Flight Price Comparison Apps
Nothing helps the review process along than having a vested interest in the apps you’re about to roundup. In this instance I’ve just been invited for a weekend away in Scotland and as the train is about to cost me £158 and driving would take the best part of 11 hours the only option I have is to look is flying. So heres a small roundup of applications to compare flight prices.
I’ll be testing applications that work both on the iPad and the iPhone To try and find the most cost-effective flights from my local airport to Scotland.
SkyScanner : Free
Searching supports airport abbreviations so if you know the 3 or 4 digit code associated with your airport you can enter them instead of the full airport name. Other filters are available like setting the outbound all return departure times. On the iPad buttons and functions have been clearly designed and take full advantage of the iPad display real estate.
By default flights are displayed with the cheapest at the top and you can change the filters by clicking on any of the headers. You don’t get to book your flight choice within the application, instead you’re booted into your respective agents website. With limited testing most of these sites tend to work well enough on the iPad thankfully.
Downsides are that it doesn’t show you any neighbouring airports to see if there is a better deal by driving to a neighbouring airport. Also A price alert system would’ve been nice as that seems to be quite common on the desktop versions of these applications but this is the same for all apps on test here. Bonus points are given for remembering your search history so the frequent flyers reading this won’t have to keep entering their flight details over and over.
One final skyscanner bonus is that you won’t be swamped with google adverts as you do in the desktop versions.
Kayak Mobile : Free Edition
For those in the know the first thing you’ll notice is how metro-esque the app looks and feels, not that’s a bad thing here. If you’ve used a Windows 8 mobile phone you’ll know exactly what I mean. Once again airport abbreviations are accepted and just like skyscanner when it comes to making your booking you are booted out from the application and taken to the agents website.
Everything is nicely spread out , icons are clear and easily decipherable and common sense so you know what they’d tend fore without having to look them up. Hotel or car searches are made easier with those searches remembering your flight preferences.
Best price found for this trip : £164.98 via Ebookers
Initially trip advisor annoyed me a little. Before I’d even got to anything useful it was trying to get me to signing with Facebook instead of letting me get on with things. If I’d wanted to broadcast the fact I’m going on holiday so that anyone untoward could come in break into my house, I do that myself thank you. Although this one is clearly aimed more at the “one the road traveller” as it’s the 1st application to actually use my location to find the nearest airport so it does redeem itself a little bit.
Note that I’m searching for flights.
And again it clearly shows searching for flights yet the results which are pulled back try to shove me on a train first rather than offering me the flights. I’ve mixed feelings about this as I can see the point of a general travel search. Ok so it’s good to know my alternatives but i’d have preferred an overall search which presents the hybrid results and then a dedicated flight search. Not sure if that would work but I’m sure I’m not the only one to be stranded somewhere thanks to airports, weather, ash clouds etc.
Playing with Trip Advisor you feel its less of a proper application but more of an app displaying webpages. seeing as I was already decided on taking the playing and selecting flight option in trip advisor and was surprised to see that initially they were offering me multiple train-based routes instead of flight information. I can see how this would be handy.
EasyJet – iPhone App
The EasyJet app drops you straight into a scroll wheel selection which isn’t that bad as they do only cover a limited amount of departures and destinations. Again the app looks very Metroesq (windows phone style) with the presentation of flight results. This works extremely well on the device sized intended for and even on the iPad it doesn’t look too shabby despite a lack of retina graphics.
As always with budget airlines, fares might look cheap to start with but soon mount up when you start adding luggage to the equation. £128 initially soon becomes £156 by the time baggage allowance is tacked on.
It may be a budget airline but their application offering works due to simplicity. If I were out on the road this would stay on the iPhone whilst on my travels. The simple, select, next, select next is more than ideal for the airlines offerings.
Again there’s not mention if they will accept proof of your flight just with the iPhone or iPad so area for improvement. I don’t see why if you book your flight, pay for the darn thing via the phone you would be unable to use that for checking in.
Best Price £125.98 From A Different Airport but adding luggage allowance is an extra £26
Momondo – iPhone App
Just as this article was being finished I stubmled across this app by accident for the iPhone. Somehow managing to be even simpler than Easyjets offering, Momondo does all the inputing at the front page and within a few clicks flights were being offered.
Being an iPhone only based offering you’ll find yourself stuck with portrait mode which makes sense for the formatting of the flight information. Flights are searched for your chosen airport and nearby to get the best deals.
Of course there’s no ip-app booking available but it does offer once of the nicest interfaces out of the roundup for the iPhone beating the Easyjet offering (despite them being the cheapest) because of it’s nearby airport and multiple airline search.
Originally I’d started out on this review to see if I could save some money on my flights using my iPad or iPhone yet it soon became apparent that most of the apps pull the data from the same sources. If you’re looking to save money on your flights then check out my hints and tips below.
There isn’t really one application that stands head and shoulders above the others meaning it all comes down to personal preference. Annoyingly there are some applications which aren’t available to the UK market which provide a much better job and will let you book flights for the UK just in USD. So if you’re the clever type and know your exchange rates you can save a few pounds that way as well. Take a look at Hipmunk.com for a refreshing take on airline travel searching.
If you do book online with your iOS device don’t rely entirely on all the information being on your iPad. Both iPhone and iPad screens have problems being scanned by barcode scanners so keep a print out on you just in case. It might be a pain to try and print from Apple devices but it’s good to have a backup plan. We all know what airlines can be like.
How To Save Money On Your Flights – CashBack
I’ve tried my hardest to check on flights, pricing and availability of flights but seeing as all the pricing is the same I head back to the desktop to save some money.
There are cash back websites that, as the name implies, will give you cash back on purchases made. TopCashBack.co.uk is one great example and cash back amount varies on offers available at the time. I was able to net 5% cash back on my flights in the end
To save money on your flights AND a whole lot more. Head to TopCashBack.co.uk, sign up, do a search on the booking agent you’ve decided upon, click their link, book and in a few weeks time you receive some lovely cash back. I’ve been doing this now for a number of years and highly recommend this practice.
If you have any apps or websites you can recommend please contact us
Other noteworthy sites.
Momondo (www.momondo.com) is another price comparison sites that takes into account nearby airportsthe two best aggregate performers by a narrow margin. For the vast majority of searches, little separated prices found by Kayak (www.kayak.co.uk), Skyscanner, Travelsupermarket.com, Fly.com and HipMunk.Com
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