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Flight Search Still Very Poor
I guess you can't program common sense

 7:19 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Each year in November my better half and I make the trek from New York to Miami to see a (very) old friend. Several years ago I was trying to arrange a trip out to Vegas for PubCon with a return to meet my better half in Miami. I was quickly frustrated when the best option offered by a major airline was Vegas > Los Angeles > Salt Lake City > New York > Miami or some such convoluted route. So, I had to scotch the Vegas part of the trip and just traveled to Miami with my better half.

Most of my air travel over the past few years has been from New York to other major cities so I haven't had to get hands dirty trying to book an overly complicated itinerary. At the same time I just assumed that flight search simply had to have improved over that time.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

We're going out to Southern Cal for a wedding in March with plans to go up to Monterrey and its great aquarium afterwards. Here are the results for flights from Long Beach to Monterrey from a major travel site:

Long Beach > Phoenix > Monterrey

Long Beach > Phoenix > Los Angeles > Monterrey

Long Beach > Phoenix > San Francisco > Monterrey

Long Beach > Phoenix > Yuma > Monterrey

Long Beach > Seattle > San Francisco > Monterrey <<15 hours!

Long Beach > Seattle > San Diego > Monterrey

Long Beach > Salt Lake City > San Francisco > Monterrey

The big problem here is that the data is all there and being thoroughly searched, but it doesn't take reality into account. Instead of the results that were returned, I would much more appreciate a blurb along the lines of "You can't easily get there from here. We suggest you look at alternate departing airports. Here are results for flights departing from LAX, BUR and SAN."

Which is what I'm about to do right now.


Now this great, United offers a flight from LAX to MRY for $145. But, in case I don't want that, It also suggests LAX to SFO to MRY for a mere $650 more.



 8:05 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

from New York to Miami to see a (very) old friend

The sun?

I once asked a farefinder site to find me flights from Yellowknife to Baker Lake. Their best offer went via-- I am not making this up-- Edmonton and Calgary.

I hope you weren't spelling it "Monterrey" in your actual search, since that would only get you the place in Mexico :)


 8:18 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Certainly not restricted to flights, my experience is that it is a common problem with any travel planners.


 8:38 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

as lucy24 suggests make sure you have the right one - monterey CA (MRY) vs monterrey MX (MTY).
i once almost booked a hotel in mexico to see a race at laguna seca.

if you're flying out of LBC it's only 10-15 miles up the road to LAX where your options for flying into a tiny regional airport like MRY may be better.

most of the flight searches i've used have a checkbox to allow searches for "nearby airports" in general or checkboxes to select from specific nearby airports.

also note that some airlines do direct sales which won't show up on the general flight search engines. (e.g. SWA, JBU & FFT)
you will have to make those searches separately from the branded site to see all your options.

if you've never done the drive along PCH into monterey, you should probably make that part of your plans.


 10:31 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah, it was MRY.

I just went off to the MRY site to find what airlines service it. Sometimes it's easier to back into a solution.

The point I was making is that the results are so ridiculous. Why return a 15 hour routing for a trip that usually takes one hour and change. Why suggest an $800 4-hour trip when you just returned a $145 1-hour trip. It doesn't do anybody any good, just frustrates folks.

And to top it off I found that one major airline removed the "only non-stop" option so I had to wade through 3 times as many results to find flights out to the left coast and back. Arrgh!

Added: We've done the PCH a number of times. Getting tired of driving and are at point we want things done for us.


 9:09 am on Nov 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree with jimbeetle's views. I'd also add that connecting flights offered don't take into account heightened security measures, and airline delays. I never choose the first option with too little time to spare between connections.

The search responses just need to be smarter, and I don't understand why they can't.

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