Finding (more) cheap flights with Kayak

People knowing me know about my weakness when it comes to travel itineraries. I spend hours and hours, sometimes days or even weeks with finding the optimal itinerary. As such, when I was looking for flights to GNOME.Asia Summit, I had an argument over the cheapest and most comfortable flight. When I was told that a cheaper and better flight existed that I didn’t find, I refused to accept it as I saw my pride endangered. As it turned out, there were more flights than I knew of.

Kayak seems to give you different results depending on what site you actually open. I was surprised to learn that.

Here is the evidence: (you probably have to open that with a wide monitor or scroll within the image)
Kayak per country

In the screenshot, you can see that on the left hand side kayak.de found 1085 flights. It also found the cheapest one rated at 614 EUR. That flight, marked with the purple “1”, was also found by kayak.com and kayak.ie at different, albeit similar prices. In any case, that flight has a very long layover. The next best flight kayak.de returned was rated at 687 EUR. The other two Kayaks have that flight, marked with the green “3”, at around 730 EUR, almost 7% more than on the German site. The German Kayak does not have the Ethiad flight, marked with the blueish “2”, at 629 as the Irish one does! The American Kayak has that flight at 731 EUR, which is a whopping 17% of a difference. I actually haven’t checked whether the price difference persists when actually booking the flights. However, I couldn’t even have booked the Ethiad flight if I didn’t check other Kayak versions.

Lessons learnt: Checking one Kayak is not enough to find all good flights.

In addition to Kayak, I like to the the ITA Travel Matrix as it allows to greatly customise the queries. It also has a much more sane interface than Kayak. The prices are not very accurate though, as far as I could tell from my experiments. It can give you an idea of what connections are cheap, so you can use that information for, e.g. Kayak. Or, for that other Web site that I use: Skyscanner. It allows to list flights for a whole months or for a whole country instead of a specific airport.

What tools do you use to check for flights?

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8 Responses to “Finding (more) cheap flights with Kayak”

  1. Thomas says:

    I use https://www.google.fr/flights/ … the only google service I use :-)

  2. Anon says:

    As Thomas said Google Flights is a bit easier to use compared to ITA Travel Matrix even though I presume they are using the same backend (e.g. Flights will sometimes recommend nearby cheaper flights unprompted).

    If you’re into your statistics and your route is popular you can also try Momondo.

    Given how prices can change by hour of the day and week of the year the best advice is don’t try too hard…

  3. good to know! personally I use something called ‘momondo':
    Momondo: http://momondo.com/

  4. Rémi Cardona says:

    Some sites will even show you different prices (usually going up) if you’re a returning visitor. I have seen different prices with and without private browsing for the same search parameters.

  5. Oliver Propst says:

    Great read. I use flygresor.se its a Swedish site with a great, easy to use interface.

  6. bb says:

    rome2rio.com

  7. goodmami says:

    I’ve recently come across “momondo.com” as well, and been fairly satisfied. Until then I’ve only really used matrix.itasoftware.com and maybe skyscanner.com. Once I’ve gotten an idea of which airlines have good flights, I then check the individual airlines’ website. Also, be careful if you check the same site with the same computer on multiple occassions/days, as there might be “personalization” services regarding airfare (i.e. “oh no! the price is going up! I’d better buy them soon!”)

  8. Ashwani Attri says:

    Thank you for these really amazing tips. I never knew these stuff. You made travel a lot more easier for me. I used to get really confused while making my travel plan. These sites are awesome, I’ll definitely use them. Thank you again !!! :)