5 Ways to Score the Best Deal on Your Next Flight
When it comes to personal travel, airline tickets often represent a third or more of the cost of a vacation. Therefore, finding cheap flights quickly and reliably can ensure you make the most out of your PTO. Keep reading to find out more about some of the best resources to find and score deals for air travel.
What is Momondo? A flight, car and hotel search engine that presents results in a visually appealing manner. Momondo offers several different ways to search for airfares (by location, by budget, or by timeframe) which is great if you are flexible on destinations or dates.
How it works: As a search aggregator, it pulls in data from thousands of airlines and booking sites to show you the cheapest fares for your desired destination including small and budget airlines that won’t show up on other flight search websites (Southwest anyone?) The visual bar graph at the top of the search results shows if the dates of travel are more or less expensive than the surrounding dates. The flight results have a decent amount of information, including booking site, fare type, and prices for upgraded fare types if available.
Who this works for: Travelers who usually search for airfares through Expedia, Kayak, or similar websites. Momondo will have the same deals plus some that these other sites don't include. It’s also great if you simply want to explore travel destinations as their discover and trip finder tools are very robust and easy to use.
What is Skyscanner? A travel search website and phone app that includes flights, hotels, and car rentals. They are an independent search engine that provides links to the travel deals they find, rather than booking directly.
How it works: Once your desired trip information is entered, Skyscanner starts searching to find you the best price for the duration of travel. Due to the many sites they search, it can take a minute for all of the results to populate but your patience is usually rewarded with pretty good deals. Skyscanner also has the calendar view option so you can quickly scroll through months to see if leaving on a different date would have a significant impact on ticket prices. If you see a ticket result you would like to book, simply click on the link to be redirected to the direct booking site for that fare.
Who this works for: Travelers who are often searching for flight deals from their phone, the Skyscanner app provides an improvement over most travel sites' mobile websites.
What is Air Wander? A tool for finding extended layovers (stopovers) so travelers can add a short visit to a different destination on either end of their trip.
How it works: Simply enter your main trip details into the search fields click on the plus sign between airports.
Air Wander will populate results for possible stopover cities and how adding a stopover will affect the cost of your ticket.
You then simply click on your desired stopover city and Air Wander will search for a multi-city itinerary for you. Booking may require multiple tickets through different sites and airlines which does complicate the process a bit but can be worth it for the added adventure.
Who this works for: Travelers looking for stopover ideas and individuals curious about how a multi-city ticket affects overall ticketing price. The booking portion is a bit cumbersome, so some may prefer to use it as informational rather than a booking gateway.
What is Kiwi.com? A flight booking website that searches for the overall cheapest airfares by ignoring codeshares and considering multiple tickets from multiple airlines.
How it works: Instead of searching for a single ticket option to get you to your destination, Kiwi.com will look through all ticket options to find the cheapest possible combination. This may require some legwork be done during your layover such as picking up your luggage and checking-in with a different airline or even switching airports. Kiwi.com books the tickets for you and offers a guarantee regarding missed connections, schedule changes, and canceled flights.
Who this works for: Travelers who are willing to put in a little extra effort and have their trip take a little longer to have the ticket price meet their budget. With the Kiwi.com guarantee, this option isn’t as risky as attempting to do multi-airline tickets on your own.
What is Scott's Cheap Flights? An e-mail list for flight deals with a free or paid membership option.
How it works: When signing up for the email list on Scott's Cheap Flights, you select your preferred departure airports so you only get deals for airports you are likely to fly out from. Scott’s Cheap Flights' team searches to find flight deals and mistake fares then e-mails out that information to you.
The email includes the dates the fares are good for, what the usual price for the ticket is, which airlines are offering the discounted fare, and how long the team thinks the prices will last (so you know how speedy you need to be with booking.)
The free membership list doesn't get all the deals Scott's Cheap Flights team finds and doesn't receive e-mails as quickly so sometimes by the time you notice the deal in your inbox, it's already gone. Full access to the membership list will cost you about $39 but gets you all the deals as quickly as possible. Purchasing one ticket based on the e-mail alerts usually pays for the membership and then some.
Who this works for: Travelers who like to be spontaneous about where you travel, have flexible travel dates and love a good deal. If you think you will buy one flight based on the alerts sent by Scott’s Cheap Flights, then a premium membership is worth it but it's nice to know the free option is always there to get you started and see if the service is for you.
Bonus Tip: Use a travel rewards credit card
Airlines are partnering with some great credit card providers to offer you some impressive benefits for travel. I currently have the Platinum Delta Skymiles Amex card, which while it has a decent annual fee ($195) comes with some impressive perks, including an annual companion airfare ticket. Since we fly Delta several times a year, we earn that annual fee back in checked luggage fees plus get to fly home for the holidays for half price. If you apply for the card now, you'll save on the annual fee as membership is going up in 2020.
With these great resources, it's easy to find the best fare for your next flight. Using them in combination is recommended for the best results, so consider using both Momondo and Skyscanner to find the best fare for your next trip to visit your family. Try using Air Wander and Kiwi.com to add a stopover on your way to Europe. But most importantly, just keep traveling and adventuring!