Score the best flight deals with a few swipes on your smartphone.
By Maryalene LaPonsie
Oct. 7, 2019
FLYING IS FAST AND efficient, but it isn’t necessarily cheap. Average fares out of Los Angeles International Airport were $336.13 in the first quarter of 2019, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Travelers from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport paid $380.41 on average, while flights out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were calculated at $406.63. Whether you frequently fly solo or are planning a vacation for your family, flight costs can quickly add up. However, you may be able to secure the lowest rates and net the best flight deals with the right apps.
Best Mobile Apps for Flight Deals
Here are the best apps for getting cheap flights:
Compatible with Android and Apple devices, Kiwi searches prices for more than 700 airlines to piece together the lowest-priced itinerary. The free app also offers the opportunity to search for all deals from a specific airport, which can be handy for those who are ready to take a vacation but don’t have a particular destination in mind. What’s more, Kiwi claims its service can save travelers up to 90% on flight prices.
While Priceline started as a third-party booking website, more than half its bookings now come through its mobile app, says Devon Nagle, head of communications for Priceline. “Because mobile is such a central feature of travel planning and booking, we’ve put extensive effort into making the searching and booking experience as seamless as possible,” he explains.
One advantage of the app is its exclusive flight deals. With the Express Deals function, Priceline claims people can save as much as 50%. The catch is that users won’t receive their exact departure and arrival times until after they purchase tickets. Until then, they will only be given an approximate arrival or departure time, such as in the early morning. The Priceline app is free and compatible with Android and Apple devices.
With Momondo, users can search for specific flights or explore travel options to trending cities and countries. The app, which is free and compatible with Android and Apple devices, also has an “Anywhere Search” feature for those who don’t have a specific destination in mind. It allows users to select “anywhere” as an arrival destination and explore flight prices to various regions.
What’s more, Momondo’s price calendar makes it simple to see if there are cheaper flights available on different days, and the app has a price guarantee. If customers find a better deal within 24 hours of booking through Momondo, they can receive a refund of the price difference.
Travelzoo’s app promises users access to cheap flights that can’t be found elsewhere. “For overseas flights in particular, the Travelzoo app is a great resource to find discounts on first and business class airfare that are privately negotiated and not always advertised,” says Gabe Saglie, editor at large at Travelzoo. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, Travelzoo’s free app (compatible with Android and Apple devices) can help pinpoint local deals for restaurants and entertainment. According to Travelzoo, users can save up to 65% off travel and local deals.
Antonio Evans, head of product at social media management service Socialdraft.com, says Rome2Rio is one of his go-to apps for finding cheap flights. During a recent European trip, he was able to book an itinerary that took from him from Split to Pula, Croatia, with a 48-hour stop in the Croatian island of Pag before ending up in Venice, Italy. “It was insane but all done without a travel agent using Rome2Rio,” he says.
A unique benefit of the free app, which is compatible with Android and Apple devices, is that it searches for low-cost itineraries that combine multiple modes of transportation, including plane, rail, ferry, bus and car services. For this reason, it may be especially useful for international travel where these options are plentiful.
Travelers can use Skyscanner’s calendar and charts to compare hundreds of flights for both international and domestic destinations. It highlights flights that emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, lets users mix and match flights from different carriers and offers a search option that allows travelers to find the best prices for flights originating from their chosen airport. Best of all, the app is free and compatible with both Android and Apple devices.
The travel app Hipmunk operates on the premise that time is money, and the lowest price may not be worth the cost if a flight is long and uncomfortable. “Let’s get you the best flight for your needs at the cheapest price,” says Kelly Soderlund, a spokesperson for Hipmunk. “How much are you saving if you have a five hour layover?”
Hipmunk, which is free and compatible with Android and Apple devices, automatically sorts results based on a metric called “Agony,” which takes into account price, stops, flight duration and on-time performance. Users can also sort by price and search results highlighting flight amenities such as Wi-Fi, entertainment and legroom.
Sometimes, getting the cheapest price on a flight comes down to when you book your travel. Hopper analyzes flight data to predict when prices will be at their lowest. You can simply sign up for price alerts and then book tickets through the app. What’s more, Hopper is free and compatible with Apple and Android devices and claims to have 95% accuracy up to a year in advance of a travel date. According to Hopper, travelers typically save an average of $50 per flight and savings can be as much as 40% off.