Which is the Best Airfare Search Engine?
By Greg Mattson, ERV Editor - Updated: Mar 20, 2013
Where can you find the lowest price on airfares? Which of the leading air travel search sites are easiest to use?
Here’s a quick guide on how to find a low airfare with our ratings & picks for the best airfare search engine websites.
These online flight & fare finders are some of the most well established and respected in the travel industry. You can book with confidence, knowing that many others have too.
Happy airfare hunting!
Top 5 Best Airfare Search Engine Websites
Advantages: Called the “Google of Travel Sites”. The most user-friendly of all airfare search sites. Consistantly shows the lowest fares. Innovative features allow you to narrow search results. Redirects you to airlines own site, so you can book and collect points. Includes Jet Blue fares, and you can group results according to airline alliances if you like. Fare charts, price alert options useful.
Disadvantages: Very few - can’t see fares from Expedia or Travelocity (but will show them for comparison in a new window). Also doesn’t show Southwest fares.
Bottom Line: Quick, friendly, accurate – right now, the best airfare search engine out there.
Advantages: “Name your price” bidding can mean rock-bottom fares, and they supply you with typical departure/arrival times, and % chance of a non-stop flight. New option allows you to purchase published fares and flights instead. Easy to search flights and prices from nearby airports.
Disadvantages: Bidding not recommended for short weekend getaways as you can’t choose specific flight times. No frequent flier points. No changes, cancellations or refunds.
Bottom Line: Still an industry-leader in cheap airfares.
Advantages: You see the price in advance - no bidding and waiting. The more flexible you are with flight times, airports, etc, the better you’ll do with Hotwire.
Disadvantages: You won't know the airline or departure times until you purchase the ticket.
Bottom Line: Hot on the heels of Priceline, at least price-wise, Hotwire is great tool for comparison shopping, and finding the bottom list price of many airfares.
Advantages: Everything is “up front” – price, airline, flight times, etc. No surprises, and good customer service. You can book your whole vacation – everything, even tours, ground transportation and entertainment – all in one place. International airfares quite competitive.
Disadvantages: For the lowest price, check other sites as well.
Bottom Line: Solid, dependable choice if price is not your only concern.
5. 3-Way Tie...
airfarewatchdog - includes low-fare carriers like Southwest, JetBlue, and Frontier. Plus, they have a section on the top 50 best airfares of the day nation-wide.
Bing Travel - Bing offers some cutting edge fare search and alert tools, including their "price predictor" which forecasts when the airfare you're after will drop in price.
Yapta - this site is unique in that they will actually help you get a refund if the price of your flight decreases after you buy the ticket.
International Airfare Search Engines - Europe: