One option to book a flight online is to use an online travel agency (an “OTA”). An OTA is a website that sells flights online and functions as a middleman between airline companies and consumers to help consumers buy airplane tickets. We've researched the following most used OTAs on the internet.
Priceline is one of the most widely used OTAs in the US. The Priceline website is easy to use, and you can filter your searches by ‘Round-trip’, “One-way’, and ‘Multi-destination’. Priceline also lets you easily book an entire trip by combining flights with hotels, cars, and cruises.
With Expedia you can easily book flights, yet Expedia's strength lies in bundling services together. You can easily plan a full trip on Expedia, as you can search for ‘Stays’, ‘Cars’, ‘Packages’, “Things to do’, and ‘Cruises’, in addition to flights.
Travelocity has been around since 1996 and is a well-known name in the online booking world. The website is part of the Expedia Group, as are Hotwire and Orbitz. You can easily combine your flights with other travel options - ‘Packages’, ‘Stays’, ‘Cars’, “Cruises’, and ‘Things to do’. If you're looking for a good package deal, Travelocity is a great way to save some money.
Unlike most other major OTAs, CheapOAir is a privately owned company. And it shows in the website, which has its own unique character. Based on the name, you might think that this website mainly offers cheap airline tickets, but as we have seen in our research, the different services are difficult to distinguish based on price. So if you are looking for the lowest price for a ticket, it is best to try the different services yourself for your specific search, because the lowest price varies from case to case. There is no clear winner when it comes to the lowest price for tickets.
Orbitz is a major player in online travel. Like Travelocity, Orbitz is part of the Expedia Group. As a result, the search results are very similar. In addition to flights, you can book hotels, cars, cruises, things to do (including tours and day trips) and travel packages on Orbitz.
Onetravel is part of the same company as CheapOair. Therefore, the websites are very similar, and the search results are also very alike.
Just like on most of the other flight websites, with Kiwi you can also search flights by ‘Return’, ‘One-way’, ‘Multi-city’, and ‘Nomad’ (finding the best itinerary for multiple destinations). You also can search flights by ‘Economy’, ‘Premium Economy’, ‘Business’, and ‘First Class’ (and even by ‘mixed classes’). The Kiwi website also highlights refund and cancellation options.
Booking.com is of course known as a hotel booking site, but you can also easily book flights on its platform. Searches for flights can be filtered by 'Round-trip', 'One-way', and 'Multi-City', and by 'Economy', 'Premium economy', 'Business', and 'First-class'. In addition to flights, Booking.com allows you to book hotels, rental cars, attractions, and airport cabs. We think booking.com is the best booking site for hotels, so if you want to combine a flight with a hotel booking, booking.com is a solid choice.
Hotwire is a pretty good service for finding cheap hotel rooms and combining them with flights, but we think there are better alternatives for that task. For example, at Orbitz and Expedia you can receive additional benefits through their rewards programs. However, Hotwire often offers great deals through their Hot Rate Deals. However, if you are purely looking for an airline ticket you are better off using other services.