Orbitz Airline Tickets
by Roger Wade
November 27th, 2007
Orbitz is one of the easiest sites to search for, and buy, cheap airline tickets, but it’s hard to know if you are getting a great deal unless you know a couple of tips for searching the site. This short guide will point out the fastest way to use Orbitz to search for airline tickets in a way that you’ll quickly know if the prices quoted are good deals or not.
Find out the minimum price for your cities
In the computer age most airline ticket prices are adjusted automatically with no humans involved. For the most part, all the flights between a pair of cities will start off at the same price for a given time period, and then the popular flights will go up in price as fewer seats are left. If you check for a few days before and after your ideal dates you can scan all the best ticket prices quickly and instantly know if you are paying close to the minimum or if these tickets have gone up in price quite a bit already.
How to find the minimum price on Orbitz
One thing that makes Orbitz so easy is they try to make your first flight search very uncomplicated. This is nice, but that doesn’t give you much information for comparing tickets. The key is to start out by clicking the Flexible dates link near the bottom of the main box. This gives you three completely different ways to check for groups of prices instead of just the one you get by doing a simple search.
Option 1: Weekends If you are just planning a weekend trip this is an excellent way to see where your price stands. Just choose a month and then click on the Find€ button at the bottom. On the results screen Orbitz will show a grid for all flights leaving on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, and returning Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday for that whole month. If your ideal weekend is higher than the others you’ll know your ticket price has already gone up, but if your ideal weekend is the same or lower than most of the others you can now buy your dates with confidence knowing you are getting a good price.
Option 2: Bonus days/flexible dates Even if you are fairly sure which dates you want to travel, using this feature will only take another minute or two and you’ll know for sure if your ideal dates are good prices. Drag each of the sliders down to check a range of dates. You’ll get the best results from the option that says 3 days before and after€ on each flight. The grid that appears on the next page will show you all possible combinations with your original pair of dates in the center. If the prices are all similar then you know you are at or near the minimum price, but if your ideal dates are high prices you’ll know your ticket price has already gone up and a better deal might be available on other days.
Option 3: Flexible stays This option can be good if you really have a lot of flexibility for your airline ticket. You can enter in the earliest possible departure and the latest possible return, then pull down from the list to select the approximate length of your desired stay. Orbitz will show a grid on the results page with all the possibilities. Again, you’ll instantly know what the lowest and highest priced days to travel are, so you’ll know if the airline ticket you want is a good deal or not.
Also check nearby airports
Orbitz main search page is quite simple, but there is an easy way to check if there are better deals on those days flying into or out of an airport nearby the ones you’ve selected. Perform your initial search and you’ll see the best prices for airline tickets to your chosen airports, and in the left column you’ll see another box below the words Change Search.€ In that box if you simply click on the buttons that say incl. nearby airports below each city, then click the blue find€ button, Orbitz will perform your search again and also include all other close airports on both ends.
These results can be a little confusing because Orbitz doesn’t make it very obvious if the site has found lower ticket prices using other airports, so it’s important to look very carefully at the details of the lowest priced flights on top. If the new lowest priced tickets are using one or more different airports you can now consider if that is worth it to you, but if the lowest price is still using the same two airports you’ll be able to buy your ticket knowing you are getting the best deal possible.