Best Flight Search Engines
The best airfare sites do more than help you book cheap flights that move you from point A to point B. They gather operational information and pricing data from hundreds of airline systems, analyze these vast resources, and present a simple, clear report that sorts flight information based on things like price, time and carrier. The emergence of flight websites has revolutionized the way we conduct travel for business and pleasure.
The top flight websites have a knack for sifting through a multitude of travel deals and showing you the best ones on a daily basis. An effective use of the right airfare website can save you plenty of money on flights with quality airlines.
Best Flight Search Engines: What to Consider
- Good values. Of course, your primary objective is quality and affordability.
- Trustworthy reviews. Reviews for deals on any travel site should be accurate
- Information. Preparing for a trip requires knowledge about your destination so a site that offers that is great.
- Quick and available customer service.
The Best Airfare Sites
- Easy to use site
- Many service package options
- Search multiple flights
- The site offers plenty information
- "Best Price Guarantee" policy
- Long waits with customer service
One of the catchiest taglines we have seen on Expedia recently is "Book flight + hotel at the same time, and save up to $525." This is just one of the many great deals Expedia offers. The site has been revamped nicely in the last three to four years, and today it provides the type of depth you would expect from a major flight data aggregator.
Verdict - Superb
Expedia has a solid platform and excellent customer service, besides the collection of nice and informative tools the site provides to you. We enjoy the many packaging options they offer, like booking just a flight, a flight and a hotel, or a flight and a car, and combinations in between. We recommend you use Expedia to book a flight because the site gives you the largest selection of airlines (130+), you can get interesting fare deals, and the company's customer service department is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- The website is full of flight information
- It's sleek and easy to navigate
- Homepage shows upcoming flight deals
- You can read informative flight articles
- Handy Explore the World tool
- Very little that sets it apart from other great travel sites
Yahoo! Travel is the second-most popular travel site you can use to book flights, to find a price that works for you, and to read travel guides about destinations you are about to discover. Yahoo! Travel over the years has substantially improved its search tool and the way results are displayed. It is always a pleasure to use Yahoo! Travel when comparison shopping!
Verdict - Great
Yahoo! Travel is a sure bet, it is of course backed Yahoo!, which is one of the top online players in the world. So it is great for when you want to book a flight in advance or at the last minute. This site is as informative as they come, and you can find everything from travel ideas to travel guides on the site. I really liked the Explore the World tool, which allows you to find flights to and from every part of the world. The site also features specific cities, telling you how to affordably fly there as well as hotels, attractions, and restaurants in featured locales. With all of these helpful features I would have to rate it 5 stars even though many of its assets are also found on other great travel sites.
- User-friendly site
- Great deals
- Exclusive deals for members
- Get credit if you find a better deal after booking
- Handy email alert tool
- No vacation packages available
Big buttons, a simple design and easy to use tools are what make CheapAir an incredibly user-friendly site to use. Even after you use the search tool and generate a list based on your inputs, the site is still simple and easy to read. Other top sites take you to a jumbled mess of sidebars, numbers and text that takes some adjusting.
CheapAir allows you to see their site's deals and the deals from other sites so you can compare prices from multiple sources. This makes it more likely that you will find the best deal after searching just one site. Plus, after you put in your search terms, the site asks you if you would like email alerts based on your search. This allows you to hear about new deals as soon as they become available.
Deals on the site are very competitive, especially if you are a member. A free membership will get you exclusive deals and early access to new promotions. Also, if you book a flight and then you see that a better deal has just become available, CheapAir will give you credit for the difference.
Although, there are hotels and rental cars available on the site, there isn't a vacation package option.
Verdict - Great
With excellent deals and a user-friendly site, CheapAir is a great place to book a flight. If you are looking for vacation bundles it might be better to check another site first.
- User-friendly site
- Easy to use search tool
- Great vacation packages
- Ability to mix and match flights
- Ability to search for themed vacations
- Minimal support
Cheap Tickets is another helpful flight finding tool that is user-friendly and easy to use. Their search tool has all of the filters that you would expect from a flight and travel search engine plus the ability to search by star rating when looking for hotels. The site has plenty of vacation packages to choose from if you are looking to bundle your flight with other options like hotels and rental cars. There is even a feature that allows you to search for specific themed vacations if you are looking for a little inspiration. Another helpful feature is that not only can you book flights, hotels and cars; you can also find event tickets.
Cheap Tickets may be a great travel website overall, but what about for flights specifically? Well, they have a pretty interesting feature when you are just looking for flights too. They allow you to mix and match flights from different airlines. This means if you leave on one airline you don't necessarily have to return with the same one. By mixing different airlines for your departure and return flights you can ensure you are getting the best possible deal and you aren't committed to just one company.
The FAQ section is the best resource for customer support and there is no phone number listed on their support page.
Verdict - Great
Cheap Tickets has a lot of great features for anyone looking for flights or for a total vacation package. Their customer support doesn't seem as comprehensive as some of the other top sites but this is still a great resource for travelers.
- Has received many industry accolades
- Website is easy to navigate
- Social network embedding
- Apps available to search via smart phones
- Diversity of languages covered
- Some untrustworthy sources
- Alarming BBB score
Trip Advisor is a major player in the flight booking game and the online travelling niche, in general. Besides flights, the portal provides booking capabilities for hotels, vacation rentals, and restaurants. One of the most popular websites when it comes to travel planning, Trip Adviser can help you book flights and hotels in all destinations, doing so by saving you up to 25%, according to the company's tag line. After delving into the company's flight-booking value proposition, I've rated it 4 stars.
Verdict - Very Good
Trip Advisor bills itself as the world's travel site, and whether or not that is true, it is a top site for airfare site. The site looks great if you consider its rankings by tools like Alexa, Quantcast, and Compete. However, if you read threw all of its negative consumer reviews and it's terrible BBB rating it is a different story. On the other hand, Trip Advisor offers a wealth of flight information that can help you make a smart travel decision and save you money in the process. I've personally used Trip Advisor in the past, and found its search tools reliable and fast. While it may not be the best overall travel site, it is still great for airfare.
Best Airfare Websites Recap
From reduced fare and flight punctuality to airport condition, these flight websites are changing part of the travel experience. These websites make it easy to search for flights, book hotels, and rent cars, but they also give you a valuable tool to get the best fare out there. I would recommend you go with the combo option, that is, book more than one product, to reap more savings from the multitude of daily deals featured on these sites.
Best Airfare Sites FAQs
What is an airfare website?
An airfare website is a travel site that is designed to help you book flights quickly and efficiently. You typically are able to compare prices for different airlines for specific dates and times. Some sites allow you to compare their prices with other competing travel sites for the same flights.
Most of the top travel sites offer price comparisons for airline tickets in addition to other travel expenses like hotels and rental cars, but some sites specialize in only airfare. The overall goal of using an airfare site is to book flights more efficiently and for less money than going through the airline itself.
Should I use an exclusive airfare site or a larger travel site?
Smaller airfare ticket sites that only offer airfare deals can be beneficial when you just want an airline ticket. Their focus cuts out all the extras so you experience is that much more efficient. However, many of the larger travel websites offer bundling deals where you can book flights and hotels or flights and rental cars at the same time, which can be advantageous.
Also, many of the smaller air exclusive flights are actually subsidiaries of the larger travel sites and they will lead you to the bigger site when you want to book a flight. However you look at it, the best thing to do is to simply compare prices. Use their comparison tools and go with the site that can give you the best deal.