If you travel a lot, you are probably aware that the UK is known for very affordable airline ticket prices. One of the reasons for this is the sheer number of airlines flying in and out of Heathrow, Gatwick and some of the other airports in the country. However, just because cheap prices are common does not mean you don't have to look for them.
In the old days, finding the best price on airline tickets meant calling each individual airline or paying a travel agent to do the work for you. Convenience was not a high priority among service providers. But today we have the advantage of searching online.
For example, making life easier for the regular traveller are comparison sites and online travel agents that allow you to shop for the best prices on domestic and national flights using your computer and Internet connection. Four of the top sites in this category are:
Skyscanner claims to compare prices from among 1,000 airlines servicing more than 1 million routes. In addition to searching for airline prices on their website, you can take advantage of their smart phone app available for IOS, Android, and Windows. The company site says more than 6 million people now use the app.
This site also excels in the number of helpful tools it offers. Two examples are the monthly bar charts and calendars; tools making it easy to find out which days are cheapest to fly to specific destinations. skyscanner.com is consistently one of the best at living up to their promise of finding cheap prices on flights.
As comparison sites have sprung up there has become a need to even compare those sites that compare others to ensure your covering as much of the market as possible. While some may laugh at the idea of comparing the comparers, it is actually not a bad idea to ensure you cover as many deals as possible. Without a site such as this consumers can be left with an overwhelming list of sites to use to compare everything not just flights.
Comparing flight comparison sites with www.momondo.com gives you a viable solution for preselecting a few sites to use for booking both - granted one can usually follow the other. So it's worth seeing what each comparison site has to offer in terms of number of providers searched and savings on offer at any time of year.
Expedia is an internationally known travel site with a tag line that reads, ‘people shaped travel’. Expedia offers the opportunity to search for flights only, or combine flights with hotels and rental cars. They offer benefits like no change or cancellation fees, access to more than 300 airlines, and a virtually unlimited number of package combinations.
The main advantage of Expedia is that it is more than just a comparison website; it is an online travel agent. This means you can find your flights and book in the same place. Their main disadvantage is the fact that they are weak in the domestic and short-haul markets. Expedia is best for long-haul flights and complete holiday packages.
Travelsupermarket is part of the MoneySupermarket group most UK web users are familiar with. The site is a great place for DIY quotes for everything from single airline tickets to fully comprehensive holidays. It works just as you'd expect: enter your departure city and destination, your travel dates, and the number of passengers. Submit the form and you're on your way.
Travel Supermarket was awarded Silver status in the 2012 British Travel Awards. However, be advised that it is a comparison site in the truest sense of the word. Once you choose your deal, you will have to book directly with the service provider. What's more, the service provider may not offer you the quoted price.
LastMinute was established in 1998, going on to be one of the UK's most successful online retail businesses. Like some of their competitors, they are an online travel agent as well as a comparison website. What sets them apart is their emphasis on special daily deals that appeal to last-minute travellers.
You can search and book flights only or include other options like, car rentals, and complete holiday packages. With Last Minute you can even search entertainment options like theatre, dining, and spa experiences. If you want flights only, this site is probably overkill. However, if you are looking for the total package, it is hard to do better.
The five sites we have listed here are by no means your only choices. We have chosen them because they are among the most used in the UK. That said, you might also consider others including:
Please be aware that airline prices change on a daily basis and can depend on everything from fuel prices to international politics. The prices you find today may not be the same tomorrow. And as always, the closer you get to your departure date the higher the prices tend to be.