Once in a while, I plug myself back into the matrix. Inside, I can find flight deals where it’s practically free and all my flights are always upgraded to First-class at no extra charge. Alas, I got tricked into taking the blue pill and there the story ends.
Google put the ax on my once favorite OnTheFLy Matrix app. It ran on the Google ITA Matrix flight engine which I’ve used to great success. Now with the coolest app out of the market, it’s ripe for another one to take its place.
Throughout the year I’ve used and tested a few replacements. Trying out their functionalities. Figuring out if they’re worth taking up extra space on my phone’s hard drive. Some are cool and neat. There are some that are very functional but ugly to look at. Some make you want to toss your phone into a deep ravine so you don’t end up throwing yourself over instead.
There’s a myriad of apps out there promising to make your wildest travel dreams come true. No way I say, only the Matrix can do that! But with the matrix out of the way, I’m excited to say, the alternatives are equally good. Really good.
I’ve already gone through the pains and disappointments. The fascinating features. The cool interfaces. The slow load times. The “WTH were they thinking” when they designed this thing? Yes, I’ve reviewed and tested these apps. Here I will make recommendations on which one is better suited for you.
So let’s get started!
1 – SKYSCANNER
The Skyscanner app is now my defacto flight booking app. Period. The main draw here is has a well-designed and easy to use interface. Kudos to their U/X team for designing an intuitive interface where the user always knows what they’re doing at all times.
When you start the app, it automatically shows you the option to pick a flight from where you are and to wherever you want to go. When you press search, it shows you a list of flights available that matched your criteria(s). You can then filter the list in different ways to find the best flight for your needs.
That’s not the only positives. It’s really good at finding you cheap deals. They can do this because they’re not selling the flights themselves. Skyscanner doesn’t have control on deals because they are searched from different booking providers. It’s kind of like the Google Flight Matrix on steroids. But unlike the latter, Skyscanner can connect you directly to booking services and send your purchases directly to the provider’s booking system.
Besides flights you can also book hotels and car hires directly within the app.
2 – JETRADAR
Like Skyscanner, Jetradar has an easy to use and intuitive interface. I particularly like the Price Calendar they have with cheap flights. You can filter it to suit your needs and perhaps find a flight that’s super cheap and lines up with your dates.
It’s very simple. When you open the app it takes you directly to a screen where you can input where you’re departing from and where your destination is. You can set the dates. The flight class. And the number of passengers.
Hitting the search button takes you to a cool little loading screen with a map as the background and tiny little airplane flying from the departing airport to the destination. I don’t think it’s necessary but it’s a cool little touch.
Their booking system is similar but slightly different than Skyscanner. Jetradar doesn’t handle any transactions. It doesn’t act as a middleman between the customer and agency. It only presents users with all the available flights online. They collaborate with around 200 online agencies allowing you to book over 1,040 airlines. You can pretty much find any flights for any destination.
Jetradar a flight search only app and it does that function very well.
3 – ORBITZ / EXPEDIA
This two are practically the same. They’re owned by the same company and uses the same engine. I have personally used Orbitz to great success throughout South America and I’m sure it would work fine elsewhere. It’s fast and easy to use interface make all the bookings easy. It seems to always find great deals on places I go. I also use it to book hotels and another form of accommodations from time to time.
It’s intuitive enough. I find it easy to use and find the flights or hotels that I want to book. Once you book a hotel or a flight it keeps track of it on the trips tab. It’s a nice added feature to pull up your bookings and reservations instead of fumbling around trying to find it in your emails.
They have a loyalty program called Orbucks where you get points everytime you make a booking. You can then use these points to book thousands of hotels worldwide.
4 – KAYAK
Kayak has been around for as long as I can remember. It was one of the first apps I’ve ever used to book a flight from my phone. These days, it’s still a good app for finding flights. Known for its powerful website search engine, the little app packs all the power of the website on the palm of your hands. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. It has a nifty email alert system. You can set it to send you an email whenever it finds flights within a price threshold, that you set, for the months you want to find the flights for.
The interface is intuitive and easy to use. It has a nifty email alert system. You can set it to send you an email whenever it finds flights within a price threshold, that you set, for the months you want to find the flights for. It has useful features like a flight tracker and gate information. The app lets you book flights directly instead of going to an external booking agency.
5 – HIPMUNK
There’s a lot of great flight finding apps on this list and to confuse you further, Hipmunk is also a great app. Like all of the above, it’s an app that makes it very easy to find cheap flights. Just like Kayak and Skyscanner it also presents deals on hotels and car hires.
The app has a good sorting mechanism to minimize layovers and price. You can even sort by flights that have Wi-Fi if you’re into the sort of thing. The app lets you find new places based on your style and chosen dates. You can choose to receive alerts for flights to your favorite cities. There are a plethora of options that make this app on the top the heap(Munk, ba da bing!).
6 – MOMONDO
Momondo’s claim to fame is that includes cheap budget airlines in their search results. Momondo is an aggregator that searches hundreds of airlines and booking sites. It’s an independent search engine so it’s not swayed one way or the other from airline or travel companies. Its aim is to find you the best deals possible while allowing you to book the flights or hotels directly from the app.
Things that should have been included in the app (that is on the website) is the handy trip finder option to let you enter your budget and find suitable destinations within your price range. Also missing the flight analyzer to find the right balance between price and date range of travel. There is, however, a price calendar that makes up for it. Overall, Momondo is a handy little app that I sometimes use to cross check and compare prices between the other search aggregators.
So there you have it. These are the top 6 apps you should use to find the cheapest possible flights. I often use one or two just to cover my basis when looking for flights. You can also use it the same way. However, if you had to pick only one, I’d go with – Number 1 because you simply can’t go wrong with Skyscanner.