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KAYAK Flight, Hotel Search

As someone who does a lot of traveling, I’m always on the lookout for a bargain on airfares or hotels.  I’m a big fan of kayak.com, a powerful and easy to use site for searching across multiple airlines and travel sites to find the best deals.  But like many websites, trying to navigate kayak.com on Mobile Safari is a painful experience.  So I was happy to find their free app in the App Store.

The basic app is free but includes only economy flights.  If you need first or business class, you have shell out $1.99 for the First Class app, which seems fair enough. If you’re flying first class you can afford 2 bucks for an app.   The main navigation has 11 section and I’ve described the major ones below.

Flight Search
You can use geolocation to find your “From” airport or just start typing the city name and the autocompletion will quickly find a list of suggestions.  Depart and Return dates pull up a calendar that’s easy to use if not too aesthetically pleasing.  And the typical options of including nearby airports or limiting the search to nonstop flights are provided.  I tried it out on a flight from San Francisco to New York and used the “All NYC Airports” option.  After searching, it was easy to filter results by deselecting specific NY airports.

One drawback is that, unlike the web site, the app doesn’t allow flexible dates.  But there is a “Buzz” section that allows you to find best fares for a given month with a slick price/date graph.

Once selecting a flight from the given options, I was ultimately sent to a website (in my case United Airlines) in Safari.  And of course from here, there is no way to back into the app and it must be relaunched.

Airlines
Airlines gives fun numbers and web sites of many major airlines, sorted by popularity or alphabetically.  I could see this coming in really handy if you miss your flight or it is delayed or cancelled.

Car Rental

This feature is pretty standard with geolocation and calendar functions and a slider for the time of day to pick up and drop off.  Booking online again fired up the browser.

Hotels
Standard features here as well.  City, check in and check out dates, number of guests and rooms.  But the search results are well thought out with lots of powerful and intuitive filters.  You can easily find cheap hotels or hotels near the aiport.  You can chose by number of stars or select from a list of chains.

Preferences
This doesn’t offer much really.  You can select currency and which international Kayak website you want to view, along with a few others.  Would like to see more here.

Trips
This section lets you store complete intinerary (flight, hotel, rental car) for each trip.  You must create an account or log into an existing one.

Flight Tracker
Hidden on the second screen, this is a great feature with entire apps devoted to just this functionality. It allows you track multiple flights and gives you real-time departure and arrival status.

Airports
There is a list of all major airlines with their associated fees, mostly for checking bags. Not indispensible but interesting to see.

Overall this is a great free app that I’m glad to have found.  It will be a huge timesaver next time I travel.

http://www.kayak.com
Available on the App Store

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