The 5 Best Airfare Sites

When choosing among the best airfare sites, price is typically the main concern. However, there are other important factors to consider when you’re deciding which service to use. Powerful search tools make a big difference in finding exactly what you’re looking for. Travelers who don’t have specific travel constraints, for example, can conduct flexible date searches and have a much better chance of finding a low rate. Members of frequent flyer programs can limit their results by airline if they’re trying to earn more rewards points. Some companies also give you the option to mix and match airline carriers in order to earn even more savings. All of these capabilities make a big difference in the overall quality of your booking experience, so they shouldn’t be underestimated when choosing where to begin your search. Explore the five companies on this list to find the best flight booking site for you.

Priceline stands out as one of the best places to get airfare deals in large part because of their bidding service, which lets you choose how much you want to pay for your flight. You won’t get to choose your flight times or airlines beforehand when you use the Name Your Own Price® tool but, if keeping costs to a minimum is your top priority, this may be a sacrifice you’re willing to make. Bidding enables you to save up to 40% off your flight costs and you’ll usually end up on nonstop or single-stop flights. And, you’re guaranteed to fly on one of Priceline’s partner airlines between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. If you’d rather have complete control over when you fly, conduct a targeted search. You can narrow results by specific airlines and choose alternate departure and return dates. If it’s more cost-effective, you also have the option to select different airlines for your departing and return flights. Most travel booking sites don’t give you this option, so it’s not to be undervalued. When you’ve found the perfect flight, you can book it and choose your seats right away.

Like Priceline, CheapTickets allows you to mix and match airlines in order to find the best possible prices. Start by filling in basic information about your trip and running a search. If you have specific travel constraints, use the filters to narrow the results by selecting flight times and the number of stops. Members of frequent flyer programs are going to appreciate the ability to sort or browse by airline. Another nice thing about CheapTickets’ flight search tool is that they save all your recent searches so you can come back to them at any time. They also make it easy to compare prices by conveniently listing the cheapest price at the top of the results page along with a matrix listing the most affordable rates offered by each airline. Tools like these are extremely useful to travelers on a budget and can significantly decrease the amount of time spent looking for a good deal.

CheapAir is also one of the best airfare sites and shares many similar features with CheapTickets. They store your previous searches so you can easily return to them, and their filtering tools are valuable when it comes to finding flights that fit your schedule and budget. When you search, you’re brought to a list where you can narrow your results by specific airlines or choose to mix and match carriers to get a better deal. The options for departing and return flights are presented in a list with information about the number of stops, departure and arrival times, amenities included on the flight, and, of course, price. All you have to do is choose what you want and complete your purchase. If you need to modify your search, you can do so right on the results page. CheapAir’s Price Drop Payback is also good news for budget-conscious travelers because it means you’ll be refunded if your flight goes down in price after you book it. Few other sites offer a guarantee like this, so it’s worth checking into.

CheapOair finishes off the list of the best places to get great airfare deals. Though they don’t give you the chance to mix and match carriers, they still offer plenty of ways to locate the right flights. Search flexible dates and times for a better chance of finding the cheapest rates or just browse through some of the featured deals on the website. CheapOair has special pages of the website dedicated to flights under $199, first-class flights, red-eye flights, and more. You can also browse through available options by region. This is a good way to find cheap airfare rates you may not have come across in a targeted search. If you want to save even more with CheapOair, consider signing up for their email newsletters, which contain members-only deals on all types of travel arrangements.

KAYAK earns a place on this list for being one of the best airline comparison sites in the industry. Their detailed search tools give you the opportunity to focus your search on just those results that fit your criteria. You’re able to choose specific travel days and times and even your cabin class. If you can afford to be flexible with your travel plans, KAYAK can be an even bigger help. Search flexible dates and add nearby airports to increase your chances of finding an affordable rate. Because KAYAK is a travel search engine, all the results you see on their website are pulled from other travel sites, so you’ll have to go to the site you end up choosing to complete the booking process. Remember, this still saves you time because you don’t need to run searches on every single travel site. If you want, though, you do have the option to compare rates to those offered by other companies by selecting companies to compare when you run your search. These results will open in separate windows. Once you’ve booked your flight, you can track its status, look up baggage fees, and get access to airport maps via KAYAK’s website or their mobile app.