both Delta alone and a combination of Delta/United or Delta/US Air, at a higher cost.

But, I was able to do the same search on and get a better schedule:

MSP 7:20am -> SFO 9:20am
SFO 2:50pm -> MSP 8:25pm
MSP 7:20am -> SFO 9:20am
SFO 2:50pm -> MSP 8:25pm

for just $778 (after taxes.) To add to the confusion, I took a slightly different schedule (SFO 6:45pm -> MSP 12:18am on both legs) which had a lower base cost but higher taxes, so it came out about the same price. But the Delta interface is a lot more annoying to compare alternatives--- it doesn't show you a price until the last leg, and doesn't let you change just one leg at a time, either.

Orbitz did even worse, with a $868 fare:

MSP 7:20am -> SFO 9:20am (Delta)
MRY (Monterey) 12:25pm -> MSP 8:12pm (US Air, 1 stop)
MSP 7:45am -> OAK 11:43am (US Air, 1 stop)
SFO 2:50pm -> MSP 8:25pm (Delta)

But, when I selected the exact flights I'd gotten from Delta, it gave me the same $778 price.

Evidently the market can still use a flight search engine which produces sane recommendations and low prices.
Tags: software, travel
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