Poll: International Travelers Don't Know Where to Find Best Airfare Prices

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Research shows small, independent websites have best prices 85 percent of the time.

Travelers searching for the best prices on international airfare are mistakenly turning to large travel websites like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Cheaptickets, a new poll released today showed. In fact, 85 percent of the lowest fares available come from small, independent discount travel websites.

In a survey conducted by Lessno.com, four of ten respondents said they turned to the big travel websites to book cheap international flights. Twenty-nine percent said they thought they could find the best prices directly from airlines. The other two options, independent discount travel websites and large travel meta-search engines like Kayak and Sidestep, received 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The poll of 205 people was conducted on August 11th, at Ask500.com.

The research shows a very different reality. In fact, a large majority (85 percent) of the best prices on international airfare comes from small, independent discount travel websites. The difference in cost is often remarkable: prices found on these websites are typically between $20 and $100 lower per ticket, with all fees and taxes included.

Buying direct from airline websites is the cheapest option about five percent of the time, and big travel websites such as Orbitz and Expedia are the cheapest 10 percent of the time. Since meta-search engines already feature prices from both airlines and some large websites, they are most likely to show the best prices when they also include small, independent websites in their airfare search results.

"What we're seeing in the air travel industry, and the online air travel websites in particular, is consolidation that is eliminating competitive pricing and contributing to the increase in airfares," said Stanley Gyoshev, co-founder of Lessno.com and associate professor of finance at University of Exeter. "Many of the large travel websites and travel meta-search engines are owned by the same investors and have exclusivity agreements with each other. This is an unfair game for travelers."

"Those who know a little more about how to find the best deal will look to independent websites like CheapoAir.com, Airfare.com, FarePath.com, and Lessno.com to get the best prices on air travel," continued Gyoshev. "This is especially important in a tough economy, and the impact has been clear - the larger sites are seeing a decrease in international air travel bookings and we at Lessno.com have not experienced any downturn whatsoever."

In compiling this research, Lessno.com looked at airfares available online from eight major U.S. cities to major destinations in Europe and Asia. The research was conducted on August 11th, for air tickets departing September 2nd and returning September 9th.

Lessno.com is dedicated to offering the fairest fares on international flights and hotels through its partnership with more than 75 major and low-cost airlines around the world. Lessno.com's discount fares are available directly through the website or through one of the company's distribution partners, which include Wego.com, Kelkoo.com, Mobissimo.com or Liligo.com. Lessno.com is a founding member of the Council for Online Fairness in Airfare (COFA).

About Lessno.com:
Lessno™ is an innovative online travel agency providing wholesale prices to the retail consumer. The company leverages the advanced technology of EZ search to bring lowest possible air fare prices to its site. The patented search technology of EZ search makes finding these airfares fast and simple and saves our customers time and money. For more information, visit Lessno.com.

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Scott Zilber
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