What’s The Best Flight Search Site?

The question I get asked all the time is, “Does it really matter which one I use?”

In a word, yes. Let me explain.

Comparison shopping is important, and it can save you money and time. Here’s a sample search for one person flying from Denver to London Tuesday September 25 returning Saturday October 6 2018. I’m just showing the first two results from each site, based on lowest price.

Here’s what Expedia gave me.

Next, I tried Kayak.

Skyscanner gave me these results.

Finally, Momondo showed me these.

In each case, the lowest price is from Norwegian Airlines, but why such a difference in prices? Momondo and Kayak found the lowest price by going directly to Norwegian Airlines, and clicking on their links will take you right to the airline’s site. Skyscanner and Expedia send you to online travel agencies (OTA). All will send you to OTAs if that’s the lowest price. FYI-  Expedia also owns Orbitz and Travelocity, meaning they all give you the same results.

OTAs can save you substantial sums of money because the airlines block out a certain number of seats and allocate them to the OTAs, often at cheaper prices than what the airline is quoting. Many of these OTAs have been in business for decades and are generally very reputable. But, and this is a big one, if there is a problem, the airlines will not necessarily help you out because you booked through an OTA, and will tell you to talk to whoever you bought the ticket through. Scott’s Cheap Flights has put together an excellent FAQ that will answer any OTA questions. There are many other factors affecting air fares that I won’t get into here.

I prefer Momondo and Skyscanner because between them I can find the cheapest flights. You can find both on the Zoonie flight search page here. I use the flight searches to find the cheapest price, and then go to the airline’s site to make the actual booking. You can usually, but not always, find the same price on the airline’s site.

One other site I like is Skiplagged which was sued by United Airlines (they lost) for disclosing cheap prices that the airline did not want to reveal. If price is the most important thing, and you don’t mind spending three days to get to a destination, Skiplagged can often find you some incredible deals using what’s called hidden cities. There’s an explanation on the site, and it’s fun to noodle around on there. Go to Skiplagged here.

Frommers did an in depth comparison of 10 search sites which you can read here. They ranked Momondo and Skyscanner first and second respectively.

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