I have finally been able to book my tickets to Singapore and this was after having worked on it for over a couple of months, trying to research and get the best deal. I went through various travel sites (India based) and airline websites. The online travel booking experience was a big disappointment, to say the least. Some of the airline sites did not allow me to book an e-ticket for various reasons, this included Sahara and Thai Airways. I was hoping to get the best deal, as I was booking well in advance, especially from Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines (which should have logically had a special fare for participants to the marathon!!).
Coming to the online travel sites, some of which allow you to book online and others direct you to an offline travel agency. The offline agency told me that the fares for November had not been opened by Thai Airways and the only way to book so many months in advance would be through their website. After a lot of hunting, I finally decided to book it last week through the Thai Air website (the reason I chose Thai, was because I wanted a day's stopover on my return to shop for things, so being the national carrier of Thailand, logically it would give the best deal for a Singapore trip via Bangkok) and to my horror I found that the fares had gone upto 25.5K (INR) from a 22k a couple of weeks back. This is when I decided to press the panic button. I took the help of a friend who happened to be a veteran in the offline travel space, to help get me a good deal on the Singapore trip via Bangkok through his travel company. And within an hour he was able to get me a fair of 18.5K on a major Airline which had its hub in Singapore (with a Bangkok stopover), which makes the deal even more special.
The conclusion I have come to after this experience – the online travel websites based in India do not have the skill sets or the technology or bulk buying capability or something else, to be able to give you the best deal on international travel. And the official website of international airlines does not give you the best ticket deal either.
Your best chance of getting the best ticket deal is to use your offline travel agent, preferably someone who is very big – SOTC, Thomas Cook, etc, as the volume of tickets which they buy for say South East Asia or Europe (plus their tie-up with a particular Airline), helps get the best deal for you (but they might insist on you booking your hotels through them, to make it worth their while).