Friday, November 30, 2012

Non-US Focused Air Travel Search and Safety

The better known travel sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak, all favor U.S. airlines. But there is a world of other airlines out there, many of them offering seats at a lower price and perhaps a better itinerary (such as non-stop). I discovered this big time when I was researching a flight from the U.S. to Istanbul, then flying to Bucharest and flying home from Budapest. The airfare was exhorbitant.

So I eliminated the Istanbul to Bucharest leg and the airfare dropped by more than half. Using a search site that did not favor U.S. airlines, I found an Istanbul to Bucharest flight for $50.

A word of warning though. Long haul flights on major international airlines are typically not a problem, but small airlines are another issue. A friend recently flew on an Iberia partner (VUELING which, she says, aptly rhymes with gruelin') from Lyon to Barcelona and her knees (she is 5'2") were up against the back of the seat in front of her. But a more important issue is airline safety.

According to this article from the Wall Street Journal, it is difficult for travelers to check airline safety when buying tickets. The European Union publishes a list of airlines that are not allowed to fly into the EU (most are African). The FAA publishes an Excel spreadsheet listing airlines that meet its International Aviation Safety Assessment Program but this only applies to airlines that fly into the U.S.

All that said, some excellent sites for researching air travel by non-U.S. airlines -- recommended by readers of International Travel News -- are:


ITA Matrix - site doesn't sell tickets but it shows flights and info

Air Treks -  according to an ITN reader, particularly useful for multiple city long-haul travel


Sky Scanner - checks several airfare selling sites

A final hint: Want to know what airlines fly into and out of a specific airport? You will probably find that information at the airport's web site.

by: diane robbins

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