I’ve been traveling around the world for more than 15 years now, and it has always been in my habit to look for cheap plane tickets on flight comparators. I have often found what I was looking for since it allows you to search for tickets at different dates, which is not always the case on airline websites. Since about 10 years ago, I buy almost all my cheap flights via the same flight comparator, Skyscanner, and I must say it has become a point of reference to book a trip online. Originally specialized in low-cost flights, the site now offers to compare a very large number of airlines.
I had even decided to write a complete article about this great tool that I use daily. In the meantime, I was contacted by the company to talk about their service, which I accepted with pleasure, knowing that I’ve already been using and buying via their site for years now. This article is therefore written in collaboration with Skyscanner (first written in French), but I would like to point out that I am entirely free to express my opinion, no matter what it is. In other words, I would never have agreed to write an article about their service if I had never used it before. So, here is my review of Skyscanner (PS: for your next trip, you can also find it under the name sky scanner – in 2 words – which works well too I think!).
Starting to search on a flight comparator is already going on a trip, isn’t it? Just the names of Marrakech, Istanbul, the Dominican Republic, Tahiti or Miami already get many people dreaming about travel! So, are you ready to book your ticket? Ready to board?
I want to deliberately clarify a few points, because a lot of people tend to still mix things up. I therefore specify that:
- Flights comparators like Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo do not sell anything, they compare on hundreds of merchant sites (Ex: Go Voyages, Opodo, Bourse des vols, Edreams, Liligo, Expedia, Bravofly, etc.) or directly on airlines or travel agencies websites. If you don’t believe me, try to go on a real flight comparator and you will always be redirected to these sites to find the best price,
- No need to grumble about one flight comparator or another if you have any problem following the purchase of your ticket. You are free to choose the travel sites, the online agency or the tour operator you will buy from (you can check their reliability with reviews on the web) and compare prices,
- The same applies to credit card fees, additional checked luggage or booking fees that the purchasing site may add as additional costs. It is quite classic to see the price of a ticket evolves between the first display and the final purchase, according to the tour operators.
Skyscanner displays a rather classic homepage, simple but presenting a nice invitation to travel, with nice pictures of the popular destinations or the best offers and promotions of the current month. You can see right from the start the search bar as well as the associated possibilities (I’ll come back to it below). Besides, worth noting now, the possibility to compare the best prices of hotels and car rentals. What more could you ask to find a whole cheap trip?
I must say that booking a cheap flight on Skyscanner is a child’s play. Here’s what you need to remember:
Of course, Skyscanner displays the traditional possibilities of all comparators, i.e., being able to select a one-way/round trip, choose a direct flight only, select specific dates or the number of passengers. An interesting little extra you won’t find on all comparators is the option to search flights from “nearby airports”. You would be surprised to see how many secondary airports offer low-cost flights! Even if a departure from Paris is often associated with the “lowest price”, the city of departure can greatly influence prices. Indeed, many small French provincial airports offer cheap direct flights, which is perfect for long weekends or a last-minute flight. I am thinking in particular of cheap scheduled flights in Europe to Amsterdam, the Canary Islands, Venice or Mallorca. Low prices are often available at less than 30€ round-trip.
I may well spend my days checking airfare, but I have never seen this feature as well developed as it is with Skyscanner. The other good flight comparators I know only offer at best a few variable days around precise dates, or a few weeks afterwards, in the form of a graph. To book cheap flights, having flexible dates is a must for me!
Skyscanner offers, from the first search, two perfect possibilities that I use all the time, that’s to say:
- Selecting the “all month” option: this is ideal if you have the choice of your vacation departure month and are flexible to find a cheap flight. For example, if I want to fly from Paris to Australia with no specific dates for October, I can use this option,
- Choosing the “cheapest month” option: in my opinion, this is the Holy Grail for travelers who have understood that there is always a best time to travel cheap. With this option, you are sure to find flights at very interesting prices. For example, if you want to find a cheap flight to Barcelona and you are flexible, you can start a search of this kind.
This possibility is also very well done as it allows you to select a country of origin for your vacations and does not require any particular city. It is very useful if you are geographically flexible for your departure. And the same goes for the country of arrival. For example, here you have a search for a flight from France to Japan, without setting any city.
It is the second Skyscanner gem. You’re able to select an “everywhere” option that allows you to find a flight without destination, and thus be flexible on your vacation locations to find the cheapest places. Little secret tip: try to combine the “cheapest month” option with “everywhere”. You will find wonders! For example, you can find here all the cheapest flights from San Francisco to anywhere! I know you probably travel a lot having an idea in mind, but there is a bunch of low-cost destinations where prices move around a lot, and you can really find cheap flights by being flexible.
I can spend hours looking for a flight for a cheap vacation, can’t you? Rather Caribbean, Istanbul or Faro for your vacation?
I have nothing to complain about on that side. You have everything you need to sort the results according to the number of stopovers, flight schedules, duration of the trip, price, airlines, travel agencies, etc. Once the flight is chosen, Skyscanner displays all the reservation sites where you can buy the flight along with the associated price. So, it’s time to pay attention to the purchase site you’ll choose, remember!
- Multi-destination flight: it’s not an option I personally use often (because I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean), but it can be very convenient for some areas of the world, if you want to arrive at one place and leave from another one,
- Searching for hotels and car rentals: I used to go through specialized websites to find a rental car for my road trip, but I was recently surprised by the very good results Skyscanner offered to rent a car. The site compares all the major car rental companies, and I found what I was looking for at the best price for my one-month trip to the USA this summer!
- Price alerts: Looking for a flight-only to Bangkok or Tokyo? You can activate alerts to follow the prices evolution and be informed right away by email.
To wrap up this article and give my final opinion on Skyscanner, I had to say a few words about the competition. As far as I know, only two other comparators would come close to Skyscanner’s lead: Kayak and Momondo.
However, they still have a lot of points that, I think, could be improved, such as the impossibility to search by country, to find the cheapest flights for a whole month or to look for the best prices no matter the date. These points work very well at Skyscanner. The latter could however be improved, in my opinion, by offering a search from an entire continent for example (or a selection of several countries – even if no other flight comparator offers it neither…), or the possibility to choose your payment method directly in the search bar.
So, is this the best flight comparator in my opinion? To the best of my knowledge, and in all honesty, I would say yes, it stands above all the others for me. I’ll let you test it and tell me what you think about it. In any case, I’m not getting rid of it for the moment, and this site is clearly one of my must-haves to save money!
Have a nice trip,