Finding the cheapest and not the longest flight itinerary at the same time is always a challenge for a travel lover like me. That is why through years of traveling I have discovered, researched and tested lots and lots of flight comparison websites. This is the ultimate list of the best flight search websites out there I have created to make overcoming this challenge easier for you and me. To me one of them is a clear winner beating other flight comparison websites almost every time. No worries, I will reveal it in the article below. However it’s always best to double check all the sites from the list before booking since others can sometimes offer better results.
Hipmunk is on this list for a great user experience and not because of the lowest fares, since it doesn’t exactly have the lowest prices comparing to other flight searching websites. A creative and humorous (10 points for the title) feature Hipmunk offers is its Agony filter – instead of sorting flights just by price Hipmunk sorts them by level of agony – a combination of price, number of stops and duration. Even though we seek for great deals the lowest price at any cost is not what a smart budget traveler would choose when the there is an option that offers 7 hours shorter flight by adding just 10 USD to the price. I don’t know about you but I think I would spend more for a sandwich and coffee waiting those hours in an airport, so it’s definitely worth it to go with the a little bit more expensive option. What Hipmunk does is it shows you the best deals and hides the alternatives so you can scroll through a few good offers instead of tens of pages of almost identical itineraries. Other reason for choosing Hipmunk as your flight comparison website is its unique graphic display of results where you can clearly see and compare the relative flight lengths, times, layovers and wifi availability of all the options.
- Great display of results;
- Agony filter for the ones willing to pay more and cut some of the agony of long layovers;
- Price graph to see lowest fares for a certain destination for the next 90 days
- Doesn’t have the lowest prices comparing to other flight comparison websites
A friend of mine (also a frequent traveler) recently introduced me to Kiwi. I was quite surprised I haven’t used it before. Anyway it generates some really good results when it comes to finding low prices. However I noticed that it generates better results to some destinations than others. Unfortunately for some of the destinations its best (lowest price) result is even 100+ USD more expensive than other sites like Momondo for example. A place for improvement here. My advice – don’t forget to check other flight comparison websites when searching through options on Kiwi. I think the best feature of Kiwi what differentiates it from other flight search engines is the guarantee they provide covering cases of flight delays, cancellations, and schedule changes. In these cases Kiwi will offer an alternative flight or refund the price of your unused ticket. Yes, knowing this removes a lot of stress when booking through online travel agencies and not knowing if you won’t end up without a seat in a plane and no refund for all the inconveniences in your account.
- Guarantee in case of flight delay, cancellation and schedule changes;
- Has Anywhere filter;
- Interactive world map on the right side of the website showcasing best prices nearby;
- For some destinations shows great best price results
- For some destinations it can’t compete with other flight search engines
KAYAK is one of the most famous flight comparison websites out there. It is one of the top flight search engines when it comes to finding the best price. KAYAK has some great filters and also a comprehensive price graph of a whole month to compere the best price of a fare – this is perfect when your travel time is flexible.
- Fare alert emails;
- Shows a price graph of a whole month and half of a next one when you choose “Month” on the date search box (good if your dates are flexible);
- Good lowest fare results;
- Multicity mode
- There are quite a few reviews saying they manipulate prices and that prices change after entering the booking website
A good old classics Skyscanner may be one of the dinosaurs of the cheap flight comparison websites out there but it still offers some of the lowest fares. Even though it doesn’t always show THE best result regarding price it is trustworthy and that is an important characteristic when it comes to putting your vacation savings in the game.
- Over the years it has built a trust in customers (lots of great reviews from content customers);
- Can see the whole month of fares if your travel dates are flexible;
- Even better – choose “cheapest month” to find some really good deals;
- Choose “Everywhere” as your destination and explore the cheapest options to go to from your location;
- Get fare alert emails
- Doesn’t always find the lowest price out there
In few words Skiplagged is a brilliant website to help you find the cheapest airfare by using a commonly know travel hacking trick called Hidden city ticketing – it means you can fly cheaper by getting off at an airline’s stopping point while en route to the actual destination. Yes, it is true that sometimes direct short, regional flight can be more expensive than to travel from one coast to the other with one or more stopovers. Here is an example – you can buy a ticket from Pitsburgh to Boston and when you arrive at the stopover in Newark, New Jersey, which is where you actually want to go, just leave the airport without continuing the flight to Boston. And save a fortune because a direct ticket to Newark would cost half as much. Brilliant, isn’t it? Not so fast, there are a few catches you need to be aware of. First of all, do not check or gate-check any bags. Those will continue all the way up to the final destination, only you won’t be there to receive them. Only hand luggage is a way to go. However even carry-on bags can be at risk. If a flight attendant gate-checks your bag, you’ll have to do without your belongings. Other advice is to avoid getting miles posted to your frequent flyer account, there is chance your frequent flyer account would be invalidated for missing the flight. And one more major thing to keep in mind – if there are bad weather conditions in the stopover (your real destination) and possibly other circumstances a re-routing can happen – in this case airline has the responsibility to get you to “your final destination”, which is the one on the ticket not the stopover you want to get off. Overall I think this a great opportunity for those on budget however you have to be extremely cautious of all the things listed above and yes, there is a risk, using this method.
- Amazingly low fares using “Hidden city method”;
- Often competitive or better results than other search engines provide for non-Hidden city routes as well;
- Has Anywhere filter
- Not the best display of search results – for a roundtrip you can see return options only when have selected from the long list of departure;
- There is a chance you would end up without your belongings or even worst – in different location than what was your real destination, when using Hidden city option;
- You have to be careful of low cost carriers when booking with Skiplagged, they can add a ridiculous amount of baggage fees later on
This is the most controversial of the flight comparison websites I have heard off. From outstanding reviews and satisfied customers to people saying – It’s a scam! So why did I put it on the list? First of all, it offers some really competitive results, often better that other flight search sites, also it has a great Mobile app where you can easily find some delicious deals as well as explore the world map and decide where to go, if you don’t have any particular destination on your mind. For this reason and regarding all the satisfied customers (it has 10k ratings with score 4.7 out of 5 in App Store!) I decided to put Jetradar on the list. Keep in mind that Jetradar is a search engine, they do not sell tickets directly, they only search through more than 1000 airlines and online travel agencies to provide you with best deal out there. That is why you should stay cautious as always when traveling and research reviews and legitimacy of the travel agency Jetradar will take you to. Those agencies can be legit and unfortunately some of them may turn out to be a scam, so double check before you book your flight. Other than that – enjoy the excellent deals!
- Mobile app has Explore mode – a map to see great fares all over the world;
- Multicity mode;
- Competitive low prices
- Not all travel agencies Jetradar works with are reliable
And finally hands down my number one – Momondo. Yes, there are times when other flight comparison websites have better offers, especially in specific cases – hidden city fares, specific routes, times when I don’t have any specific destination and some of the websites offer outstanding deal etc. However in 90% cases I end up choosing Momondo. It is reliable, has excellent results when it comes to finding lowest prices, has beautiful, comprehensive website and a user friendly app. These are just some reasons I choose Momondo over and over again.
- Some of the best low price deals in the market;
- User friendly website and app;
- Multicity mode
- I Have recently noticed disturbing ads of significantly more expensive options at the top of search results, that can be misleading – makes you think it’s the cheapest option although it’s far from it;
- Not the fastest flight comparison website
This website is not really on the list since it has a big room for improvements. However I just couldn’t resist sharing this with you and here is why. I am from Europe and this site – even though it has an ugly website that looks like under construction, (pretty much because it is quite new and unknown to the masses; it even doesn’t have an app yet) – generates best results when it comes to searching flights between European cities. I take my words back about my number one flight comparison website being Momondo when it comes to traveling through Europe. AZair does offer flight searches around Europe, Mediterranean and Asia however when I researched some destinations like Bali for example it always showed “No results were found given parameters”. As I said – improvement needed. However thumbs up for the European flights. The prices are significantly lower than elsewhere. And we have personally tried their services, everything works, it’s a legit site. One more thing I like about them are their unique and useful filters no one else has like the stopover time range, specific departing and returning days of a week and option to depart to or return to not the same airport. According to the website the purpose of creating this search engine is to serve the needs for today’s travelers who doesn’t always want to travel in specific dates or to certain countries. You only need to know for how many days approximately do you want to travel (if both ways), in which period (e.g. “in July or August”) and to which destination or region (e.g. “Mediterranean coast”, “Southern Spain” or “Greek islands”). AZair then combines all available connections including those between different carriers and gives you the overview of cheapest options. Of course the downside is it doesn’t guarantee anything. However it doesn’t have to – it’s nothing more than a search engine who takes you to the website of an airline you can a book a ticket with. Your contract and therefore the complaints are with the airline not the AZair.
- Best fares in Europe;
- Great filters with lots of options;
- You can search best fares of a region if you don’t have specific country in mind;
- You can find best time to travel, if your travel dates are flexible
- Doesn’t cover a lot of destinations;
- Very basic website;
- Doesn’t have an app;
- Doesn’t guarantee anything, is says on the website that it has no reliability for any damages;
- Slow, especially when searching multiple destinations;
This is my ultimate list of cheap flight comparison websites and apps based on research, my experience and customer reviews. I hope it will be useful to you too. What is your number one flight search engine? Let me know in the comment selection below.