Fareboom is yet another travel website promising to find you great deals on air fare. Like many travel search and booking sites, it scours a wide variety of airlines to look for low prices on travel based on either dates you set or a more flexible agenda. Fareboom sets its sights only on flights—despite a tab proclaiming “Hotels,” which sweeps you onto another site, which turns out to be owned by the same parent company (though that relationship isn’t exactly apparent).
The best travel sites on the Internet already offer the same service, though, and they include many other aspects of travel that make them more comprehensive in helping you plan a trip. Fareboom just doesn’t do justice to the whole travel planning process. Its emphasis on airfare holds it back from being a true competitor with the best of the best, notably Kayak and Orbitz.
Fareboom is similar in some ways to Google Flights, which also only tackles air travel, except that Fareboom offers booking, whereas Google Flights only looks for prices. When it comes time to lay down a credit card, Google Flights pushes you to the airline’s website to make the purchase. Fareboom, on the other hand, will take your payment for you. But the value of Google Flights is more in doing a quick and dirty search to get a sense of the cost of a flight, not necessarily to book it (in my mind, anyway). And it is fast! On Fareboom, however, takes a bit longer to enter your search and look through possible options.
Fareboom searches for flights based on best value, lowest price, shortest time, and number of stops (layovers). The way the page is laid out, you have to move between tabs to get to these various sections and see the options. On Google Flights, the results update beneath the search box as you’re searching. I can’t stress how fast it is. Google Flights also shows a graph depicting days when your particular flight will cost more or less. Fareboom lets you select flexible dates but doesn’t have a graph or other visuals that make the data easier to digest at a glance.
When alternative dates with lower prices are available, Fareboom offers the option to pull up that information, which is a nice touch. But the site lacks so many other travel planning tools that, in the end, it just isn’t all that helpful in planning a trip.
A new feature, called Farecruncher, looks for flight deals from your home airport to locations all over the world, and then shows you the possibilities on a map with prices. But this isn’t a novel feature, cool as it may be. The “explore” option on Kayak does the same thing.
Hotels and car rentals are the two big missing pieces on Fareboom. While the site has a tab for hotels, it doesn’t actually offer search and reservation booking because when you click the hotel tab, a whole other site opens (Best Travel Store International). Best Travel Store is also the name of the company behind the hotel site, and it’s the same parent company of Fareboom. But as a user, being whisked off one site and onto another to make travel plans that are not just related but entirely reliant on one another, well, it’s not a pleasant experience.
The lack of hotel offers may seem trivial to some, but the fact of the matter is other travel websites, Orbitz in particular, typically offer significant deals on hotels when you add them to a flight purchase. If you need to book both a flight and hotel, your best bet for finding a bargain is to book them together. With Fareboom, you miss out entirely. It’s also just less convenient in terms of planning to do the two transactions separately.
You also won’t find on Fareboom car rentals, vacation packages, cruises, or anything else. Fareboom really only focuses on flights. Even its “deals” section looks for flight deals, not vacation package deals.
Given the competition, Fareboom isn’t a site I’d recommend using for booking flights or for even looking up prices. For a quick price-check, use Google Flights. For searching for more comprehensive travel plans, PCMag’s Editors’ Choice is Kayak. Orbitz is a very close second, with its own strong suits (vacation packages and a loyalty program for hotel booking). Fareboom provides some of the services that Kayak and Orbitz offer, but it falls short on so much else that it isn’t really helpful.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc