As someone who travels fairly infrequently, I actually look forward to the process of booking a trip to faraway place. It’s always a good feeling to know that once I click the “Book Now” button, I will for sure have some vacation time away from work in the not-too-distant future.
In October I will be flying to New York City to take part in a wedding, but rather than the traditional booking process, I wanted to try it a bit differently by booking the trip exclusively from my Android phone. Enter Kayak Flight and Hotel Search, a feature-loaded, all-in-one travel management application that promises easy and convenient viewing/booking of airfare, hotels, and rental cars.
Kayak offers all of the following options:
- Ability to view and book flights, hotels, and car rentals
- Buzz, which graphs price trends based on departure date for flight routes
- Flight Tracking, powered by Flightstats
- Contact information and website links for all major airlines, as well as several minor ones
- Trip organization, including itinerary information, Google calendar and maps integration
- Pulls in flight/hotel/car rental information from hundreds of travel sites into one convenient location
My experience with Kayak for flight and hotel booking was very hit or miss. First, when searching for flights with flexible dates, it simply brought back a list of fares with times, but not dates. You have to click on the route itself to figure out what dates you are looking at.
A second annoyance was when I searched for flights, Kayak showed several fares on Midwest Airlines for $280. When I clicked “Book Now,” the fares on the website it took me to started at $350. Needless to say, this was an extremely frustrating process, and made me really want to just book the whole thing via the convenience of a PC.
Kayak does have some redeeming features however. First, the buzz feature that shows pricing trends for selected routes is really cook and shows how large a variation there is in pricing based on day of the week. Second, the fact that one app allows you to book flights, hotels, and rental cars is pretty awesome. Some websites don’t even offer that functionality, let alone cell phone apps. Finally, the ability to track flights right from the app is a nice-to-have add on.
What I Liked:
- No skimping on the features – this app has everything you could possibly want for booking travel
- Buzz price graphing/trending information
- Flight tracking
- Search feature is pretty good at figuring out what I was looking for
What I Didn’t
- Flight search results don’t include what the dates are when searching for flexible dates
- Sometimes the app either freezes or glitches out altogether, requiring a restart
- Other times the main screen buttons take you to what you were doing last instead of where you wanted to go next. For example, I clicked on Buzz, and it took me to the results from my flight search
- I had a couple of force closes in landscape mode
- Fares found on the app itself don’t match what is found online when you click “Book Now”
Final Verdict: Kayak has some pretty cool features, and is certainly worth a download to try it out yourself. I can’t see myself using this to book my entire trip, but would use it for some other things such as flight tracking and buzz and it serves as a good starting point when you’re starting to look into pricing for flights, hotels, and car rentals.
Kayak is currently in version 1.1.1 and can be found for free on the Android Market.