If you don’t know already, I’m not a fan of big budget, business-connected flight websites that claim they’ll find you cheap flights but really just store your web cookies so they can charge you more on a flight you’re interested in and leave your computer with ten thousand pop-up windows. Below I’ve listed 5 websites I have personally dealt with and like a lot. They won’t scam you, they won’t confuse you, and they’ll offer you flight options you can actually afford.
I’ve mentioned Scott’s website before, but I will sing his praises again- Scott’s Cheap Flights is awesome! And no, I’m not being paid for this. I just really like this program. Basically Scott does this thing where he sends you emails every time theres a cheap international flight to somewhere. Very simple. He lists different airports and their specific prices and also gives you some cool tips about the city. He just likes to help people out from the goodness of his nomadic heart. We’ve seen $270 roundtrip tickets to Iceland and usually see roundtrip tickets to Europe in the $300s and $400s around once a week.
To get the best deals, sign up for his premium subscription where you get emails for the awesomest places and prices. However, if you’re just casually interested, his free subscription doesn’t cut you short.
The catch with Scott’s Cheap Flights is that you usually have to act fast as these deals go away quickly. He’ll let you know how long they usually last, but you’ve got to have some adventurous spontaneity or an keep an eagle eye on his emails for your destination to really take advantage!
Ah, Skiplagged. The notorious flight site that United Airlines and Orbitz tried suing because 23 year old CEO Aktarer Zaman figured out how to rig the system. If that doesn’t tell you this is a website to keep your eye on, I don’t know what does. For the good of us all, Mr. Zaman won the lawsuit and has gifted us all with this amazing flight search engine.
Skiplagged works by figuring out which flights are cheapest that happen to have layovers in the city you want to go to (however, for the most savings though you have to be flexible on dates). So, say you want to fly from NYC to Chicago and the ticket price is $500. Bummer. Skiplagged comes in and finds you a cheaper flight from NYC to Seattle for only $300, with a layover in Chicago. Simply leave the airport at your layover in Chicago, forgoing the rest of your flight, and bam, you’ve saved $200. If it works, it works. #hustlegamestrong #itsuckstosuckOrbitz #thanksAktarer
This place is where most of Scott’s Cheap Flight’s originate from and is the flight website recommended by CNN, New York Times, and the Telegraph Daily. Everyone claims to have the cheapest flights, but I think Momondo does it best. Their website works best when you are date flexible, but you can also search specific dates and set a fare alert for when/if the fare drops. You also have to be patient when searching because it takes them a while to find everything.
Theres no special trick or loophole Momondo has, it is simply a flight search engine that works. Because they are independently run, they don’t have special business connections with certain airlines unlike some of the other major flight search sites. Momondo will ACTUALLY give you the best deals because they don’t have any incentives to hold them back from you.
Another super cool feature they have is the random flight search bar. Scroll down a little from the top menu and you’ll see it. If you’re like us and have the travel bug but don’t know what your options are for the money you have, simply input your budget and where you’re flying from, and Momondo will show you places you can go for that price. Be sure to check from multiple airports in your area. (In our case, flying out of DC, 4 hours away, is often way cheaper than flying out of airports in NC).
When Skiplagged or Momondo isn’t giving you what you want, or you need to work with a booking agent, I like to use CheapOAir. They’re a little more similar to Expedia, Orbitz, etc. but their prices are better and they don’t do that hella annoying pop-up window thing. They also currently have a coupon code for $20 off, and have really good discounts for students (or 16-25 year olds), military, and seniors.
While I have personally not used their customer service, they supposedly are fantastic (they won the 2014 International Service Excellence Award for it) and they can help you get a good deal on group flights and any other various flight issues. Their number is big and bold on their website and they actually want to help you.
Lastly, I’d like to sing the praises of Airfarewatchdog. This is a fabulous website for fare alerts. If you’ve never used fare alerts, it’s pretty simple. All you have to do is go under their “Flights” tab and there will be a section to set up alerts. You just input where you want to go and what dates, and they’ll send you an email every time the price drops.
For example, we’re thinking about going back to the Pacific Northwest next year and were curious about roundtrip tickets to Seattle. I set a fare alert, and after receiving 2-3 emails about prices in the mid $300s, I finally received an email a few days ago about flight tickets from NC to Seattle for about $250 RT. Sounds like a deal to me!
They also do a neat thing where they’ll tell you down at the bottom some cool places you could go for cheap from your home airport. I.e. Philadelphia for $95 RT, Orlando for $105 RT, and Denver for $156 RT.
Do you have a tried and true flight site you love? Comment below and share the love!