Which is the best flight aggregator?

When it comes to using an online flight aggregator, Skyscanner has been my top pick since I discovered it four years ago. Some days I use it to daydream and search ‘Wellington to anywhere’ as an extreme alternative to my bus to work.

To see what the advantages of other flight aggregator websites might be, I tested eight to compare experiences and see where the best deals were to be found when searching for a one way flight from any airport in New York to any airport in London on 1 June 2016, without checking in luggage and booking two months in advance.

To aid comparison in determining the best flight aggregator I  awarded a ranking system (1= poor, 2 = adequate, 3= great) and judged each flight on four criteria. Scroll to the bottom if you want to skip the details and just see the price summary table.


skyscanner.com

Cheapest flight found (on Travelgenio.com):  

$565NZ
Ukraine International Air
Via Ukraine (stopover 2 hrs 45minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 3
Quality of cheapest flight found = 1
Range of filters available = 2
Quantity of airlines found = 3
Overall score 9/12

In this case was sent to Travelgenio.com to confirm fare was still available (fortunately it was) and book. I like that it is unbiased and free though, as well as very mobile friendly.

Skyscanner offers over 30 languages and 70 currencies and while it hasn’t found the cheapest or best flight path in this instance, however I know from past experience it picks up the budget carriers others may miss.


Skypicker.com

Cheapest flight found:

$501.08NZ
Norwegian Air Shuttles and Ryan Air
Via Copenhagen (stopover 9 hrs 40 minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 2
Quality of cheapest flight found = 2
Range of filters available = 1
Quantity of airlines found = 2
Overall score 7/12

skypicker best flight aggregator kiwi

The stopover in Copenhagen this flight has would realistically allow you to see the highlights of the city and at this price, may be a winner overflying direct for a few dollars extra.

Skypicker is registered in the Czech Republic and claims to be changing the online air travel industry by allowing travellers to find and book the cheapest flights via a data collection and combination algorithm that integrates low-cost flights and classic airlines to create unique and cheaper routes.

When we booked flights on airlines I hadn’t heard of in Asia via Skypicker last year I was concerned about the legitimacy of the site but all turned out ok. I also had to email them to update my passport details when I got a new one shortly prior to departure and found them prompt to reply and friendly and helpful to deal with.

I’ve had a couple of €10 (or equivalent) discount vouchers emailed to me (at Christmas and Valentines Day) with conditions attached but it hasn’t been timely for me to use them.


Kayak.com

Cheapest flight found (found on Skypicker): 

$508.00NZ
Norwegian Air Shuttlea and Ryan Air
Via Copenhagen (stopover 9 hrs 40 minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 2
Quality of cheapest flight found = 2
Range of filters available = 3
Quantity of airlines found = 3
Overall score 9/12

Kayak best flight aggregator

Kayak allows you to search for flights, cars, hotels and trips in 18 languages and after your initial search there are some great ways to refine the results (eg. by aircraft form or by flights with wifi!) and while it might seem helpful that it can search other search aggregators I HATE that they each open in a new window (including on a mobile device) and it doesn’t actually give you a comparison – you have to flick between screens to find the best option.

Quite annoyingly you can’t deselect all airlines at once if you’re looking for the price of a specific one and I had to untick 32 boxes to find the price of one particular (direct) flight I wanted to compare against.

Cheapest flight found:

$507.80NZ
Norwegian Air Shuttles
Direct
Total time 7 hours

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 2
Quality of cheapest flight found = 3
Range of filters available = 1
Quantity of airlines found = 2
Overall score 8/12

Expedia can search flights, hotels, flights + hotels, cars and activities which be great if you’re looking to put together a package in one go. I’ve used it for packages to Australia in the past and like that they have localised site versions.

It only found 17 airlines to choose between while most of the others found 30+.

Cheapest flight found: 

£276 (approx $570.13NZ not including currency exchange fees)
Ukraine International Air
Via Ukraine (stopover 2 hrs 45minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 1
Quality of cheapest flight found = 1
Range of filters available = 2
Quantity of airlines found = 3
Overall score 6/12

Travel Supermarket also offers flights, hotels, car hire and insurance but it only deals in pounds and the search functions are incredibly basic. For these reasons I think this is the first and last time I will visit their site, but the simplicity may suit certain UK peeps.


Google Flight Search (Google.com/flights)

Cheapest Flight Found:

$400US (approx $579.42NZ not including currency exchange fees)
Ukraine International Air
Via Ukraine (stopover 2 hrs 45minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 3
Quality of cheapest flight found = 1
Range of filters available = 2
Quantity of airlines found = 3
Overall score 9/12

Google flights best flight aggregator

You’d kind of expect Google to find the cheapest flights given it’s backed by the biggest search engine on the planet. Based on this exercise this appears to not be the case but it pulled the results at lightning speed and refreshed automatically as I changed parameters which I loved.

I like that it prompted me to choose a flight a day earlier to save US $84 and that you can leave return date and destination open. However it doesn’t seem to deal in NZD, defaulting to USD and you can’t book directly from here.

I also learnt you can enter your departure airport and see fight options all over a world map and decide where you want to go!


Momondo

Cheapest Flight Found:

$518.00NZ
Norwegian Air Shuttlea and Ryan Air
Via Copenhagen (stopover 9 hrs 40 minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 3
Quality of cheapest flight found = 1
Range of filters available = 2
Quantity of airlines found = 3
Overall score 9/12

Momondo logo

The best value flight it found was a direct flight with United for $579.12 leaving Newark at 8.45am and arriving at Heathrow at 8.50pm.

Momondo searches across airlines, travel sites and low cost carriers to find the best flight deals and directs the user to the companies selling them for free.

I’d never visited the Momondo website before but to me it had the best looking interface including clear graphical information showing when it would be cheaper to travel in the month. Despite Momondo not picking up the cheapest flight I am converted and will likely use it (as well as others) to search for flights or hotels in the future.


Hipmunk

Cheapest Flight Found:

£269.71 (approx $558.88NZ not including currency exchange fees)
Ukraine International Air
Via Ukraine (stopover 2 hrs 45minutes)
Total time 16 hours, 5 minutes

Score:

Site (quality, easy of use and functionality) = 2
Quality of cheapest flight found = 1
Range of filters available = 1
Quantity of airlines found = 3
Overall score 7/12

I hadn’t even heard of Hipmunk and they’re another who doesn’t deal in NZD (though they do offer the major world currencies). They search for flights, hotels, cars and travel packages across thousands of travel websites and flight providers, including Airbnb which could save you a packet too. It displays results really visually which makes it very easy to see flight times, providers and costs and weigh them up and I love that you can sort flights by ‘agony’ which is a combination of price, duration and number of stops.

Their ‘About Us’ page makes Hipmunk look like a neat San Francisco workplace and Ashton Kutcher is an investor.


In Summary – which is the best flight aggregator?

  • Many of the sites scored quite similarly but had strengths in different areas
  • The same two flight options came up again and again with minor variances in price
  • The best flight was found by Expedia – not only the second cheapest (by less than $7) but also direct. If a long-stopover in Copenhagen seemed appealing however you’d be better off booking through Skypicker.
  • In some cases the prices initially displayed were out of date  and I had to go back and get a refreshed price which was higher. This is super annoying and makes those displaying live rates much less frustrating.
  • In this case the flights found by all eight aggregators were within an $80 price range of each other. The lesson is probably to consult several and find the best option for you.
Provider Cheapest flight found
Skypicker Norwegian Air Shuttle/ Ryan Air via Copenhagen $501.08NZ
Expedia Norwegian Air Shuttle (direct) $507.80
Kayak Norwegian Air Shuttle/ Ryan Air via Copenhagen $508NZ
Momondo Norwegian Air Shuttle/ Ryan Air via Copenhagen $518NZ
Hipmunk Ukraine International Air $558.88NZ
Skyscanner Ukraine International Air $565NZ
Travel Supermarket Ukraine International Air $570.13NZ
Google Flights Ukraine International Air $579.42NZ

Which do you think is the best flight aggregator on the internet?

Pinterest pin with airline wing in clouds best flight aggregator

Please note this is not the result of extensive research – just a single scenario on one date. Do your own research to get the best deal for you on the day.

4 Comments

  1. Alisha
    April 29, 2016 / 9:43 am

    I’d never heard of any of these before! They seem so helpful, so thank you!

    Alisha x

  2. April 14, 2016 / 11:52 pm

    This is so helpful! I didn’t know about a few of these. Kayak and Hopper are my primary ones!