Where to Find the Best Airfare Rates

Where to Find the Best Airfare Rates

Everyone has their favorite web site to search for the best airfare rates. Mine was Google Flights, which I could not say enough good things about in June of last year. Since then, I’ve had other experiences with booking airfare, and seen recommendations from others, which left me wondering if Google Flights really was the best.

So I decided to conduct an experiment.  I chose ten popular airfare sites/apps, and came up with seven planned trips.  I searched for round trip airfare departing on June 23 and returning on July 2.  Economy class, 2 adult passengers, and no more than one stop/layover. These were the only criteria.

The trips were:

  1. New York to Rome
  2. San Francisco to Sydney
  3. Chicago to Toronto
  4. Dallas to Buenos Aires
  5. Los Angeles to Atlanta
  6. Boston to Cairo
  7. Seattle to Beijing

The airfare search companies I used were:

  1. Kayak
  2. Hopper (app only, no website)
  3. Google Flights
  4. Priceline
  5. Hotwire
  6. Expedia
  7. Travelocity
  8. CheapOair
  9. Momondo
  10. Sky Scanner

So let’s review the results:

New York to Rome:

Ranged from $842 on Momondo to $1125 on Travelocity
($283 difference)

San Francisco to Sydney:

Ranged from $943 on Momondo to $1134 on Hopper
($191 difference)

Chicago to Toronto:

Ranged from $215 on Sky Scanner and Kayak to $247 on Hotwire
($32 difference)

Dallas to Buenos Aires:

Ranged from $1162 on CheapOair to $1772 on Travelocity
($610 difference)

Los Angeles to Atlanta:

Ranged from $321 on CheapOair to $352 on Hopper
($31 difference)

Boston to Cairo:

Ranged from $1156 on Momondo to $1242 on Hopper
($86 difference)

Seattle to Beijing:

Ranged from $667 on Google Flights (I checked that three times to make sure it was correct!) to $1057 on Hopper
($390 difference)

The overall winner for getting the best airfare rates?  Momondo, which had the best airfare on three of the seven trips.

momondo best airfare rates

Further, Momondo had the second best airfare on three of the remaining four trips, meaning there was only one trip in seven where it did not have the best or second best airfare rates.

The biggest loser, which had the highest airfare on four of the seven trips, was Hopper.

best airfare rates

An adjusted ranking of the ten sites from best airfare rates to worst, based solely on my search results, is as follows:

  1. Momondo (3 best, 4 second best)
  2. CheapOair (2 best, 1 second best)
  3. Sky Scanner (1 best, 2 second best)
  4. Google Flights and Kayak – tie (1 best)
  5. Priceline and Expedia – tie (1 second best)
  6. Hotwire (1 worst)
  7. Travelocity (2 worst)
  8. Hopper (4 worst)

Does this change my feelings about Google Flights?  Yeah, a little.  I will probably check Momondo in addition to Google Flights from now on.  (And, if I’m being honest, I’ll probably check Momondo first.)

What about you? Do you have a favorite airfare site?  Have these results changed your mind about where to look for the best airfare rates?

18 Replies to “Where to Find the Best Airfare Rates”

  1. A great help when we’re about to book a bunch of flights, thanks! Normally a SkyScanner girl but I’ll need to look around. Have you tried a VPN to see how that impacts things?

    1. No, I haven’t, so I’m not sure if it would affect the outcome. (I’ll be honest, I had to Google VPN to find out what it is!) I will definitely look into that, though! Thanks!

  2. Ah that’s interesting. I primarily use Kayak and now I think I should look into Momondo, as I have never actually heard of it! But it makes me realize too that I should be trying different ones and comparing, as I could be saving myself money!

  3. I always use skyscanner as they are mostly the cheapest. It is always good to check several tough so i will checkmomondo from now on as well

  4. I am using Momondo and Skyscanner for years already. I never was a friend of Google flights. I like your comparison because it shows that you always have to check multiple websites before booking anything. Thanks for sharing this experiment!

  5. I used to use Momondo, but then switched to Google Flights. I seemed to find that some of the cheap flights on Momondo were not available when I actually went to buy them.

  6. Interesting read. I hadn’t heard of a lot of these as I generally go to skyscanner or the airline websites directly. Will definitely be taking a look at momodo

  7. The reason for having cheaper flights not on Google Flights/Matrix (what I use) is because often credit card companies do promotions with specific OTAs, so the smartest way is to check Matrix for various best dates, options and availability and fare conditions and only then move to OTAs and see correlations and find the cheapest one.

    1. I had never heard of Matrix before now. Curious, I ran the same trips through Matrix and found that it had the best fare for Boston to Cairo at $960. However, it was significantly higher than the lowest prices I found on the other six trips. I will definitely keep it in mind as another potential source when I’m looking for airfare deals, though – thanks for mentioning it!

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