Aldous Huxley aptly summed up some of the biggest downsides of traveling when he stated, “For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.”
What good ol’ Aldous didn’t know is that there would one day be a host of apps that could help alleviate all these issues.
(But in his defense, there’s no way he or anyone else knew what apps were back then.)
There are now apps to help with all aspects of our travels.
So with flights being one of the biggest upfront costs of a trip, it’s no surprise an abundance of flight booking apps have appeared on the scene.
But with so many options and limited space on our phones, how can we make sure we download the best app for booking flights?
Well, the answer is different for different people, depending on their travel priorities.
To make your search easier, we’ve reviewed the best flight booking apps out there and identified their main strengths. Do you want to figure out the best time to a buy a plane ticket? Or maybe you want a guaranteed refund if you miss your connecting flight. There’s an app for that!
Oh, and the best part? All the apps on this list are free!
Why use a flight booking app?
Maybe you’re wondering why you should use an app at all. Is it worth the bother of downloading an app to book flights when you can easily search online?
Well, there’s actually a variety of benefits to using an apps rather than websites.
They help you save money
Traveling the world can be expensive. Apps do all the hard work of comparing flight deals so you don’t have to.
Apps also personalize your experience. Once you’ve filled out the details of the flight you want, apps find you personalized and relevant deals.
If you set flight alerts for a specific route, you’ll receive notifications straight to your phone when prices drop. This way, you won’t miss out on a bargain, even if you’re on the move.
They’re easy to use while traveling
Apps are designed specifically for phones and tablets, so they have an incredibly user-friendly interface. That means wherever you are, it’s quick and easy to browse and book flights.
If you’re backpacking or on a longer trip where you need to organize travel on the move, using an app can be a huge relief.
All your information is in one place
It’s super annoying to scroll through countless emails to find flight confirmations from six months ago. But booking though an app makes managing your flights much easier. Once you’ve created an account for an app, you can access all your booking information, past and present, at the click of a button.
Many apps also have options for booking accommodation, trains and rental cars, meaning you have the potential to keep all your holiday information in one place.
The 8 Best Flight Booking Apps for Different Travel Needs
1. Covers all your travel needs: Skyscanner
Skyscanner’s flight search tool is reliable and easy to use. It searches the best deals on the web and sends you to external sites to complete bookings. You can filter your flight search by stopovers, flight duration, times and airlines.
With this app, you can also book rental cars and hotels, meaning it’s a great app for organizing your entire vacation, not just your flights.
The app’s features make it easy for you to compare prices for different cities and dates.
Maybe you know you want to take a trip in December but need a little inspiration to decide on your destination. Use Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” feature.
Or maybe you know you want to go to Costa Rica. But should you use your vacation days at the beginning or end of the month? Select “Whole Month,” and Skyscanner shows you ticket prices every day that month.
2. Covers your missed connections: Kiwi.com
Kiwi.com often finds cheaper flights than other flight providers by searching each leg of a journey individually.
That means two flights in the same journey might not be with the same airline or partnered airlines. If this is the case, you could have to re-check your bags at your first airport destination and have separate boarding passes.
This booking method also usually means you lose your flight security should you miss your connection due to delays or cancellations.
But Kiwi.com outperforms other services with its Kiwi.com Guarantee. The company promises that any connections missed due to delays and cancellations will be replaced for free and offers some compensation for hotels and food.
3. Searches cheapest, quickest and best flights: Momondo
Momondo is a nicely designed, easy-to-use app with an effective search function for both flights and hotels.
The best thing about this app is that search results are automatically categorized into lists of cheapest, quickest and best flights, which are displayed in individual tabs at the top. The “best” category tends to combine good prices with convenient timings.
If you’re looking for inspiration for where to go, the app also has a cool interactive map, displaying flight prices from your location to various destinations.
4. Finds you a hidden city: Skiplagged
That sounds complicated, right? Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
For example, let’s say you wanted to fly from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and the cheapest direct flight was $250.
Skiplagged might find a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and there’s a layover in New Orleans. Oh, and this flight only costs $190.
You book the tickets from Los Angeles to Atlanta, but you stay in New Orleans. You never go to Atlanta.
The app ensures that this is perfectly legal, although certain airlines (specifically United Airlines) have been unhappy about it.
Just remember, if you find a flight through “hidden-city,” don’t check in any bags. You don’t want to get off in New Orleans while your luggage flies off to Atlanta! Also, don’t use your frequent flyer number, because some airlines may penalize you for this flight tactic. Skiplagged addresses more issues and questions about “hidden-city” on their website.
5. Tells you the best time to buy: Hopper
When you’re choosing your flight dates, Hopper shows you a useful color-coded calendar indicating the cheapest dates to fly each month.
Once you select a journey, the app’s trademark bunny offers you advice on whether or not now is a good time to buy.
Hopper predicts if the prices are likely to fluctuate in the next few weeks and how much you could save by waiting. You can then request to be alerted when prices for a certain trip drop.
6. Tracks your flights: Kayak
Kayak is another great app that searches for cheap flight prices.
You can also book hotels and rent cars through the app, then check all your trip information in the “Trips” tab, even if you don’t have an internet connection.
Kayak also has a live flight tracking feature. As your vacation approaches, easily see if your flight is on time and receive updates about gate changes to put your mind at ease.
7. Identifies the cheapest routes: Jetradar
Jetradar provides a high-quality flight search tool. But its main strength is that it shows the cheapest flights available to various destinations from your location.
Do you live in Sydney? Find out the most affordable places to fly from Sydney.
The interactive map shows prices to each destination. When you click on a country, it brings up a list of all possible airports and shows the cheapest routes.
This feature doesn’t take dates into account, so flexible travelers can snatch up the best deals. It is, however, a great research tool to identify the cheapest routes to different places. For example, if planning a trip to Japan, you can infer whether it’s generally cheaper to fly into Tokyo or Osaka from your home town.
8. Finds deals for flexible travelers: HolidayPirates.com
Calling all free spirits and adventurers! If you’re looking for a bargain but are flexible about where and when you go, HolidayPirates.com has some insanely cheap deals.
The app’s flight search function is good, but here’s where it really shines: its “All Deals” feature.
It offers a multitude of trips at great prices you can browse through. Just click “All Deals” and see what looks good!
Do you want to spend a week in Croatia? How does staying in Poland for Christmas sound?
Some trip offers consist of just flights, others include accommodation and other benefits.
No more long hours checking every travel website for the best deals. With these top apps, you can easily book your vacation knowing that you’ve found the best price and most convenient route.
Maybe you’ll even stumble across an irresistible deal on one of these apps and find yourself somewhere you would have never imagined! Everyone loves a spontaneous app-venture.
Hanna Greeman is a language lover and global traveler. After graduating in Spanish and Italian from the University of Bristol, she has lived in Colombia, Peru, Italy, Australia and Thailand, and traveled across four continents. When not working as a freelance writer, catch her salsa dancing, reading or seeing live music.
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