Using Wikipedia to book flights

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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.

imageLet 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.

image

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.

imageThanksgiving dates to Bermuda (15000 Avios or 10000 Amex points)

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.

imageRound trip Chicago to Montreal (15000 Avios or 10000 Amex points)

imageRound trip Chicago to Bentonville (9000 Avios or 6000 Amex points)

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?

image

Won’t have this problem on Wikipedia


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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. I did that previously, but found openflights to be much more intuitive and fast (though the information might not be 100 percent up to date at times).

  2. Using Avois for Bentonville is an amazing return. Flights can range up to $1000 roundtrip! But someone was going to Bentonville for pleasure not paid trip for work?

  3. I actually use it all the time to get an idea of what airlines serve airports that I’m not really familiar with. It helps me to plan connections more easily.

  4. I do this all the time! 😉 Wikipedia is quite accurate most of the time and stunningly quickly updated by some truly dedicated users (mostly aviation enthusiasts).

  5. Wow, glad to see I am not alone.

    @ Deals We Like – This was actually a personal booking! I want to check out the new Crystal Bridges Museum that just opened up.

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