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Flight comparisons

Good evening all,
To sum it up, we’ve opted to take a vacation to see family and another to bring our kids to to areas that lack large cartoon rodents each year - not that we’ll never visit Orlando, but I feel that eating fried chicken across the street from the Sphinx has more of a “wow factor”.
But I digress, I’m currently looking at flights but I can only compare cost based on date and location by searching repeatedly and it’s just time consuming.
Is there a site or app that will offer alternatives? For example if I specify BWI to LON, one that would say “okay but you can save $XXX if you fly from IAD to MAN.
Dulles generally has better fares, but there are so many options from here it’d be much more convenient to just see potential fares from other airports. If I’m going to Baltimore it’s not much further to Philly, LaGuardia, even JFK, Dulles and Regan aren’t much different just another direction.
For what it’s worth, our first “big trip” is going to be English friendly. I’ve got some roots flowing back to Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England - but mostly to limit the kids’ culture shock in the first go.

Posted by
4697 posts

I just use Google Flights. Sometimes it offers cheaper options than the city pairs you have selected.

Posted by
1590 posts

Often, you can find a place to check that you’d like the search to include alternate airports. That’s the only thing I can think of.

Posted by
40 posts

I had to chuckle about your rodents comment. Just came back from an Orlando golf trip. It is absurd that one would pay lots of $$ to stand in football length lines at WDW. It is also repulsive to pay higher prices based on the fact that I was an "out-of-stater". Florida is permanently off my future list of places to travel. I completely agree with your Sphinx comment.

If someone comes up with an answer to your question about an easy way to eliminate the time consuming process of looking for competitive airfares, I will nominate them for the Pulitzer Prize. It is a royal pain in the posterior, but I would respectfully suggest that you consider it like working. You get paid to work. Saving money is work.

My last two European trips included all four of the places you mentioned. You can PM me if you'd like some suggestions on things to do.. like the Ffestiniog railroad in Wales.

The chill out moment for us was to spend a couple days on the western coast of Ireland in a vacation rental. The rural landscape is gorgeous and the locals were welcoming. We did nothing except enjoy some local restaurants and sitting outside while drinking wine and watching the sunset over ocean tides rolling in. Probably not a "kids" thing, but I would ask who is paying for the trip? LOL

Posted by
996 posts

Yeah, I do it like you said, using google flights, and entering in various departure and arrival locations. Then you can check something called the "date grid", which gives you a calendar view of prices, so at least you can compare price per date for one departure city and arrival city combo.

Posted by
25 posts

I second the Matrix recommendation from Nestor. If you do have any flexibility, make sure you check "see calendar for lowest fares", and you may find that leaving or returning a day or two either way may save you a bunch. When you get the flights and routing that looks to suit you best, you then go directly to the airline websites to book, pre-armed with the info they don't normally pass out on better fares.

Posted by
9181 posts

The software mentioned above is the same as Google Flights. It just looks different.

Posted by
6554 posts

Frank's right about Google buying MatrixITASoftware.com. I still use it quite often.
The other website I use when researching flights is Wikipedia using the airport's name. It tells me what non-stop flights go into or out of any city and which airlines fly there.
Note that not every budget airline subscribes to Matrix ITA and is included--like Southwest Airlines.

Posted by
2633 posts

mrv91011, despite my desire to use travel to educate my child, we did enjoy going to the place of the large cartoon rodents-but they also have large mammals (Chewbacca), a snowman, giant cartoon chipmunks, and the ever-popular princesses. But seriously, it can be an educational experience-read Uncle Remus to get ready for Splash Mountain, go to Epcot(which I agree is a poor substitute for the real thing).

Posted by
16817 posts

I haven't tried the search engines previously suggested. They may well be the most sophisticated.

The one I have worked with is www.skyscanner.com, which at least allows you to make a search such as "from Chicago (all airports)" to the "UK (all airports)" over one calendar month. You could next open the most attractive city pairs, each in new browser windows, and see the calendar view of prices for that arrival airport.

Posted by
3151 posts

You’re not about to fly to Europe from Laguardia. For international flights from LGA, think Canada.

I use skyscanner.com and then seatguru.com to look at the aircraft for those flights Skyscanner finds especially specs including seat pitch, seat width, etc.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks to all for the suggestions, I’ve mostly been dealing with the “big names” (orbitz, kayak, etc) so I’ve got some fresh options now!
My job never stops being busy so it makes no difference when I take off and my wife is working in the school system which includes a substantial amount of time off, so the ability to see pricing on other dates is helpful as well.

As stated, I have nothing against Mickey, but I have family within driving distance and we’ll end up there at some point. I went as a kid the same summer I went to the Smithsonian for the first time and all I remember was Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean... ohh and Figment 🤣

Posted by
124 posts

I use Google Flights and use "Europe" as the destination. i then just look to see what European destinations are the cheapest flights. I've learned over time what airlines and cities are cheapest and use that to plan my trip.

Posted by
3501 posts

In my experience the Matrix link shows more flights than its sibling Google Flights. This is an unscientific impression. Also a guess, Matrix doesn't sell tickets so perhaps can show more information while Google Flights shows only the flights it can sell. And the situation may be changing. Only a side-by-side comparison will tell, so I use both. But I try to book directly from the airline, eliminating the middle agency.

Posted by
18117 posts

I've never seen Google Flights offering to sell me tickets. It just gives me a link to the airline.