Low fares? Don’t believe it.

Every time I see a travel advertisement saying “We have the lowest fares”, I am immediately annoyed. It is computationally impossible to check all the various combinations. There are too many alternatives and choices. And even if someone could get it right, the travel sites do not have the incentive to get you the best fare.

Case in point: I am anticipating a trip in April to Nice and Paris. The most convenient routing is: fly to Nice through Munich; a nonstop to Paris; and the nonstop back home. But this involves flying on three different airlines that don’t codeshare their flights.

No computer reservation system can get this right. When I input my desired days and times and have the systems look for a good fare, they either recommend a socialist airline that I refuse to fly, triple connections each way, or an outrageous $1700 airfare. But if I book it manually, I can find $900 for the transatlantic segments plus €31.99 for the highly-competitive Nice-Paris route!

Want an alternative? Good luck trying to find a travel agent who understands the alternatives. Even if you can find such a rare soul, they don’t want to spend much time to earn virtually no commission.

Caveat emptor, redux.

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