24 December 2010

How To Outsmart Expedia's Ban On AA

Game time everyone - listen up. The Professor's Guide to Buying American Airlines Tickets. A Primer for smart shoppers.

Today's game is how to use Expedia and Orbitz to easily get access to AA in these OTAs. Keep this link however because it will become more useful over time. I will come back and update this page as new changes happen.

Firstly you are already a smart shopper so we are not going to teach you how to suck eggs. We are going to assume that you know a little bit - probably a lot if you read this blog on a regular basis.

The easiest way to book AA is to use those "neutral" sites that have retained AA. For example if you are used to using Orbitz - just click on over to Cheaptickets who still shows AA. (Yes luv its the same engine at the back! so for Orbitz users this will be REALLY familiar)

For example here is a display that (honest 'guv) I just chose at random a route where I know a nonstop would return to me an AA result. Interestingly the AA price was cheaper than the other guys... how about that!!!

But what if you dont want to use any other site than Expedia or Orbitz itself and that despite all that your little inner voice tells you - you REALLY want to use Expedia to see about AA and compare AA's priced. Well you can do that.

Here is how.

Path 1 - see if there is a code share that might cover the route.

AA as with many airlines has code share partners. Unlike United, Continental and US Airways who are clogging our results screens with the same flights - AA has fewer partners. But here is where to get the list:

AA.com's Code Share pages

Print this page and keep it with you at all times. It is much better for International Flights than domestic. So think of this. For Transatlantic flights look for Iberia, Finnair and British Airways options with flight numbers generally in the 4 digit range. For service in the USA try using Alaska as a preferred airline but caution AS fares on AA tend to be higher than AA itself - often significantly so. Again refer to the list and the links from the AA Codeshare home page above.

Here is an example

Look at the BA 4 digit flight numbers they are the AA flights.

Path 2 - Use a Meta/Real Search Site

For this good sites like Kayak in the USA and Skyscanner in Europe provide a way to see things neutrally and still then go through the task of selecting the flight you want on AA.

For example here is the Kayak display for all sites. To eliminate duplication I only requested nonstops on mainline aircraft but all carriers all sites.

Path 3 - suck it up and figure out where to go to get the right flight data.

To do this you can only use Expedia as neither Orbitz.com not Orbitz for business sites are displaying AA right now - although eBookers and Cheaptickets are.

And of course if all else fails go to AA.com. Well heck you were going to buy there anyway weren't you!


1 comment:

John S said...

Clearly Professor, the world is changing rapidly, and not always for the better. It would be interesting to have your impressions of where this is all going to end up?