Least Expensive Airfare to Four Continents

Least expensive air travel from Omaha to four continents - Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.


Outline

  1. Ground rules
  2. Method
  3. Influence of travel dates
  4. Least expensive round-trip to Europe
  5. Least expensive round-trip to Asia
  6. Least expensive round-trip to South America
  7. Least expensive round-trip to Africa
  8. Sum total of all three airfares

Ground rules

This is somewhat of a competition. I give extra points for the person with the least total airfare to all of these continents. All airfares must be roundtrip from Omaha, and must for be a three-week period from now until Sept. 1. It can be two different airlines, in which case you would present two different graphic files. The timing must be such that you can make the connection. Provide at least 3 hours. If the connection has you spending the night at the airport, you must include the cost of a hotel.

Generally, the least expensive fares to these destinations are from coastal cities in the US, like LA and New York. In order to get the lowest fare, you need to find the least expensive coastal city and the least expensive flight from Omaha to that city. Sites like Kayak and Expedia won't do this automatically. There may be some ground transportation involved in transferring to a nearby airport. Include the ground transportation cost and associated graphics. Bigger cities have multiple airports so don't get confused. New York, for example, has five airports: JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, White Plains, and Newburgh. Only three offer international flights. The cheapest flights are often from the smaller airports that charge a lesser fee for landing.

You don't need to check luggage but you do need to include a carry-on bag.

Prices vary widely during this period. They also vary by day of the week. You must present screenshots of the airfare with sufficient detail to verify the dates, connections, and price - including taxes. Use only commercial airlines - you can't use military aircraft or family connections with commercial companies. The flight leaves from Omaha – you can't drive to another city.

Method

Week One

I used Expedia, Kayak and Student Universe to do some initial searching for this project. I had problems using some of the features of each of these websites with my screen reading program. However, the biggest problem with using any of these websites with my screen reader is that it is nearly impossible to do the kind of comparisons required by this project when you can’t see the screen and have to rely on a computer program to read it to you, especially when the computer program has no idea what you are looking for. Also, each of the sites uses pop ups, especially for ads, so much that it becomes a huge distraction, as the screen reader does not easily exit from them.

I then tried Google Flights, which is somewhat easier to navigate with a screen reading program. It also permits continent destination searches required by the assignment. Even with these easier features, it would have been very time consuming to search and compare using just the screen reader. For example, the calendar price comparison feature, is very difficult to use with a screen reader. So I had my Dad help me compare flights, reading the information I needed, and ignoring the rest. (A screen reader reads everything.)

Using Google Flights, we searched for the lowest priced round-trip flights using Omaha as a departure and each of the four continents as a destination. We set the trip at 21 days, and then compared the prices for the lowest four or five cities for each continent in detail.

Week Two

Instead of using Google Flights, I used Matrix Airfare search, which is the software program on which Google Flights is based. This program lets you search multiple destinations. We were able to find a web source for all the airports in each continent, so we copied and pasted those lists into the destination box. The program searches 21 day trips beginning on any day in the one month period beginning on any date you choose, so I had to do six separate searches for each departure city for each continent.

For each continent, I searched with Omaha as a departure first, then I searched for departures from other cities that might be inexpensive to that continent (like New York, Dallas and Los Angeles). If I found inexpensive flights from those cities, I then tried to match them with inexpensive connecting flight from Omaha.

Once again, I had my dad help—without the help from a sighted person, this assignment would have been impossiuble.

Influence of travel dates and cities

Week One

Because I used Google Flights, I did not experiment with different travel dates, and I selected the lowest-priced cities that showed up on the first search to compare.

I wanted to do some comparison of the Google Flights results with results from other websites, but I did not allow enough time to do that, and hope to be able to do it next week.

Week Two

In all of the flights I picked, the combinations of flights in February and March were usually cheaper, because they were not in the summer travel season. There were also usually cheaper flights on Tuesday than any other day of the week.

With my week two searches, I found that it was usually cheaper to search for flights from one of the other cities than to search from Omaha. I didn’t intend for this to happen, but using the Matrix search gave me different arrival and departure cities in each continent (like Beijing and Shanghai), which was cheaper. Since the purpose of the trip was travel within the continent, I thought this should be okay.

Least expensive round-trip from Omaha to Europe

I found this flight during Week One. When I searched during Week Two, the flights were much more expensive. Searching for flights to Europe in Week Two, I also found that flights differed depending on which day you searched—I found cheaper flights on Friday than I did on Thursday.

Least expensive round-trip from Omaha to Asia

My best price in Week One was 665.45, which included an overnight hotel stay. In Week Two I found a cheaper flight.

Week One

 

Week Two

 

Least expensive round-trip from Omaha to South America

Week One

Week Two

Least expensive round-trip from Omaha to Africa

Week One

Week Two

 

 

Sum total of all four airfares

Europe: $467.23

Asia: $661

South America: $701

Africa: $916 (includes $34 for airport shuttle)

Total price: $2745.23 (was $2844.65 after week One)


Submitted by Leah Johnson on February 15, 2019