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Look Beyond Travel Search Engines for Cheaper Flights in Canada

Common travel search engines used in Canada include Hipmunk, Orbitz and Kayak.

By Candice Walsh

Turning to travel search engines for comparing prices on flights, car rentals and hotels is the norm these days—especially during the hoopla of holiday travel. Comparison and booking websites like Orbitz, Kayak and Hipmunk offer ways to weigh costs, layovers and duration. They can also help you book your trip quickly and painlessly.

But are you really getting the best bang for your buck?While international travel can often wind up being cheaper when booking through a flight search engine, the same isn’t necessarily true for domestic travel within Canada. Sometimes it just makes more sense to book with the airline itself.

Here’s an example:

Using Hipmunk, we searched for a return flight from St. John’s to Toronto (Pearson International) for the dates of December 15, 2011—January 4, 2012. The lowest price on WestJet came to a total of US$654.63 on Orbitz, taxes included. The same flight purchased directly from WestJet.com was $681.67, taxes included.

The results were much different, however, when we entered a return flight from Halifax to Toronto Pearson International. The least expensive WestJet flight came to a total of $651.80 on Orbitz, taxes included. The exact same flights on WestJet.com were selling for $612.74, taxes included.

Bottom line? If you’re searching for the best deals, don’t take the search engine’s word for it. Always check with the airline to make sure you’re actually getting the best price. It might be a little extra work, but every dollar counts!

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