How to search Expedia
by Roger Wade
November 1st, 2007
In this how-to guide, we will show you easy steps to follow on how to search Expedia for flights, offer some tips on how to search more efficiently, and get the best deal possible through Expedia.
At first glance, searching Expedia for a flight seems straightforward enough, but a slew of new features and options make what was once easy into something of a puzzle. If you just run your information straight through it’s hard to know if you could have saved more money, or found a more convenient flight than if you would have clicked an extra button or two in the process. This quick guide will explain some of the new features and give you advice on how to search Expedia and get the best flights for your situation with confidence.
Step 1: Click this link to open up Expedia in a new window so you can follow along while reading our guide.
Step 2: Type in your starting city and your destination.
Start by plugging in your home airport and your destination city. If you know the 3-letter airport codes you can usually save a step for each one, but simply typing in the city name will usually be enough. If there are multiple airports matching this city, you will be given a list of airports to choose from.
Tip: Many cities with more than one major airport still have a 3-letter code city code similar to an airport code that enables you to search flights to all airports in a city in one search. Here are some of the more common ones:
|Chicago = CHI||Miami/Ft. Lauderdale = MFW||Paris = PAR|
|London = LON||New York City = NYC||Toronto = YTO|
|Los Angeles = LAX||Rome = ROM||Washington DC = WAS|
Step 3: Select your desired departure and return dates.
You won’t need a calendar handy because clicking anywhere into the date boxes will bring up a small calendar so you’ll automatically know the day of the week you are choosing. If you have a specific time of day you’d like to travel you can pull down the slider under the word “Time:” to choose your preference. If you’ve got just a general idea, you’ll find the choices Morning, Noon, and Evening at the bottom of that list. You can also just leave it at “Any,” which will show the cheapest flights on that day.
Tip: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are usually the cheapest days to fly. If you begin your search by using a combination of these days you can quickly find the absolute lowest price first, then change to your ideal dates so you can compare that price to the lowest possible price.
Step 4: Choose the number of adult, senior, and child passengers, and then click the “Search for flights” button.
You’ll either get a screen that tells you Expedia is performing your search
If your city selections in Step 1 match more than one airport you’ll be given a list of matches and be asked to select the exact airport you’d like to use in this search.
Step 5: You’ll get your search results page!
The first thing to concentrate on is the left-most column under the words “All Results.” This gives you the best available fare for nonstop flights if they are available, followed by the best fare for 1 stop, followed by the best fare for 2 or more stops.
Tip: Look closely at the “Duration” time under the date in the center column. This is a total of your flight times plus airport layovers if you have at least one stop. It’s not uncommon for a slightly more expensive flight a little down the list to have a much shorter total duration. Is it worth it to pay $4 more to save 2 hours on the length of your journey?
Step 6A: If the lowest price with an acceptable number of stops looks good…
Then it’s time to choose the exact flights you prefer to build your final ticket in Step 7.
The first list you’ll see only shows departing flights, and this method gives you the most flexibility, but you can click on the “view complete roundtrips” link just above the list and a new list will appear with coupled departing and return flights so you can choose both at once.
Step 6B: If the lowest price shown is not acceptable then you’ll need to change at least one item on your initial request and then click the green “Go” button at the bottom. Here are some additional tips to find the lowest possible price for your flight.
Step 7: Build your final ticket
If you are choosing each flight separately, click on the Choose this departure link on the right next to the departure you’d like, then click on the Choose this return link to the right of the return flight you prefer.
If you are choosing a complete round trip, then click on the Choose this flight link to the right of the group of flights you like.
Tip: Look carefully at all the flight details before you move to the next step. In some cases the best fare you’ve chosen will use different airports on one or both ends. And also double check the layover and duration information to be certain this is what you want.
Step 8: Get your final price and review the details.
The total price for your trip will appear at the top of the page. You’ll have one last chance to review your flight details, and below that Expedia helpfully gives some sample prices for hotels in your destination as part of a package, and finally an opportunity to add a car rental to your flight.
Just below that is an overview of Expedia’s rules and restrictions that apply to your ticket. Read them over and the check the box below them indicating you agree.
Finally, you’ll click the button at the bottom that says “Continue with booking.”
Step 9: Sign in to your Expedia account, or proceed as a visitor.
If you’ve got an Expedia account you can enter your username and password, which will speed up the billing routine. If you want to create an Expedia account you can click on the Create and account link at the bottom, but if not you can click the box on the top right that again says you agree to their terms and conditions, and then click the Continue as a guest link just below that.
Step 10: Scan all the possible extras that Expedia finds for your destination.
Here is where Expedia makes one last attempt to add more non-flight options onto your ticket. The list can be very long, but you can just scroll to the bottom and click on the Continue with booking link. If you’ve chosen any of the new extras you can click on the green Reprice button just above the Continue link, and it will calculate your new final price.
Step 11: Almost done! Enter information for the traveler(s).
The top of the page will show your destination name as the name of this itinerary if you want to save it, but you can just leave that alone and skip to #2 on this page where you’ll click “Add a new traveler” to enter the name of the traveler and a contact phone number. Below that you’ll be able to choose if you prefer a window or aisle seat, and a special meal if your flight includes a meal. If you need special assistance for a handicap there is a box to select what you’ll need.
At the bottom click “Add this traveler and continue checkout.”
Step 12: Review your request and enter your frequent flyer number
Take one last look at your information, then click the Proceed to booking link at the bottom of the page. If this is an international ticket you’ll also be asked to enter your passport information before proceeding.
Step 13: The final steps!
We are finally ready to buy. Go down the list on this screen to confirm your ticket type, prices of your flight plus extras, and total cost. Now enter your credit card information in the Payment information section, then enter your e-mail address, twice, in the spaces provided, and finally skip down to the bottom to hit the “Complete this purchase” link.
Step 14: Hit “Confirm purchase” and you are done!
Congratulations, your electronic ticket confirmation is now staring back at you, and a copy has been sent to the e-mail address you provided.