Hey again all!
A couple of my friends and I are getting the chance to study in Hilo, Hawaii for a semester next year and I've already started looking ahead for flights. We'd probably leave either January 2nd or 3rd at the absolute latest because our Orientation stuff starts the week of the 4th, so I already know the fares are going to be higher than usual. But, sites like Travelocity and Kayak and Orbitz are giving me some trouble with a couple of things. Firstly, layovers are a headache because some are too long and some are too short and I don't know how I can control that other than sift through a few hundred itineraries, all of which have something wrong with them that's driving me crazy. Also, I was wondering if it'd be cheaper and easier for us to just purchase tickets via different airlines, though not just from the websites I mentioned above (I had an idea of going from Pittsburgh or Philly to the west coast on Southwest or AirTran and then getting other flights from there, but they don't let you book that far in advance and as far as I know you can't use those other sites with them).
Here's what I want to know:
1. Is there a way (preferably a website of some sort) that lets me choose flights one segment at a time? That way we can plan the layovers to be at least 2 to 3 hours minimum so we can have a leisurely stroll through the airport and I can take pictures of EVERYTHING.
2. Assuming we do, say, fly Southwest to the West Coast then something else to Hawaii then get a cheap Hawaiian flight from Honolulu to Hilo, would we have to go get our bags, re-check-in with the other airlines, and go through security and such over and over again?
3. Would it be better/easier for us to just do this through a travel agency? I'd really prefer not to do that, I want to do this myself, but if it's just impossible without the connections I'll deal.
I feel like I should know all of this stuff, but alas I'm not sure enough about it and I'd like to get advice from the aviation community as a whole. Thanks in advance for any responses!