Buying Air Tickets Online

I travel within California all the time, around two times a month or every other week. I almost always fly Southwest, paying usually the full fare price for fully refundable tickets (find myself needing the flexibility, plus Southwest seems to sell out of its cheap tickets all the time). Flying cross country is another thing. I’m planning on going to New Jersey May 20st – May 23rd, so I went about checking out Expedia to see flight schedules. I found the flight I wanted on Continental, which was the cheapest and the airline I prefered since I have a bajillion miles on Northwest:

San Francisco, CA (SFO) to New York/ Newark Liberty, NJ (EWR)
Depart: Thu., May 20, 2004, 9:15 p.m.
Return: Sun., May 23, 2004, 7:15 p.m.

Price on Expedia:

1 Adult $249.31
Taxes $37.40
Booking Fee


Total Price $291.71

Price on Continental:

1 Adult $240.00
Taxes $36.70
Total Price $276.70

Both tickets are the same flights, same day, exactly the same. The base fare is $9.31 higher on Expedia, the taxes are $0.70 higher on Expedia, and there is that $5.00 booking fee. Fifteen dollars! That’s quite an amount considering these sites are supposed to have better/cheaper inventory than the agents and direct bookings. Needless to say, I booked directly from Continental.