With the proliferation of flight booking sites, it can be difficult to navigate through the vast number of choices. A site that may have once provided a good deal for a trip to Asia, may not live up to its promise when looking for an affordable flight for Europe. Every booking website has its own advantage and an audience to cater to.
JT Genter of The Points Guy says, "If you don't fly a lot, it's easy to make costly mistakes when searching for and booking flights. And even if you're a frequent flyer, there are pitfalls you should make sure to avoid."
With so many websites to choose from, which ones are the best for booking flights online? Here are our top choices based on common traveler preferences:
Preference 1: "I want to find the cheapest flight"
Hands down, Skyscanner.net beats down all other booking websites when it comes to choosing the cheapest flights. Travels can be planned based on day-specific prices, or on the site's infamous Cheapest Month feature. Through this feature, travelers are able to choose departure and arrival cities, then Skyscanner does the rest of the work looking for the cheapest dates to travel in a given year. Last spring, Los Angeles to Paris roundtrip flights were offered at under $300. That's even more affordable than some domestic flights in the US.
Preference 2: "I need to book my flight right now"
For the rushed traveler that needs to book a flight right away, LastMinute.com is the way to go. The site is straightforward without the cluttered banners, and booking is made easier with choices automatically collated for specific flight dates and times. Layover times are also indicated, with the option to have only direct flights shown on the list.
Preference 3: "I need time to plan my holiday"
Kayak.com is the best choice for travelers wanting to take their time with planning the trip. The site offers listings for almost all airlines, with many additional filters to choose from such as, layover times, baggage allowance, type of traveler (i.e., individual, family, business), seat choice, insurance coverage, and in-flight meals. Bigger discounts are given when flights are booked together with hotels and/or car rentals.
Genter adds that many travelers tend to be tied up by booking with the same airlines because of mileage. He admits that while airline status can be valuable, "don't let loyalty and 'chasing status' make you pay substantially more for your ticket." He highly recommends checking out several booking websites and not just the airline's website "to make sure that prices on other carriers aren't cheap enough to justify cheating on your airline."