School holidays are nearly upon us and I am sure you are busy planning for a trip somewhere. I think most of us just call the travel agent to get an idea flights and prices, but there are a few tools to make the planning part of your trip just a little easier.
For international flights, I’d recommend checking out Hipmunk for iPhone. It’s got an interface other companies can only dream about and is the easiest way to get options for your trip. You can book directly with a link to Orbitz but it might be safest to get an idea of what’s available and then call the travel agent (I’d recommend Bertha from Manta Tours…my friends and I have been using her for years and she’s the best in the business. Her number is 345 7272 and tell her Mr. Mark sent you). One very cool feature of Hipmunk is the ability to sort by “agony” – a combination of price, duration and the number of stops. It makes sense – the cheapest flights aren’t always the most practical.
For domestic – and some international – travel, I am a big fan of Air Asia. As you know, you can’t buy their tickets through a travel agent so you have to go online or fire up their new apps for iPhone and BlackBerry. While they are nowhere near as slick as Hipmunk, you can buy tickets directly in the app (as well as choose your seat, order meals, etc.) and check if flights are on time or not. If you do buy a ticket on your device you get a cool e-version with barcode that can be scanned directly at the check-in counter as well as quick telephone links for all their offices in other countries in case you find yourself in a jam.
The last app is Indonesia Flight and is quickly becoming my favourite. You just put in your dates and destination and the app aggregates several domestic airlines (Garuda is conspicuously omitted) and displays what’s available. It doesn’t allow direct bookings and purchases, but it gives you web links and even a clickable phone number to close the deal. Indonesia Flight’s real value is the ability to find who is flying where, when and for how much. Since the app gets the data from the airlines’ websites, the data should be fairly accurate as well. It works for both iPhone and iPad and costs $1.99.