44 Responses

  1. Scottrick
    Scottrick 25 November 2012 at 10:50 am |

    It’s like combining the best features of an OTA and ITA into one service. But if you’re lucky, it will still give you the option to buy from the airline. So far I haven’t needed to go to the lengths you describe in this post, but it’s good to know the option exists.

  2. Lark
    Lark 25 November 2012 at 10:52 am |

    Thanks Seth.

    I’ve been using hipmunk more lately, but did not realize it had all these capabilities.

    Only option is to purchase on Orbitz? (I’d rather purchase on UA.com for the extra UA RDM’s with my MP Select card, and PQM’s…)

  3. Andras
    Andras 25 November 2012 at 11:01 am |

    Seth,

    This is by far the most useful post for me for a while. I would love to see other posts related to this topic.

    THANKS

  4. Explore
    Explore 25 November 2012 at 11:20 am |

    Wow, thanks for the post. I was looking at a pretty complicated US-Europe itinerary myself, with an outbound UA ticket and a return LH ticket which included a United flight and an overnight stay at JFK. Travelocity and Expedia couldn’t handle it. United.com priced it at $40 more than the ITA Matrix results (exact same flights, but maybe using UA codeshare instead of LH ticket for the return?), however Hipmunk punched me through to united.com where I could buy at the precise ITA price. Frankly, I doubt that UA phone reservations could have saved that last $40, so I’d have been looking at a travel agent with a GDS who would have charged something like that as commission.

    Thanks much, once again!

  5. oliver2002
    oliver2002 25 November 2012 at 12:18 pm |

    Why bother with an OTA, when you can ask a TA? They can even WL you for a P class… Unless you are booking a mistake fare or fuel dumping something, stay away from OTAs, not worth it, especially when things change. Their support can’t even handle something with more than 3 straight forward coupons… :(

  6. Aptraveler
    Aptraveler 25 November 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    Thanks Seth, great write up. I appreciated you sharing all the details of the process AND the time that it took to get it done. It’s not easy, but when you get your ideal routing to work its pretty sweet indeed. Well done really, the power of perseverance!

  7. Carl
    Carl 25 November 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    This is a great post and very useful. It seems to me that maybe Hipmunk sends you to an OTA when it’s mixed carriers?

    I do wish Hipmunk would give you the option of additional city pair boxes. When you want to take advantage of 23 hour stops (transfers in airline jargon) or mileage maximizing routings, that is when addtional city pairs would be most helpful. As it is, even spec’ing flight numbers doesn’t work when you are artificially extending the connection overnight – it works if the previous flight arrives the next day, but not if you are just adding an overnight with a <24 hour connection.

  8. LufthansaFlyer
    LufthansaFlyer 25 November 2012 at 5:26 pm |

    I love Hipmunk. I love how I can ask for 7 or 8 total segments for a round trip and it gives me options that airline sites readily do not.

  9. Professor Sabena
    Professor Sabena 25 November 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    As an old Fares Geek – I must remind people of the Sabena Principle. If it can go wrong it will go wrong.

    In this case for fares it really doesn’t matter one jot if ITA (or the engine users – Kayak, Orbitz, Hipmunk) can get the itinerary to work. It matters ONLY that the ticket can be legally issued. if you are lucky you will get an agent who knows what they are doing. Howevver that is not universal and if you are at a lower grade of United user then you will likely get one of the offshore call centre agents who will clearly fail this.

    EVEN if you do get it right one more more times – there is a high probability that the time you really want it to work – the itinerary may be technically possible but if its not directly ticketable – you are hosed.

    Just a reminder

    Cheers

  10. Carl
    Carl 25 November 2012 at 10:44 pm |

    I was able to book the LH flights on the UA website at the end of the day

    I wish there were a command line interface, a la SHARES or CMD, that we could use to generate itineraries and then send them off to price!

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  13. Michael D
    Michael D 5 December 2012 at 1:41 am |

    Hipmunk is a hit or miss for me. For example, when I search my money run DFW-PEK for 12/12 no flights show up via ORD on United.

    If I say
    DFW:: UA+ to PEK
    I only get 1 flight

    If I say
    DFW:: ORD UA+
    NO RESULTS

    On united.com plenty of availability on that day for UA88, UA851, UA889 and UA897 (DFW-EWR,ORD,SFO,IAD-PEK).

    But if you get a ticket for the price you want and you make it back home, great.

  14. Michael D
    Michael D 5 December 2012 at 7:46 pm |

    As I re-read my comment I don’t think I was being as clear as I thought I was so let me start over.

    Shouldn’t
    FROM DFW::UA+ TO PEK
    show all the available UA flights from DFW to PEK?
    I only see one flight:
    ( http://www.hipmunk.com/hotels/Beijing-China#!dates=Dec12&pax=1;kind=flight&locations=DFW::UA%2B,PEK&dates=Dec12&pax=1&cabin=Business~tab=1 )

    For the same search United.com shows many starting at $4000 where Hipmonk shows a flight via ORD for >$9000.

    FROM DFW TO PEK (no options) did show a <$2900 flight but was missing most of the flights shown at united.com
    ( http://www.hipmunk.com/hotels/Beijing-China#!dates=Dec12&pax=1;kind=flight&locations=DFW::UA%2B,PEK&dates=Dec12&pax=1&cabin=Business;kind=flight&locations=DFW,PEK&dates=Dec12&pax=1&cabin=Business~tab=2 )

  15. Michael D
    Michael D 5 December 2012 at 8:10 pm |

    I chatted with Hipmok and they didn’t know why the flights weren’t showing up.

  16. Michael D
    Michael D 6 December 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    Why does the class make a difference? Availability? Lot’s of availability in all classs on UA metal.

    In the unrestricted search I am not seeing using the mentioned links
    DFW-ORD-PEK
    DFW-SFO-PEK
    DFW-EWR-PEK
    DFW-IAD-PEK
    and only the ORD flight when I restrict the flights to UA (DFW::UA+). United.com shows multiple options for these fights. These are not overnight and only a single connection.

    When I say from DFW::UA6233 to PEK to force it through SFO on a flight united.com shows available, hipmonk says no flights found??

  17. Michael D
    Michael D 8 December 2012 at 7:43 pm |

    I’m not saying you claimed Hipmonk was perfect but am responding to your original response to me. To repeat I think it is great that you can buy the ticket that you want with Hipmonk. But I think that searching for a flight on Hipmonk is hit or miss. Hipmonk doesn’t show all the ticketable flights.

    As a side point it is interesting that even though Hipmonk is allegedly a front end for the same search engine for the Matrix search at IATA software, identical queries result in different record sets.

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  26. Murtuza
    Murtuza 29 January 2013 at 6:00 pm |

    Freaking late on comment, but this is awesome for complex routing!

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