Welcome to our big flight search engine comparison. Here we put together some thoughts and reviews on the most common flight search engines. If you had different experiences or if miss your favourite flight search engine, send us a message or comment below the article. We will add your favourites to our flight search engine comparison.
Flight Search Engines
When it comes to choose your favourite flight search engine, personal preferences always play a big role. Some people prefer flight search engines with a cleaner user interface, while others need more comprehensive data or rare payment options. Whatever option you choose, try to think environmentally friendly. Avoid domestic flights when possible and be considerate of your own carbon footprint! If you need more information on how to book cheap flights, read our tutorial on how to book cheap flights all around the world.
The big “Travel for free” flight search engine comparison
There are many different flight search engines, which, often makes difficult to find the cheapest flights. Our comprehensive list of flight search engines will help you finding the best solution for your needs.
Since it’s impossible to know which site will provide the best price for your particular trip, we suggest you compare fares from a few sources before book a ticket.
Skyscanner is probably the most popular flight comparison engine for budget travelers today. It is very comfortable and allows to search with open criteria regarding the time and location of your future travels. It has a user friendly interface and a few great extra features.
Available in 32 languages and you can select your country and currency as well.
Their search engine covers more than 1200 airlines.
When you need inspiration to find your next cheap travel destination you can use the “Flexible Search” tool. It is very easy to use and can save you a lot of time. Just type the city you want to travel from and choose “Everywhere” as a destination. You will get a list of all destinations available starting from the lowest fares.
By using the “Cheapest month” feature you will be able to find flight prices per month and even for the whole year. Results are shown in a colour coded calendar or optionally in a price chart, simply enabling to choose cheapest dates to travel.
The Skyscanner has an amazing mobile app which offers a great user experience on the go to find flights easily and quickly.
It has a chinese version, called Tianxun.
From time to time discrepancies occur between the final flight price and the price shown on Skyscanner. This is a common problem for search engines due to the amount of data being processed. There are complains that Skyscanner is not the tool of choice, to book flights around East-Asia and South America due to inaccuracy of the data within. Less popular destinations tend to have the same or even higher prices on Skyscanner, than you would find in other flight search engines. Nonetheless, if you travel around Europe, Skyscanner will find cheaper flights in most of the cases, than any other flight search tool would
Unfortunately, Skyscanner is known by cooperating with a few not so trustworthy companies. Customers have filed numerous complaints for non refundable booking errors when purchasing flights. That is why we recommend to do your research before purchasing a ticket and book only with a reputable companies.
If the name Momondo does not sound familiar you are not alone. It might be a lesser known meta-search engine but the flights found by their algorithm are consistently the cheapest.
The best website to find the best flight prices almost every time.
Momondo searches over 1000 airlines including small, budget airlines and lesser-known airlines as as well.
You can sign up to “Fare alerts”and get an email notifications when the the price drops on the selected dates and routes.
The calendar graph feature shows results for a wide range of time (3 weeks), which helps you visualize the best dates to travel.
The “Flight Inside” feature provides an overview of information about your route, the cheapest and the most expensive fares by time and date, airports and other factors that affect the price. This is an amazingly useful tool for cheap flight hunters!
The “Trip Finder” option allows you to set search by budget, destination, continent, or month and get a variety of search results. By entering your preferred dates, departure airport and “Anywhere” in the destination field and Momondo, similarly to Skyscanner, will feed you with travel ideas.
There is a mobile app available, as well, offering all the Momondo features optimized for mobile use.
Rarely, but it can happen it does not show the best prices for a particular flight.
Sometimes the cheapest tickets may be sold by a small online travel agency (OTA). While most of these OTAs are perfectly legit businesses it is important to read the terms and conditions about any change or cancellation fees.
Google’s own flight search engine is definitely one of the best options when it comes to finding cheap flights and good deals. If you haven’t tried it yet, we warmly recommend you to give it a shot next time you are about to book cheap flights.
Google Flights is darn quick. It combines the IATA Software database with Google’s search algorithms resulting in a fast and accurate flight search aggregator.
It lets you search for flights across multiple airports (in one city) with only one query.
The “Explore Map” feature allows you to discover all destinations where you can fly from one particular city. Or in other cases you can select two cities and see when the flights are the cheapest and how price trends are changing over time.
The user experience and the search speed are exceptionally good on both desktop and mobile.
It is able to track prices and send you notifications about changes based on primarily set parameters.
Fares can be displayed in calendar view. Filters are highly customizable and in case the information is available the results will show various amenities (services, Wi Fi, seats etc.) included.
Google Flights, using live flight tracking, can predict flight delays, which is one of its most outstanding feature. It also integrates well with your other Google products and your calendar.
Occasionally offers poor results in terms of prices. Therefore it is always recommended to compare prices on others platforms as well.
Owned by KAYAK, targeted to an audience which is looking for the cheapest flight options. It has a very intuitive and easy to use interface which makes searching flights fun and simple.
Cheapflights is a speedy flight search aggregator and it is very easy to navigate on the website.
The flight prices are always accurate and they include all additional fees so you won’t get surprised once redirected to the booking sites. Furthermore, it avoids collecting too much data, this way you don’t have to scroll through a lot of useless and often confusing information.
It offers a wide range of travel deals thanks to partnering up with several hundreds of travel companies.
It is not the “cheapest” airfare compare site on the market. Other flight search engines like Momondo are better at filtering out the best prices.
Sometimes the listed deals aren’t real. This means that the (seemingly very convenient) price shown on Cheapflights website is not the actual price of the flight ticket. While this is not a unique problem, it can be quite annoying. We suggest you always double check the offers and compare fares using other sources.
Kayak is one of the most well known and most popular flight search tools, offering solid performance and a couple of great features when it comes to find the best prices.
Just like Google Flights, KAYAK uses the ITA Matrix software to find the best combinations and fares.
It is really fast at displaying results, however, it is slower than Google Flights.
It shows you the Basic Economy and Main Cabin fare in the same search result box which is a big advantage when you are comparing prices.
Flexible search (shows results 3 days before and after your set dates) is available including a comprehensive set of customizable search filters.
It is also possible to set flight alerts to keep tabs on prices.
“Hacker Fares” is a certain airfare matchmaker which is able to find two one-way tickets that together make a return flight that can result to be a lot cheaper than flying with a round-trip on one airline. These options don’t always appear in search results of other websites.
Mobile app is available.
KAYAK might be less appealing when you have a specific flight in mind and it works better with flexible dates.
Doesn’t really works well with secondary cities and itineraries. Especially around Europe, Africa and the more western parts of Asia you will find Kayak incredibly expensive. When you are traveling to or from the United States Kayak is still one of the best flight comparison tools around.
If you are a true budget traveler you may consider this option to really fly for the best possible price. While we will dedicate a full article to this particular topic, let me briefly sum up what it is about.
“Skiplagging” is a travel hack where you can save (a lot) on airfare by booking a ticket through the place you actually want to go, and get off there. Let’s say you would like to go to San Francisco but the flights are too expensive, but flights fromNew York to Seattle via San Fransisco are really cheap. You’d just book a ticket to Seattle with a layover in San Francisco, and get off in San Francisco. Sounds easy, right!? Although this type of traveling can be tricky and it also raises a couple of ethical questions.
Now, let’s see about the Skiplagged aggregator.
Skiplagged is able to find incredibly cheap deals when searching for the cheapest flights in economy class.
It finds inefficiencies in airline pricing, such as hidden-city, which can’t be find anywhere else.
Nevertheless, Skiplagged is able to find the cheapest regular flights, so it is still worth run search there, even if you aren’t considering skiplagging as a travel option.
If you skiplag you cannot tell about it to anyone, especially airlines.
Bookings of sort only work one way.
If you miss a flight while skiplagging, the rest of your reservation will be cancelled.
You only can take a carry-on luggage with you and you have to make sure that you don’t break any safety or weight rules. If your luggage has to be checked in it will carry on without you.
While skiplagging isn’t illegal it can upset the airlines and it can be unethical against your fellow travelers.
Adioso completes the idea of saving money through traveling with a flexible schedule. It can search for cheap flights within weekly, monthly or anytime period with just a few clicks.
Adioso lets you search by natural language instead of by checking options. You don’t need an exact destination or dates to find flights.
You can search not only ba cities/airports but, by countries, continents, states and even see where are your Friends traveling. Same with dates. You can not only give specific dates but but days, weeks and months as well.
They put together a very neat selection of destinations called “Wanderlists” to inspire your next travel based on the things you are interested in, fAor example the The Best Backpacking Destinations, Best cities for Art Lovers, Best Music Festivals, Best Beaches in the World etc.
The airlines, Adioso compares, are mostly the bigger and more established airlines, therefore it is hard to find the best price here. However, it generates good ideas on when is the best time to travel to a particular destination.
There isn’t a single perfect flight search engine for everyone. When you are looking for cheap flights, never skip the research and always compare prices on at least two different flight search websites.
Different sites have different features and capabilities. Once you determine which site is the most adequate to your special needs depending on your trip you can start running a few searches. And never forget to check the airlines’ own websites for more information. While booking via OTAs can be cheaper it is trickier to compare fare options on a particular flight.
Still, there is a lot of more tools to use, for example flight deal websites. Traveling cheap often means to be flexible about the times of your journeys. Please give us your thoughts on this article here in the comments or join Travel For Free on facebook.