Booking Flights Could Be Easier

Thursday I wrote about some changes that really need to be made to the way pricing is displayed on hotel websites. In that case, American Airlines was used as the standard for how to display pricing in a transparent way so that customers know exactly what they are buying up front.

Today I think it is worth noting another pricing trend that other airlines could really use that American Airlines has been doing. Have you priced a flight lately with American Airlines? If you price flights with them as much as I do, you really get behind their method of flight pricing. Searching other companies shows that American does really ruin you for an older less transparent flight cost structure.

The way American prices there flights on the website is to show the full price for a round trip right up front, so when I booked my flight to Beijing, I knew right from the starting search what the full price was, all be it the lowest price available for that route. So once I select my flight, the price will not change when I select my return flight, unless I choose a different routing, then the website shows the pricing additional cost on the return leg.

Other airlines, like Alaska Airlines booked by outbound and inbound legs. So when I planned my flight to Hawaii they showed the outbound price, then when you search for your return leg it shows the price for that leg. Only when you select both do you get the full price. This really comes across as a mistake to me. When searching many dates, many legs and routes this is a hastle. Booking in this way means that you have to go through the entire booking process in order to see the true full price. With American, you can do a search and get an idea really quickly what the price range will be without having to choose your return leg.

Maybe this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things but I have personally found the American Airlines method of booking to easier to understand and faster. When you search the flight inventory as much as I do, this can be a significant time savings.

What about you dear reader? What is your preference?