Find cheap flights with Skyscanner (Part 1)

Skyscanner is one of my favourite travel tools and I use it extensively to find the best deals on flights. It’s a standard comparison tool in some ways in that it searches all the different airlines and booking agents so you can review all your options in one place – but it also contains various other nifty features. Never go directly to one airline’s website to search for flights or you’ll miss the chance to see other flights for the same airports, as well as cheaper prices.

I previously mentioned Skyscanner in my post on how to find cheap flights, but I promised to go into it in further detail. In this first part I’ll just go over the basics of running a search and picking the best result. Everything below will be based on using the full website at http://www.skyscanner.net/ – apps are also available and contain a lot of these features, but not quite everything.

Part 1: The basics

First lets do a very simple search – load up Skyscanner and make sure you have ‘Flights’ and ‘Return’ selected. Enter any home and destination airports, your dates, number of passengers. You can also choose to search other nearby airports and to search direct flights only by using the checkboxes underneath – then hit ‘Search flights’.

skyscanner_basics

The results will then start loading – make sure you wait until the blue bar at the top has stopped moving so you know it has finished searching. They will automatically display from cheapest to most expensive. You can use the options in the left side panel to filter down your results to appropriate times, number of stops, departure airports (especially important for London if you don’t fancy a trip to Stansted) and airline. If the airports in the results are highlighted orange, beware – you’ll be returning to a different airport than the one you left.

skyscanner_results

skyscanner_pricesSelect any flight to see full details (including any stops) and a list of websites you can buy it from. Here is another place to be careful – direct from airlines and Expedia is fine, but certain booking agents which offer the very cheapest prices cut corners. For example, not letting you know if your flight times have changed – which is not helpful if you turn up at the airport only to find your plane already left an hour ago. If you’re not familiar with the company it’s worth doing a quick search on tripadvisor – and if you’re still uncertain, it’s worth spending a few extra pounds on a more well known name.

Just click through to whichever website you want, enter your details and you’ve got your flight!

In summary:

  1. Enter your home & destination airports, dates and passengers on the first page. Click ‘Search flights’.
  2. Wait for the blue bar to disappear, then review all flight options. Use the filters on the left to narrow down the results.
  3. Click any flight to view full details and a list of booking agents.
  4. Click the booking agent (being careful of the nasty companies mentioned above), enter your details and buy!

Coming next time…

  • Cheapest month
  • Fly everywhere
  • Multi-city

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