Something I used to hate about travelling was booking flights. I was always anxious that I wasn’t getting the best deal, or that after I booked, the flight price will fall and I’d miss out on saving some cash.
These days I feel more comfortable about flight booking. After two and half years of continuous travel, and too many flights to count, I have at least come up with a list of some of the best flight booking apps in the industry to ensure you get a top deal.
One thing I like about Hipmunk is that it allows you to set alerts for when the flight you’re searching for goes down in price. This is particularly helpful if you’re planning a journey awhile in advance.
Hipmunk is very user friendly – the user interface is very clean, making the site easy to navigate. When you enter your departure date and flight details, it’ll give you results that show you the cost and travel time, listing the cheapest journeys first.
Of course, the cheapest isn’t always the best because the travel time might be extremely long, so this helps you to compare and decide on the best flight to purchase.
Once chosen, Hipmunk will then connect you to the website selling the ticket, like Orbitz or Expedia. You can also book hotels, cars and packages on the site.
Do you ever find it strange when booking a long haul flight that sometimes it’s cheaper if you book an onward ticket?
For example, you want to fly to San Francisco from New York but the cheapest ticket is actually one that flies to San Fran and then on to Lake Tahoe. It’s strange, because it’s including an extra flight, and yet the ticket is cheaper.
To many airlines’ dismay, Skiplagged searches for these tickets, saving some consumers up to 80% on their ticket price. United Airlines actually sued them for this practise, but were unsuccessful as the app isn’t actually doing anything wrong.
However, there is a catch. Booking the cheaper flight and getting off halfway means you can’t check any luggage. It also means you can only book a one way ticket. But if it saves you money, who cares?
I mentioned previously that I’m paranoid about missing out on the best fare. Kayak helps me to avoid this, as it sends me price alerts every time my wanted fare price drops.
When you search for a flight, Kayak will give you the prices around the date you selected, so that you can book the cheapest flight possible.
However, Kayak doesn’t always have the cheapest flights, and just to make sure I’m getting the best deal I often use it along with other search engine resources.
Kayak doesn’t just look for flights, it also searches car hire and accommodation too. It has partnerships with companies like Booking and Agoda, pooling their resources to help you get the best deal.
Like Kayak, Skyscanner lets you book flights, accommodation and car hire. When it first launched, it was best for travel to and from the UK, but its database has improved a lot since then and now is quite extensive.
Something I love about Skyscanner is that it doesn’t open hundreds of different tabs (when using the website version) to search different databases like other search engines do. It also allows me to search in my home currency, which makes it easy to use.
Sometimes the search engine finds better deals for me via their website than I would find on the airline’s own website, which is amazing. But I always double check by doing a quick search on the airline’s site just in case.
Hopper is a great app to use if you want to track flight prices. If you have a flight coming up that’s a few months away, instead of booking immediately, use Hopper to track the best deal.
Simply enter in the dates you want to travel and the destination. It will tell you straight away when is a good time to book. For example, entering in a travel itinerary to India from Australia in January, I’m told that flights are expected to drop by at least $78 between now and then.
And Hopper also tells me that if I leave it until two weeks or less before I plan to fly, flight prices are expected to rise $1,000 or more.
When the prices do drop, Hopper is going to send me a push notification on my phone so that I can book immediately and save some money on my ticket.
This search engine is a lot of fun. Adioso lets you search for flights based on a ‘wanderlist’ you might have. These ‘wanderlists’ have been curated by the app to add a personal touch to your booking service. For example, you can choose options like ’10 best museums in the world’ and it’ll show you flights to all of these locations.
Even if you don’t plan on booking a flight with them, Adioso is a good tool to use to discover travel ‘wanderlists’, such as where the best night markets in the world are, or where the best beaches are situated.
You can even connect the app with your Facebook and it’ll find flights to where your friends are located, all around the world.
I once flew from London to Brazil on a work trip in business class. It was luxurious. Because we took off at 11pm, I had one glass of champagne and then promptly fell asleep for the entire journey. On the return flight they didn’t have any seats left in business, and the only seat left was in economy, right at the back of the plane near the toilets. It was dreadful and I didn’t sleep a wink.
Although the same flight times to and from Brazil, the first journey felt like it took half an hour and the return felt like a whole day.
It proves that happiness on your journey can make the world of difference. And to help you find this happiness factor is RouteHappy.
Enter your flight date and route into the app and it’ll not only tell you the prices of different flights but the journey’s ‘happiness’ score out of 10. It’ll tell you how much leg room you’ll have on the flight, whether there’s in-seat TV screens and adapter plugs for your electronics, or if the flight has on-board wifi.
It’ll also give you details about your layover, such as how long it is and whether the total flight time is fast for that type of journey. RouteHappy will help you to never have a miserable flight again!
Speaking about the happiness of your flight – SeatGuru is an amazing website that will help you find the best seat on your plane. Simply enter where you’re going, the airline you’re travelling on and your flight number, and it’ll generate reviews of that plane model from people who’ve flown on it previously.
It’ll point out which seats have the most leg room, which don’t recline, and which positions in the plane to avoid.
SeatGuru shows you where the emergency exits are and where the bassinets and power points are located.
People who’ve reviewed their flight have often added photos too, so you can get a real feel for the space before you book your seat.
I used to worry about the price of my flight dropping after I booked, until I became acquainted with the app called Yapta.
You can register your flight after you’ve purchased tickets, and it’ll send you a notification if the price falls, allowing you to get a refund voucher from the airline. (Yes, airlines do this!)
You can also use it to track the price of your hotel stay to get a refund too, although this is mainly used with corporate travelers and I haven’t used this service.