What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
FlyHi
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:32 am

What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston?

Post by FlyHi » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:15 pm

I am going to Houston next week and I'd like to know which is the best (price & reliability) web site to buy the tickets from.
“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy”

livesoft
Posts: 62278
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by livesoft » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:17 pm

http://www.usair.com and http://www.united.com and http://www.southwest.com

I just flew to Houston from Pittsburgh one-way for $157 on Thursday. Booked the ticket Tuesday night.

I imagine it will all depend on where you are flying from. If you are going from IAH to HOU, then I'd suggest that you don't even fly.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

stan1
Posts: 5800
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by stan1 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:33 pm

My preference is to buy direct from the airline to facilitate seat selection and eliminate intermediaries who could cause complications. My preference is to pay a little more for a non-stop flight and to consolidate my air travel on the same carrier so I maintain frequent flier status, when possible. You may or may not share those preferences.

Keep your expectations low. I never expect anything from the airline other than arriving at my final destination on the day I'm scheduled to and working toilets in flight. I don't expect the airline to feed me, entertain me, or provide comfortable seats.

User avatar
Padlin
Posts: 675
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: MA

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by Padlin » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:57 pm

I use kayak but then price SouthWest off their web site for comparision. Usually can find cheaper on Kayak, especially if you are flexible, but I usually use SW if it's in the ball park which their web specials can be. FYI, SW prices are one way so make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
Regards | Bob

KyleAAA
Posts: 6669
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by KyleAAA » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:05 pm

I don't think there is any single "best" place for all situations. Just shop around. I usually prefer to buy directly from the airline website but I don't really get a discount very often by doing that. I usually use Kayak.com to do research, though.

texasdiver
Posts: 2597
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:50 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by texasdiver » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:21 pm

Liike the others, I use orbitz or other travel sites to find the cheapest flights and best connections and then generally go directly to the airline web site to book and pay for the ticket. I much prefer to not have to deal with any intermediary if there are any issues with the reservation. One hears occasional horror stories of people having booked through aggregator sites and then having their reservations lost or not honored, especially when there are changes and flight cancellations. I doubt it happens very often but it seems one reduces the chance of that sort of headache by booking directly with the airline. Then there is no one else for them to blame if there is some problem.

PS, you can also quickly find out which airlines provide direct nonstop and connecting flights between two cities by just googling "direct flights between x and y" which brings up the google/flights page. Although that doesn't seem to bring up southwest flights so you still have to check their web site directly if you want to fly southwest.

garg33
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:10 pm

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by garg33 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:36 pm

google.com/flights

retiredjg
Posts: 33537
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by retiredjg » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:38 pm

I like hipmunk.com quite a bit.

User avatar
grabiner
Advisory Board
Posts: 22508
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:58 pm
Location: Columbia, MD

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by grabiner » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:04 pm

My usual policy is to check with an aggregator which makes it easier to compare and choose options, then go to the individual airline to book (and always check Southwest separately since it doesn't aggregate). If the best deal turns out to be on the aggregator itself, then book there; however, booking with the airline is often better because you can usually get double frequent-flyer miles.

If frequent-flyer tickets are reasonable, I also check those on every airline individually. I have hit the jackpot a few times on frequent-flyer tickets, and it is more likely now that I live near a hub (Newark); last year, I was able to take my winter vacation on Continental frequent-flyer tickets.
Wiki David Grabiner

centrifuge41
Posts: 1182
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 9:04 am

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by centrifuge41 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:53 pm

Where are you coming from?

What I'd do.
Search http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ for a trip from your airport (optionally include surrounding airports within driving distance) to IAH & HOU. If you end up taking United (hub at IAH), you can book on United.com

Search southwest.com separately. They don't share their data with aggregators. They fly into HOU, not IAH.

There is a $20 coupon for Southwest.com that one may obtain for 100 MyCokeRewards points, if you participate in that program, and if Southwest is cheapest.

I'd also search for award seats with all of the airlines that I have ample miles with, and compare the mile pricing with revenue pricing.

User avatar
TheGreyingDuke
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:34 am

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:57 am

This is not a "where to buy" but a "when to buy" hint.

I have been told, and it has been borne out in my experiences, that airlines post new prices on Tuesday afternoon. Looking around 3 PM East Coast US time can yield some lower prices as the airlines all scurry to meet one another's new price. These lower prices are often very limited in quantity so a quick purchase can be in order.
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells

User avatar
soaring
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:09 am
Location: North Central Florida

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by soaring » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:32 am

I use orbitz to look for the best flight times / price for the majority of airlines. Then I go to individual airline web site and book flight.

SouthWest and a few others don't allow display on third party web sites like orbitz. But I've found when flying from FL to AZ during last 4 years that SouthWest was almost double the price of the typical (United, US Air, Delta, etc). So be careful since most airlines quote roundtrip price when requesting roundtrip but Southwest shows one way even when requesting roundtrip. Then when you get to checkout the price is double their oneway which is almost double others roundtrip.

Maybe that isn't correct on shorter trips but it certainly is my trips. Gee now you know why Southwest offers two free bags checked when others charge for bagage.

I have also booked with Orbitz without problems but a few years ago began booking direct after searching best flight times / price using Orbitz.
Desiderata

centrifuge41
Posts: 1182
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 9:04 am

Re: What is the best place to buy airline tickets to Houston

Post by centrifuge41 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:55 pm

For all the people using Orbitz (Expedia, Travelocity etc) to do searches, give http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ a try. This is the source software, if you will, that many aggregators and airlines use. The search is very powerful and supports some nice syntax. Check out the time bars on the results pages too.

Remember that Matrix does not show Southwest flights - you'll have to check separately.

Post Reply