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Flight comparison sites – how helpful are they?

PlaneAs I’m sure you are aware, there are a number of flight comparison sites out there.  You would think they would all essentially do the same job, but they do have notable differences.  Many airline tariffs – particularly those of the budget airlines – are complicated by extra charges. This makes it very difficult for comparisons to be made, particularly since different travellers have different requirements. The moral of the story?  Try out a few comparison sites – and even visit the websites of the airlines themselves (and sign up to their newsletters). You would think it does but a flight comparison site does not, unfortunately, negate the need to shop around for the best price. Tell us what sites you use and why.  What are your tips for finding the best fares?

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. I am a travel planner so use sites such as Centrav.com and Farebuzz.com. However, i also use sidestep.com quite often just to find what airlines fly where and approximate prices. Unfortunately though, comparison sites do not have the rights to compare ALL fares – for instance Southwest does not show up and I don’t believe Jet Blue does either. Granted, they are more “budget” airlines but they often have the best rates and most direct routes if you are going between certain cities.

  2. I think these days, although there are several options, it´s hard to find a real good deal. Once you search a lot you end up finding the same rates here and there, and differences are not much, at least from my experience. I use trabber.com to compare prices

  3. I do in general like these types of sites as a starting point but always bear in mind there limitations. Sometimes I go to the airport website of where I want to go just to check if I am missing out on any airlines.

  4. I have always been a huge fan of Kayak – realising they don’t have everyone – they have many. However TripAdvisor has just launched a flight search aggregator which has a Fees Estimator that is fairly brilliant. Know what EasyJet will charge for luggage or to pick your own seat in comparison to BA, etc.

  5. Thanks to Maya and Eduardo for their aggregate suggestions!

    My husband and I travel about 15 times a year, and I use the following combination of sites to find airfares:

    I generally refer to Kayak, Bing, LowFares, Momondo and Travelzoo.

    Jet Blue and Virgin America have started showing up on Kayak…but it’s still worthwhile to check their direct sites. Southwest is still separate.

    Only when I have an idea of the best flights/prices out there, I’ll check US Airways’ site/customer service to see if using my miles will somehow be worthwhile.

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