Do I use them? Probably half the time. Which is best? That depends. Helpful, I know!
I like direct booking. I mean, why pay the middle man when you don’t have to? But online agencies do have their good points, and one of them has proven to be so much better than the others in my opinion that I use them almost exclusively.
I like Orbitz. They have the best user interface, the best fare matrix, and from what I’ve seen, the best ability to mix up fares from various carriers to get you the lowest overall price. If you’re a “wired” kind of guy like me with a bag full of cell phones, laptops, Palm Treos and whatever kind of gadget they make, Orbitz has from what I can tell, the best mobile connectivity of the online agencies as well. And all that goofy Orbitz TLC stuff that Wink Martindale advertises…. it’s worked for me. So… unless an airline is offering a whopping mileage bonus for using its website, I book with Orbitz. I like having all of my travel details (air, car and hotel) on one screen. Call me picky.