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Eager to get the best flight deals for your trip without having to spend hours of your time and energy trawling the internet? These top flight booking sites were designed to do just that, delivering smart and low-cost flights to your desktop or mobile screen to help you find the best flight for your trip.
Whether you’re keen to save money, looking for an irresistible flight deal, or trying to find the most efficient yet cost-effective way to get to a particular destination, these flight search sites scour the web to find you the best options according to your preferences, often within a matter of seconds.
Flight Booking Sites
1. Book Directly on Airline Websites
Probably one of the easiest ways of booking a flight is by directly visiting the airline’s website. This is a great option if you tend to travel with the same few airlines and even more so if you subscribe to a frequent flyer program.
Most airlines have promotions when you create an account or pay an annual membership subscription, so you can often book cheaper flights. Depending on the airline website, you may even have more customization options than you would have by booking on an OTA.
Naturally, the ability to earn frequent flyer miles is also a huge draw when it comes to booking directly on airline websites. Airlines commonly form alliances, and by being a member of that alliance and booking directly with those airlines you can amass miles that can help you get considerable discounts and upgrades in the future.
The downside of sticking to the airline websites is that you will have more limited results in terms of departure and arrival airports, and you may miss out on cheaper options. Online Travel Agent Sites (OTAs) allow you to mix and match flights with different airlines, hence getting the cheapest fares.
Search Aggregators and Online Travel Agent Sites (OTAs)
Skyscanner is a search aggregator that allows you to compare flights from virtually all airlines, including low-cost ones. The search engine has several useful features, including a wide range of filters that allow you to customize your search. You can filter for direct flights only, preferred departure and arrival times, trip duration, or even greener flights if you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint.
A great feature of Skyscanner is it allows you to find cheap flights with the lowest fares by searching for flights from an entire country rather than a specific city. Furthermore, if you are not interested in a specific destination, you can even search flights to “anywhere” and get inspired or simply book the cheapest flight.
As a search aggregator, Skyscanner only facilitates the bookings. Once you’ve made your choice, you will get a list of OTAs where you can book your flight, plus the link to the airline website. You’ll even be able to see which OTA provides the best price before checking the link.
3. Google Flights
If you want to find the cheapest flights and have flexible travel dates, Google Flights is a great option. As a search aggregator, it only allows you to find flights but not book directly on the platform. However, the simple and intuitive interface is ad-free and very easy to use.
A great feature of Google Flights is the interactive map that shows you the cheapest fares from your chosen departure city. Just zoom in to the area you’d like to visit to see more flights. Alternatively, the left sidebar will show you a selection ranked by popularity and convenience of travel. You can choose between one way and return tickets and filter by bags, duration, airline, price, and the number of stops. Furthermore, you can select your language and desired currency, and the flight prices are clearly displayed.
Where Google Flights also excels is in its price tracker option, which can be easily turned on and used to send you price alerts for a particular flight, or to just see some of the best flight deals going in that moment in time.
With an intuitive and simple interface, Kiwi is a search aggregator and OTA that allows you to find the perfect flights with the lowest fares and to book directly on the platform. You have many useful filters for flight details, like adding checked baggage, allowing overnight stops, or even excluding countries you don’t want to pass through.
Furthermore, when choosing your departure city, you can choose multiple cities or even expand the search to include departures from airports within 250 kilometers from your chosen one. The results will clearly show you information such as baggage allowance and whether you need to self-transfer.
An interesting feature offered by Kiwi is the nomad booking type. This allows you to add several destinations for trips of up to 60 days. Kiwi will shuffle the destinations to find the cheapest itinerary. You can choose specific cities or even entire countries if you’re flexible. This is a great feature if you want to visit multiple countries and don’t have time restrictions.
Both a search aggregator and an OTA, Kayak is another website that has been around for several years. Kayak allows you to compare prices from different airlines and links directly to the OTA providing the best price for plane tickets while also showing the other options available. The algorithm also calculates how likely it is for prices to increase or decrease and suggests whether you should book as soon as possible. Furthermore, you can set an alert to receive updates on the prices.
Kayak’s Explore feature is great if you don’t have a set destination and are looking to explore different countries. Pick your departure and select “anywhere” as your destination to have an overview of the cheapest destination, either on a map or in a grid layout. You can even filter by the type of trip you are looking for – beach escape or romantic getaway, anyone?
6. Hopper (App)
As opposed to other OTAs, you can only use Hopper by downloading the app, available for both Android and iOS. Once you download the app, you can already search for flights, but you will need to create an account to complete your booking. The app is intuitive and easy to use, and you can get very good deals.
In addition to convenient prices, you can also get discounts and limited-time deals when booking through Hopper. You may receive a series of vouchers as soon as you start using the app, and you will regularly have deals for specific locations. Furthermore, with every booking, you may earn “Carrot cash” that you can later redeem on other bookings.
CheapOair is an online travel agency with a user-friendly platform and a simple booking process. The site specializes in providing both the best airfare prices when booking in advance and good last-minute deals. You can easily sort the search results by recommended, cheapest flights, and shortest duration. Furthermore, you get an overview of the airlines at the top, sorted from the cheapest flight and showing both direct flights and flights with stopovers.
Once you have chosen your flight, you can easily book it directly on the website in just a few easy steps. You can check your allowed baggage and the fare rules before proceeding with the booking, and you will get an option to add extra baggage or buy travel protection. Just make sure to complete the booking within the allotted time to avoid losing the fare.
Trip.com is an OTA available both on desktop and as a mobile app. The website has a variety of options to plan your trip, not just flight booking. You can search and book hotels, trains, cruises, and even tours and attractions.
The flight search interface is very user-friendly and has several options that allow you to personalize your search. The search results are shown in a clear table, and you can discover alternative dates on top. By checking the price graph, you can easily see the cheapest dates and change the number of nights you would like to spend in your chosen destination.
If you’d like to wait for a better deal, the platform allows you to subscribe and set an alert to notify you when prices drop below a price that you can choose. This is a great option if you have a set budget and are not in a hurry to book. Once you have found your flight, you can easily book it directly on the platform. Additionally, you can earn Trip coins for every flight or hotel booking that you can later redeem on future bookings.
An all-around online travel agency and search aggregator, eDreams is a popular website to book flights, holiday packages, or car rentals. eDreams is great for last-minute deals as it often offers cheaper options than other OTAs. The website also highlights the flights that save more CO2, a great option if you want to lower your impact on the environment. Furthermore, you can select the option “Anywhere. Surprise me!” to discover the cheapest flights on your chosen dates. If you do know your destination, the calendar will already show you an overview of the prices before even hitting the search button.
An interesting feature available on eDreams is the prime subscription, which allows you to access discounts on all flights booked through the platform as well as discounts on accommodation and car rentals.
OneTravel is owned by Fareportal, the same company that owns CheapOair, and as such, it has a very similar interface to the sister site. The user experience is very similar, and you’ll likely find similar prices too. Just like on CheapOair, on OneTravel you can compare fares from different airlines and book directly on the website.
The features you’ll find on OneTravel are similar to other OTAs, including the possibility to filter by the number of stops, duration of the flights, and departure and arrival times. You can potentially find affordable last-minute solutions but also good prices if you’re looking to book in advance. Furthermore, you can set alerts if you want to track the price of your desired flights.
Owned by Booking Holdings, the same travel technology company that owns Booking.com and Kayak, Priceline is an online travel agency that has been around since the late 1990s. Like other OTAs, the website offers users the opportunity to compare flights from different airlines and book directly on the platform. The site offers discounted rates when booking bundles such as ‘flight + hotel’ or ‘flight + car’.
Priceline has a VIP membership free for all users that create an account. Registered users who make a certain number of bookings throughout the year can then move into higher tiers that allow them access to even more benefits such as discounts and coupons.
Expedia is one of the oldest and most renowned online travel agencies. Despite being around for over two decades, the platform keeps evolving and adding new features. Aside from the usual search filter that you’ll find on most flight booking sites, it has a great overview of the different prices depending on the airline and on whether you would like to include a seat, carry-on baggage, no cancellation fee, or no change fee. After doing your search, check the left sidebar for the different prices.
While you can’t select flexible dates when doing your search, you’ll have the option of checking a price calendar that clearly shows the cheapest and the most expensive options. One downside for flexible travelers is that you can’t search by country, only by city. However, if you are looking for inspiration for affordable flights, the platform has sections with recommendations for low fares under $200 and $300.
13. TripAdvisor Flights
Not everyone knows that the famous review site is also a flight search aggregator. Tripadvisor’s flight search platform makes it easy to compare prices from various OTAs. Once you have found the best deal, you can simply click on the link to your desired OTA to complete the booking.
Tripadvisor has a simple and clean interface with several filtering options on the left sidebar and the possibility to sort deals by price, duration, best deal, or even departure or arrival time. You may even search for flights with flexible changes or cancellations if you believe your plans may change. Finally, the website allows you to compare deals from select OTAs in a new window instead of opening several tabs in your browser. This way you can browse different websites in one window and find your best solution.
14. Booking.com Flights
While Booking.com is mostly used to book accommodation, it also offers a flight search and booking option. The interface is clean and straightforward, with easy-to-use filters, similar to the interface for accommodation booking. For every flight option, you can check extra details in a little pop-up window that will also show you possible additional costs, for instance for checked baggage.
If you already have a Booking.com account, you can use your saved details to book your flights in a few easy steps. One downside of this platform, when compared to others, is that it has no chart or calendar option to compare prices if you have flexible dates. Instead, you must manually search for different dates to find the best price. On a positive note, you can get a discount at participating properties if you want to book accommodation after booking your flight through Booking.com.
Both a search aggregator and an OTA, Momondo boasts probably the greatest variety in terms of available filters. You can even search by aircraft, only select flights that have Wi-Fi available on board, or just look for red-eyes. Furthermore, you can choose to include or exclude certain booking sites. And if you’re looking for more remote destinations or you want to widen your possibilities, you can mix different transportation types. For instance, you can search for ‘flights + buses’ or ‘flights + trains’.
Another interesting feature of Momondo is the insights window that can guide you in your booking process by suggesting the cheapest month to visit your chosen destination or how long in advance you should book to get the best price. Just click on the ‘flight insights’ in the top right corner and take a look at the charts.
Skiplagged became popular for using a technique called ‘hidden city ticket’. The technique consists of buying a cheaper flight with a layover and, instead of reaching the final destination, skipping the second flight and stopping at the layover city. This option, however, is only available for travelers flying with a carry-on and only for one-way flights. The flight booking site was featured in several news outlets like BBC and CNN.
Aside from the hidden city fares option, travelers can also search for standard flights. The interface is very intuitive and makes it easy to book flights in just two simple steps. Furthermore, travelers who create an account can earn cash back in travel credits that they can redeem towards other flights or hotels. Travelers looking for new destinations to visit can also check the Skiplagged rates recommended on the homepage.
Best Flight Booking Sites Summary
Flight booking websites can be an invaluable tool in helping you not only find the lowest price of all your flight results, but also help you find a flight deal that works perfectly for you, both from a logistical and price standpoint.
The power these airfare search sites harness is quite remarkable, and many of them are packed with different features. From flight maps to tools to track prices, they give you plenty of customization and insight to find a flight (or several) that ticks all the boxes you are looking for.
Wherever in the world you plan to go, these flight booking sites can help you find the best way to get there. Have fun searching, and see what amazing deals you can find!
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Author: Dale Johnson is a content writer, designer, and strategist, who has, since 2016, visited and lived in 30+ countries and counting.