This article is from the Europe FAQ, by Yves Bellefeuille email@example.com with help from Martin Rich M.G.Rich@city.ac.uk.
The group rec.travel.europe doesn't specialize in air travel; see
rec.travel.air instead. In particular, see the Airline Ticket
Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ, by Edward Hasbrouck, at
http://hasbrouck.org/faq/, for information on why on-line sources are
rarely useful to find discounted international fares.
In October 2000, the US magazine _Consumer Reports Travel Letter_
checked the prices offered by Cheaptickets, Expedia, Lowestfare and
Travelocity for several intra-US routes. It concluded that "none of the
four web sites consistently offered complete and fair listings of all
viable flights", and that it was often possible to get a better fare
from a travel agent.
Some users have recommended the Association of Special Fare Agents,
http://www.asfa.net/. This FAQ can't make any specific recommendations,
but feel free to write if you're satisfied or dissatisfied with this
service or any other.
Within Europe, you will also find that some low-cost airlines, such as
EasyJet, http://www.easyjet.com/, and Ryanair, http://www.ryanair.com/,
don't use agents. If you want to travel on one of these airlines, book
directly using their web site.