How To Search Bing Travel For Flights
by Roger Wade
October 9th, 2009
Bing Travel launched in 2009 as Microsoft’s powerful new travel search tool, and though it’s quite similar to a couple of competitors, it’s also very easy to use and capable of searching almost every relevant site on the internet all at once. If you’ve used Kayak.com (or its co-owned brother SideStep.com) before, the new Bing Travel interface is going to look awfully familiar.
Let’s walk through a flight search and discuss exactly how to use Bing Travel to find the best deals on the flight that suits your schedule.
Go to www.bing.com/travel in another window.
Look in the top-left corner of the main window and you’ll see the main search window, which should already be pre-selected to search for flights (rather than hotels).
First choose if your trip will be one way, round trip, or multi city (meaning you want to stop in at least two cities other than your original departure city).
Next, begin to enter your starting airport in the From€ box and after only 3 characters the site will show a list of possible matches for your search. Choose the one you want, and then do the same in the To€ box to the right for your destination city.
Then fill in the number of passengers and class (economy, business, or first class).
At the bottom of this same search window you will see boxes for 5 additional travel sites, where you can compare your results to what you’ll find using Bing itself. If you check all five boxes then you’ll have 5 new windows popping up when you hit the big orange Search Flights button, each trying your same details on those other sites.
Tip: Even though Bing Travel theoretically searches most other airfare sites on the internet itself, you can often find a lower price using Priceline or Hotwire, or sometimes on the individual airline sites themselves. Before you are ready to purchase your ticket it’s not a bad idea to try at least two other sites to compare the results.
Click on the big orange Search Flights button
Check your results page
Bing Travel will automatically put the lowest fare on top based on the cities and dates you entered, but you still have many ways to filter these results ahead of you.
As you can see in this example, the first flight on the page is priced at $790, and the next 5 down the page are all within $4 of that one. You can now sort these flights by your desired departure or arrival time, or in other ways. Just move the sliders in the left column to narrow the times down to times you’d be willing to travel. Once you narrow the search your list of flights will automatically update itself, and if the cheapest flight no longer fits your new criteria it will disappear so you can check prices on flights that are best suited for you.
Tip: In many cases these flights will be very similar in price, so the 20th or 30th cheapest result will only be $20 or so more than the cheapest one. This means you might only have to pay slightly more for a flight at the perfect time compared to one leaving at an inconvenient time. You might also find a slightly higher priced flight that has a far better connection, so you could save 3 hours in each direction by paying $10 more.
Choose your best flight option and buy your ticket!
Once you’ve sorted out your choices just click on the Book with € link that shows the lowest price, and you’ll be transferred to that site to complete your purchase. Make sure you’ve found the best flight for you before you begin the process of purchasing the ticket. It’s easy to keep looking around on Bing until you are sure you have the best deal, but of course once you actually go to the other site to buy your ticket you’ll be locked in, and Bing is no longer part of the process.
If you need to change your reservation you’ll have to go through the site you bought the ticket through, and Bing won’t have anything to do with your trip anymore.