Menu

I will be flying to the US and wanted to book a flight ticket online. This is my usability experience with the Big Four of the travel industry websites.

Orbitz

Starting at 4:35 pm I log in to Orbitz.com to find the best ticket for my trip. Searching brings up the price of USD 831. OK, I click on that. In next step, however, Orbitz says that it’s my lucky day and they have even better price for me. It’s my lucky day, indeed – “better” price is now only USD 1321. Probably some problem, so I click back to get the results and click on the USD 831 flight again. No, the problem is not between the computer and the chair. It’s on the Orbitz side, I am shown USD 1321 price again.

Struggling some more, I find and get the price of USD 852 finally. Happy with the price, I fill in all the required personal details on two pages and continue to the third one filling in the credit card details. But now, I am displayed only few countries for credit card address and Slovakia is not there.

Calling customer support and they confirm that you can only book through Orbitz if from USA, UK, Canada and approximately five other countries. Welcome to the internet, boy!

Travelocity

Moving to Travelocity.com to book my flight, but they just redirect to Expedia. Bad luck, I’ll try Expedia later on.

Opodo

Trying this British flight tickets website after all, Opodo.co.uk offers good prices, but fails at the same stage as Orbitz – not providing an option to book the flight if you are from outside of UK, US and few other countries.

Expedia

Expedia features a nice interface, displays good flights, although is clearly missing some data – they don’t have the flights that Orbitz offered. Unfortunately, the flights they offer are not the best option for me all the way to the US. So, I leave for low-cost SkyEurope to book first part of my flights from Bratislava to Amsterdam. I then return to Expedia to finish my flights reservations from Amsterdam to US. It’s 8:05 pm.

Usability Above All… or is it?

I will summarize that usability thing for you: Orbitz and Opodo allow you to book if you are from US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Belgium and maybe France. Travelocity just redirects to Expedia. Expedia does not have access to all flight data and provides only part of the flights available. I have spent more than four hours tryring to book my flights, but all of the websites (except of Expedia partly) have miserably failed to sell (or convert me to customer).

Most of them failed because they don’t recognize internet as a global marketplace. Instead they sell only to small groups of Chosen Ones.

Tell me, what’s your favorite flight booking website then?

  • Matthew

    Daniel, haven’t learnt to eliminate the middleman? Use amadeus.net to search global flight data. The interface is user friendly and will even list connecting flights. Use the data to then book direct through the airline’s website. e.g. On amadeus I found a flight with Lufthansa from Bratislava to NYC, therefore I’ll go to lufthansa.com and book direct.

  • Daniel

    Thanks, Matthew, will try that next time.