Kayak Airline Tickets

by Roger Wade

November 27th, 2007

Kayak might be the most powerful airline-ticket searching tool on the internet. It’s not the best site for everybody, but if you are comfortable with things beyond basic computer use it probably won’t take long before this is your favorite airline ticket site. One problem for most Kayak users is it’s easy to find the cheapest ticket for the days you search, but it’s more difficult to know if this ticket is actually a great deal or not.

This short guide will quickly show you the best ways to use Kayak to search for an airline ticket, and with only a few more clicks, know if the best fares are worth buying right away, or if you might want to change your plans to get a much cheaper ticket.

It’s important to know the baseline price

Airline tickets tend to all start with the same price, and then as the seats fill up the remaining tickets get more expensive. Depending on the time of year and how far in advance you are searching, you might find a cheap ticket for popular days, or the fares may already be near the top of the price range. The best way to know where you stand is to search for a range of dates so you’ll instantly know if your ideal dates are bargains or are inflated.

How to find out the baseline price

You can check this quickly on Kayak by filling in your ideal dates and airports, and then clicking on the My dates are flexible  link. With just a couple of clicks you can search an entire week on both ends of your trip, so you’ll know if your ideal dates are the best ticket deal for you or not.

After you click on the flexible dates link, a new field will open up below each date. Drag the dropdown to 3 days before and after€ for both your leaving and returning dates. Then click on the orange search€ button at the bottom and Kayak will begin scanning all the cheap airline ticket sites, including the airline sites themselves, which usually offer the lowest prices possible.

Comparing your price with the baseline

The results screen that will appear has your answer right on the top of the page. Using this technique you’ll see the lowest possible airline ticket price for flights leaving and returning in the weeks you’ve chosen, with your ideal dates right in the center. A quick scan will reveal whether your desired dates are near the bottom or top of the price range. If your ideal dates are some of the lowest on the page, you’ll know you are getting a great deal. But if your dates are significantly higher than some of the others on the page, you’ll know that your ticket price has already gone up and you may consider changing your trip to find a lower price.

Buying your ticket

If you decide you want to buy a ticket for this journey just click on each date box on the top line to uncheck the ones you aren’t interested in. After you’ve done that you’ll be looking at a list of the remaining flights to compare, with the lowest prices on the top. At this point you can begin using Kayak’s other powerful tools to find the exact best airline ticket for you, at the lowest price possible.

Also check nearby airports

If there are other airports near the ones you are searching, you can also compare your ideal trip to the cheapest trip with just a couple more clicks. Click the box next to show nearby airports on the main screen and Kayak will search for the lowest price including other airports. If the lowest price shown is for your ideal airports, then you know you are getting the best deal, but if the results show significantly lower prices using other airports you can decide whether the savings are worth it to you.

On the results screen Kayak will show the lowest prices it finds and display those flights on top along with the airports where they were found. In the left column you’ll see a list of the airports Kayak checked, so you can just uncheck the box next to each one that you aren’t interested in using. Just uncheck all but your ideal airports to see the best fares for your original search, but now you know whether a better deal might be available so you can make the best decision for you.

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