Cheap Flights: My Favourite Aggregators and Sites
After finding cheap flights all around Oceania, Europe, and North Africa I have become a bit of an expert on how to get yourself the cheapest flights possible (hint: the Internet is your friend).
I recently gave 9 Tips for Hacking Cheap Flights. But I’m not all talk, in this post I show you to baseline the most you want to pay for a flight using various booking engines and aggregators using an example.
Let’s use a case study
I’m currently planning a trip to Central and South America. Flying out of Perth, then flying back from somewhere in South America to Perth. I’d like to travel overland for 3 or 4 months around Latin America. Because I have to be in Lima on August 1st for the Inca Rally, it might be worth flying into somewhere like Santiago, heading North, then East, before coming home.
You with me? Let’s see what I can find online.
Start With the Well-Known Aggregators
It completely depends on where your departure and arrival airports are, for which site is best.
Coming from Australia, the number of websites and aggregators out there that are actually helpful to me are limited.
For example NomadicMatt wrote a post on
Let’s look at Kayak first, one of my favourites because of their friendly user interface:
- you can change your currency,
- when you’d like to depart & arrive,
- compare with other aggregators
It also supports my nearest airport (PER), which is great, but the prices are just too high (Perth to Santiago for $3,144).
The best feature of Kayak, is Kayak Explore (also
Next up Google Flights… well, they just need to improve that baby. No support for Perth.
HipMunk is pretty cool. It shows you all the airlines and their code sharing, as well as the prices straight away. Except, it’s just not cheap enough (Perth to Santiago $2,898).
See Who Flies Where
One thing about Hipmunk, it’s a nice baseline for who flies the routes we’re interested in (Qantas, LAN, Emirates, Jetstar, Air New Zealand, and Cathay Pacific to name a few).
Also notice the stopover points. Layovers at Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Gold Coast, Los Angeles, John F Kennedy, and Hong Kong — depending on the route you choose.
It’s fantastic that all this information can be gleamed from one screen, even if the prices are not favourable.
Another way to monitor who is flying where is using this
Keep Cross-Checking for a Baseline
CheapOair.com if the name is anything to go by, they should be the best… and take a look at the flights, at least from this initial search they look pretty good. $2123 is a nice baseline to start trying to narrow down a result. Keep that in mind. Aerolineas Argentinas, Sky Airline, Virgin Blue, and Qantas all with flights around the same price.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what your favourite is, you should be cross-checking results against the majority of aggregators. A few short minutes work, and you can determine where to start looking for your next flight hacking savings.
My absolute favourite aggregator to use as a baseline is SkyScanner. Their user interface shows prices with entirely flexible dates. For example: You want to fly from Perth (PER) to Santiago (SCL) sometime this year. You know such a long trip (flight time 25-34 hours.. depending on layovers) is going to cost a bundle. So, you want to be flexible with the dates to get the cheapest price.
After Establishing the Baseline
Now that we’ve established a baseline (what the going rate is for a flight from Perth to Santiago), we can start trying to find a better deal. Doing things like
- subscribing to promotional newsletters
- being flexible with dates (enter: SkyScanner)
- researching airports, stopovers, and alternate routes
- checking foreign sites and currencies (including reverse checking)
- calling the airline directly
- utilizing rewards programs frequent flyer miles
* header image (cc)