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I have been spending a lot of time lately booking tickets for clients. In doing so, I collaborate often with the The Weekly Flyer discussing our techniques. This week we were discussing using Avios for short haul American Airlines flights and he pointed out that I have quite an unorthodox way of developing routings so I figured I’d share. I am not sure when I picked up this habit but I actually use Wikipedia to find my AA direct flights to book using Avios.
The Wiki Approach to flight booking
Wikipedia is not a flight booking tool nor is it 100% accurate nor is it always up to date. What it is, though, is fast! Wikipedia’s airport wiki pages have relatively accurate destination and airline information and are very easy to locate from scratch. Wikipedia is an extremely low bandwidth website to load so it is easy to load on mobile phones and with slow internet connections.
This morning I was tasked by my parents to find a new and exciting location for the family to spend Thanksgiving this year. As I was throwing out wild and illogical ideas as I normally do, Bermuda popped into my head. In 3 easy steps, I had a family full of awards booked to Bermuda for Thanksgiving.
Step 1 – Google your airport. In my case this was “wiki bermuda airport”. Easy enough.
Let me Google that for you
The very first result is almost always what you are looking for.
Step 2 – Navigate to the wiki page and scroll to the ‘Airlines and Destinations’ section on the airport wiki.
Airlines and destination for BDA
In my case I see an American Airlines non-stop flight. Bingo! As always, your very first thought when you want a non-stop short haul American Airlines flight should be Avios.
Step 3 – Loaded with your airport pairs, hop over to BA.com to search for availability of your award. In general, availability is very good on American Airlines, often with 7 seats open in Economy class for many dates several months in the future.
In less than 15 minutes using the quick and dirty wiki approach, the trip was booked. In my case, I actually took it one step further and used American Express’ website to transfer Membership rewards at the current 50% bonus into my Avios account to finance the award.
Other flights I’ve booked using the wiki technique.
The Bottom Line
Admittedly the wiki approach is not the most elegant way to find flights but I find it a quick and dirty way to find what you need to use your Avios (and Amex points) effectively for American Airlines flights. Am I crazy? Has anyone else used Wikipedia to find city pairs?
Won’t have this problem on Wikipedia