What is Skyscanner?
Skyscanner is a game-changing website that enables you to compare millions of flights. It is a quick and easy way to find the cheapest or most convenient flight to any location around the world. Despite only being founded in the 21st century, it is a pop culture name these days. Heck, its even name-checked in a song by UK rapper Skepta.
Why would I use it?
Here are some of the reasons to use Skyscanner.
1. It is FREE. You do the search, and they link you to the airline or travel agent. Any money that they make comes from commissions off the sales that are made on their site. Therefore, it doesn’t cost you any extra at all.
2. They show you the results of your search in the order most beneficial to you. Not by who pays them the most commission.
3. On many tests, ran by various sources, it has been found to be the most comprehensive, fast, and easy way to find cheap flights.
So, how does it work?
It’s actually really simple. First off, load up the website here.
Near the top is the search box. It is pre-set to flights, and this is what I will concentrate this review on. They do also look for hotels and car hire though.
At the top of the search box, you choose whether you want a return flight, a one-way ticket, or a multi-city trip. This is self explanatory.
Then, input your starting point and destination, along with the dates of travel, how many passengers, and the class of cabin you are looking for.
Below the search box are a couple more options. You can choose to add nearby airports to the search results, which is handy for cities with more than one airport. Also, you can select direct flights only, if you don’t want to have to stopover.
Press Search Flights.
An Example Booking
For my example, I will search for flights from London (All), to New York (All) in three months’ time. I’ll just do it as a one-way trip, as the process will be the same for return trips, but will take longer to go through.
An interesting feature to bear in mind if you are just looking for inspiration is to enter the word ‘Everywhere’ into the destination box. It will show you the cheapest flights from any airport to really inspire you.
The cheapest flights is direct with Norwegian for just £299 each. Pretty good, eh? However, there may be a reason you don’t want to necessarily go with this option. For example, you may not like the airline, may want a stopover somewhere, or may prefer a different departure or arrival time, for a bit extra money.
At the top is an option to ‘show whole month’. Doing this will show those of you with flexible dates whether it would save money by flying out on a different day than the one you initially picked. This is extremely handy, though for this example I am fixed on my departure date.
Additional Search Filters
Additional search filters show up on the left hand side to help you out.
Firstly, is the option to filter out search results that have more, or less, stops than you prefer. Of course, in the main this would be for people preferring direct flights only. However, in my example, the cheapest is direct, so lets say you want to stopover to briefly see another city on the way. You might want this, but no more than the one stop, so uncheck direct, and 2+ stops. 417 of the 537 options are still there for me to choose from.
The next search filter is the outbound time. If you are heading to the airport via public transport, or have a late night the previous day, you may not want to set off too early. Lets set that for 9am onwards. You set it by using the slider. 301 options now.
Do you want to get there as quickly as possible?
Next is the journey duration. This may be important to you if you are on a schedule, as you may need to arrive within a certain amount of time after departure. Since my imaginary situation is to get a nice stopover, I will leave this, since you can’t unfortunately only search for the longer journey times.
After this is a list of all of the available airlines, with the option to deselect any that you don’t want to travel with, or the option to remove combinations of airlines if you don’t feel comfortable with dealing with more than one different airline on one trip. I’ll just do the latter. You could also search by airport alliances, if there is one that offers you incentives that you like. Now I have 279 options left.
The final filter is by airport. As we have selected all London airports (of which there are four), and all New York airports (of which there are three), you can remove any that you don’t like. Had a bad experience at London City Airport? Remove that on here, and you will only get flights from Gatwick, Heathrow, or Stansted. I haven’t, but I’ll remove it on here to see what happens. Ok, so we have 266 options.
Now is the time to look through the results.
Looking through, the third cheapest option includes a night in Reykjavik, with Icelandair. This sounds ideal, as it is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. The price is £413, and the timings are perfect.
From here, you click select to be taken through to see the different booking agents to choose from. Again, they are presented in price order, though you can decide to skip the cheaper ones if you have some reason to dislike them. Each booking agent has a star rating from the feedback of previous bookers, so it doesn’t always pay to go with the cheapest. You are able to see at a glance if there are any potential red flags. Expedia is cheapest on my search, with an average of 3.5 stars. Some have lower ratings. Alternatively, you may think it worth the extra £5 per person to book through a company with a 4 star rating. That is down to you to decide.
If, like me, you are happy doing your booking with Expedia, then click book, and you will be taken directly not just to Expedia’s site, but to the actual booking site with your journey details pre-filled in. Genius. Don’t forget that Skyscanner charge nothing for this service, and yet have likely just saved you a lot of money, as well as giving you the option of a night in Iceland for only a small extra cost.
If you were just looking for the cheapest price, then the initial search will do the trick, without the need for any of the additional filters.
So is it great or what?
In conclusion, we absolutely love Skyscanner, and don’t know how we coped without it in the past. It makes booking flights a breeze, and throws up some interesting options for your trips.
Have you used Skyscanner? Are you as impressed with it as we are?
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