Jan112016

Kayak Explore is a cool tool for finding low airfare

Kayak Explore is a cool tool for finding low airfare. Today is the first time I used Kayak Explore after reading the blog post on Points to be Made Quicktip: Looking for cheapest air fares to anywhere? Try Kayak…

I already love Kayak Explore after an hour playing around on the site. This seems like a powerful tool for finding low airfare deals when used in combination with Google Flights.

Kayak Explore LAX Feb2016

Kayak Explore – Los Angeles LAX airfare for Feb 2016

The graphic display is similar to Google Flights, but with some basic differences.

  • Airfare shown on Kayak Explore are actual fares found through Kayak.com flight searches in previous 48 hours.

This means there are many data points for airfare to places around the globe from major airports like LAX, SFO, JFK, but not too many data points for an airport like my local, MRY Monterey airport.

  • Hover over the airfare price icon and Kayak displays the city.
  • Click on the icon and Kayak displays airline details.

Kayak Explore city and airline

LAX to Chicago ORD $68 Frontier Airlines Feb 19 – Mar 1, 2016

Kayak ‘Find Flights’ May Not Display Same Price

The first weakness I see in this kind of search based on what people have found in the past 48 hours is when I click Find Flights for the ticket price, I rarely find that same price when Kayak repeats the low fare search using the specific dates of the fare displayed.

My experience in searching and publishing low airfares on Loyalty Traveler throughout 2015 is airline pricing has a transitory nature. This means a low fare deal is commonly gone within 24 hours. Many of the best low fare deals are only published fares for 12 to 24 hours before they increase in price again. In short, many of the low fares displayed on Kayak Explore are no longer available at the same low price.

Kayak LAX-ORD $138

Kayak shows Frontier fare is $138 for the same ticket priced at $68 sometime in the past 48 hours.

$68+ on Frontier for LAX-ORD Feb 19-Mar 1 priced at $138 round trip when I clicked the $68 icon on Kayak Explore. That is still a low fare deal, but double the $68 price.

Google Flights is a powerful tool in combination with Kayak Explore.

Kayak Explore has shown me that Frontier had LAX-ORD priced at $68 round trip sometime in past 48 hours. With a route – LAX-ORD – and a specific airline Frontier, I can filter my Google Flights searches to LAX-ORD and Frontier Airlines and look for a $68 fare using Google Flights calendar.

Google Flights LAX-ORD Frontier calendar fare view

Google Flights Calendar View filtered for Frontier Airlines shows $98 fare dates for LAX-ORD round trip.

I can quickly determine if there are still $68 flights with Frontier on any dates by checking Google Flights. $98 flights are the lowest fares I find now. But at least I know there is a still a $98 fare and that is significantly lower than $138 round trip.

Google Flights LAX-ORD $98

Kayak Explore for Amsterdam to USA

Last week I purchased tickets to fly Amsterdam to Las Vegas for $422 round trip. I will fly a couple of round trips from Amsterdam to Las Vegas over the next three months.

Loyalty Traveler – American Amsterdam to Las Vegas $406, AMS to LAX $496 round trip

This is how Kayak Explore shows Amsterdam routes to the USA for Winter 2016.

Kayak Explore AMS Winter 2016

Kayak Explore Amsterdam, NL to USA airfare for Winter 2016. AMS-LAS price is $404 round trip.

You probably need to click on the image to see actual prices on your screen.

Kayak Explore AMS-LAS

Kayak Explore Amsterdam – Las Vegas $404 American Airlines Sat Jan 23 – Tue Jan 26, 2016.

Kayak Explore ‘Find Flights’ button once again shows a fare not available at $404 round trip for these dates. Delta is the low fare at $665 round trip for Jan 23-Jan26.

Kayak Explore Delta $665

To reiterate, Kayak Explore has a major weakness in that the fares shown are fares that were priced in fare searches over the last 48 hours.

I personally know AMS-LAS was priced at $404 over the weekend. I actually priced this ticket yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours ago, on British Airways at 362 EUR ($395.23 USD) on Google Flights. This morning the lowest fares for AMS-LAS on American Airlines were in the $600s.

Kayak Explore for LAX-Africa

Yesterday I wrote about low fares to South Africa in what I consider to be one of the best sales for airfare from California to Africa that I have seen in the past year.

Loyalty Traveler – South Africa low fares from LAX/SFO Virgin, Qatar, Skyteam $815 Cape Town and Durban (Jan 10, 2016).

Loyalty Traveler – Africa on sale LAX and SFO to Mt Kilimanjaro $847 Star Alliance (Jan 8, 2016).

Kayak Explore shows me a low fare of LAX-DUR Durban, South Africa at $848 round trip and LAX-CPT at $856 round trip in Winter 2016.

Kayak Explore LAX-DUR

Kayak Explore shows me the $848 fare is Qatar Airways for Jan 21-Feb 6 flights. When I click on the Kayak $848 link, the price comes up as $906 round trip.

I priced this same route yesterday on Google Flight at $815 on Qatar Airways. This Los Angeles – Durban, South Africa route is still available for $815 round trip when I check Google Flights fare calendar filtered for Qatar Airways. The problem is nobody on Kayak searched the dates when Qatar Airways has $815 fares. That low fare does not appear on Kayak Explore.

Google Flightss Qatar LAX-DUR $815

Google Flights LAX-DUR Qatar Airways Feb 2-16 $815 round trip

Qatar LAX-DUR $815

Google Flights LAX-DUR $815 price link shows Qatar Airways ticket is $814.18.

My Kayak Explore Experiment

I figured I could give a little help to Kayak Explore by searching for LAX-DUR Durban, South Africa using the $815 fare dates.

Kayak LAX-DUR $815

My Kayak LAX-DUR flight search shows $815 Qatar fare Feb 2-16, 2016.

Kayak Explore Durban Fare Feb16

Kayak Explore still shows LAX-DUR at $887 round trip in February 2016. My Kayak search finding the $815 fare has not registered yet on the Kayak Explore route map.

Update Jan 11, 4:22pm PT:

Kayak Explore has updated its Los Angeles – Durban route showing the results of my search from this post five hours earlier.

Kayak LAX-DUR $778 Qatar

LAX-DUR Feb 2-16, 2016 at $778 Qatar Airways was the result from my search earlier today. The fare initially priced at $815 with an additional discount to $778 for booking with a specific online travel agency.

Conclusion

Kayak Explore is a powerful visual tool for searching low airfares based on other low fare finds from Kayak.com searches in the previous 48 hours. The big limitation of Kayak Explore is low fares are not displayed until a user has searched the route, and even then, there might be lower fares for the route when flying other dates.

Kayak Explore is a useful tool, primarily as an indicator where low fares might be from your desired airport. Finding specific low airfare dates is more easily pinpointed using Google Flights.

Loyalty Traveler curated Airfare Deals and Google Flights tutorials.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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