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I plan to travel to the US from India this August. I'm sure I'll go and, while searching for cheap airfares online, I found most of the sites showing almost identical fares. A friend of me, however, suggested two sites-Travelocity and Hotwire and the fares here are ridiculously cheap. For example, the following search on Kayak.com

https://www.kayak.co.in/flights/CCU-SCE/2016-08-05

gives me a cheapest fare of INR 73720. The same search on Makemytrip.com gives an almost identical fare, but with Qatar Airways. I did not find any cheaper fare than this until I visited Travelocity, which gave me

https://www.travelocity.com/Flights-Search?trip=oneway&leg1=from:CCU,to:SCE,departure:08/05/2016TANYT&passengers=children:0,adults:1,seniors:0,infantinlap:Y&mode=search

a fare of around USD 905, which works out to around INR 60000. I got curious and searched for this particular flight on Kayak and the price is over INR 100000.

That apparently means that just booking via Travelocity or Hotwire (which also shows similar fares), I'm able to save at least INR 40000 on the best possible connection. My question is-what is the disadvantage of this booking? I believe that such a large discount must bring with it some disadvantages, but what are they precisely? One obvious thing is that Travelocity doesn't permit refunds on cancellation, but aside from that, are there any other disadvantages I should be wary of?

I'm in general wary of deals that seem too good, and this sure does so-firstly because it offers fares lot cheaper than common Indian websites like Makemytrip/Cleartrip and secondly because sites like Kayak don't show these fares at all.

On a related note, since Travelocity doesn't have an Indian version of their site, is it possible to book from the international site using international cards capable of paying in USD? Are there any hidden charges?

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    Travelocity and Hotwire are both major, longstanding travel sites. (Is Hotstar in the title a typo?) – Andrew Lazarus May 11 '16 at 15:52
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    Travelocity and Hotwire are two of the oldest online flight booking websites, they have been in business nearly 20 years each and are very reputable. They go back almost to the very beginning of the web. They are American companies though, so you might not have heard of them in India until recently. – Michael Hampton May 11 '16 at 21:33
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You've found one reason why it's important to check many different websites if you want the cheapest fare.

In this case, Travelocity has offered you an itinerary from CCU-SCE for INR 60144, while on Kayak the same itinerary redirects to Gotogate, where it costs INR 74068.

There are two big differences between these itineraries. One is the plating carrier, i.e. which airline actually issues the tickets.

In the case of Travelocity, the tickets are being issued by Delta Airlines, while Gotogate is selling tickets issued by KLM. In each case the flights are the same (at least some of them; see below), but thanks to codesharing, many airlines can sell tickets under their own brand for the same flight, operated by partner airlines.

The other big difference is the routing. The Travelocity flight is routed CCU-DEL-AMS-DTW-SCE, while the Gotogate flight is routed CCU-BOM-AMS-DTW-SCE. Interestingly, that same routing (on exactly the same planes from end to end) can be found on Travelocity, where it costs INR 75117 (USD 1128).

It appears that Kayak doesn't have any visibility into Delta Airlines ticketing, so it has no possibility to offer the lower priced routing and Delta ticketing. This is very common; no flight website that I know of can ticket on every carrier; they all are missing some carriers. This is why you should check many different sites.

  • Which makes me ask: how do I explain that the official Delta booking site shows no available connection from CCU to SCE and a fare of over USD 1300 for the connection from DEL to SCE (which should cost lesser)? delta.com/air-shopping/… and delta.com/air-shopping/findFlights.action – adrija May 12 '16 at 14:06
  • It has to do with how blocks of seats are allocated to partners. I think there has been a question on the site about this before, but I can't find it right now. – Michael Hampton May 12 '16 at 17:25

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