Non-US-centric travel search sites

This item appears on page 41 of the November 2012 issue.

ITN printed the following queries from Susan Jerrick of Portland, Oregon: “I spent 2½ useless hours on the phone with one of the best known of the Web search sites (e.g., Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, etc.). This made me stop and think, ‘What search sites do NOT favor American airlines but give foreign carriers equal billing with domestic airlines for flights anywhere in the world? What truly international search sites are there that provide a wider selection of flights from global lists of airlines?’ I also would welcome any insights into the limitations of search sites or into location-based screening.”

Here are a few responses from subscribers.

My first “go to” airline-search website is Vayama does not hit every airline, but it does have a wide spread.

When I needed to figure out how to get from Edinburgh to Stockholm recently, I thought I’d surely have to go through London, but Vayama found me Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (an airline I’d never heard of) and a direct flight.

The website will catch a few other lower-fare airlines that may be missed by Vayama.

Tamara Compton
Bellingham, WA

I’ve had great luck and repeatedly used I’ve booked a number of flights to Europe based on their search results, and I’ve always felt I got the best deal possible.

I double-check their results with

The two sites nearly always come up with the same results.

While I have had great results with for flights within the US, it simply doesn’t find the best deals for international travel. It’s the same with the other commonly used travel sites.

Joe E. Smith
Des Moines, IA

I’m a budget traveler and fly 90% by price and 10% by schedule. For a number of years, I’ve used The foreign airlines always seem to come up first with the best prices.

From the US, I’ve flown Swissair to Zürich, Austrian Airlines to Vienna, Lufthansa to Stockholm and Frankfurt (different trips) and TACA to Peru plus Royal Jordanian from Austria to Jordan and Air Baltic between Stockholm and Vilnius.

Coming into Los Angeles from central Mexico or South America, the cheaper foreign airlines often also have the best schedules. Too many airlines arrive between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Martha Jo Morehouse
Glendale, CA

The best search site for air travel anywhere in the world is The KVS Availability Tool provides flight schedules for all airlines for any two points in the world. It shows which airlines fly each route, the times, the types of aircraft and other information. Armed with this data, I simply go to the particular airline’s website and book e-tickets directly.

The KVS Availability Tool also is extremely useful if you are searching for frequent-flyer tickets, as it will show availability for the various airline alliances (One World, Star, etc.) on any flight. This has allowed me to find seats when agents on the phone couldn’t “see” them.

For the tool, there is an annual subscription fee in three levels, ranging from $35 to $75, but it will pay for itself on your first use if you are a world traveler. The levels allow for expanded features — showing aircraft seat maps, informing you of frequent-flyer seat availability on specific flights, etc.

Go to, and on the left-hand side of the screen you will see “Contribute Now.” This is where you choose your membership level and sign up. The site will then send you, via e-mail, the registration key you will need to download the program.

I would note that Internet Explorer does not “like” ActiveX programs like the KVS Availability Tool, hence Internet Explorer will ask you several times if you want to download the program. Of course, you do.

In May 2012, the KVS Availability Tool saved me several hundred dollars by finding me a good flight from Edinburgh to Stockholm.

Don McIver
Salem, SC

The KVS Availability Tool is a bit overwhelming in the amount of data it gives on flights and the ways if offers to sort the data. Engineers will love it.

For flights, I’d suggest these websites:, and

Note that these won’t include consolidator fares, for which I usually check

For multiple-city long-haul trips (three or more cities), it’s also worth taking a look at

For more off-the-beaten-track places, I look for the website of my destination’s airport to find out which airlines fly in.

Guidebooks such as Lonely Planet can be helpful, as can other travelers’ trip reports. A few years ago, that’s how I found out I could fly from Yerevan to Aleppo.

Kathy Wilhelm
Cary, NC

So many of the popular travel search sites feature US carriers, and some feature just certain ones.

For years, I have been using It has now been bought by Google and does not sell tickets; it just shows flights and info. There is always that one little airline, though, that is not listed on the site.

The best way to find out about all of the airlines flying out of a certain airport is to go to the Internet site of that airport. For example, New York’s LaGuardia Airport’s website will list the names of all of the airlines flying in and out of there.

You then go to an airline’s website and get prices, etc. It takes some work, but saving money lets you travel more!

Phyllis Mueller
San Jose, CA

On the subject of websites that offer impartial flight information, for many years I have used The site does not sell tickets, but it does list ALL carriers between cities worldwide on dates you select, giving all the details of any flight you’re interested in. It’s very easy to use.

Jay Hoffman
Huntington, NY