Skyscanner is a global search engine that compares prices for flights, hotels and rental cars. Named one of the top nine travel sites by the Daily Telegraph, it has upwards of 50 million visitors monthly. Skyscanner is headquartered in Scotland and has offices in locations all around the world.
When you go to the website or use the phone app, you have the option to do a search by destination with all the usual criteria, such as round trip or one way, number of travelers and children, travel class, etc. Filters include number of stops, duration, times, airlines, multi-party bookings and airports. The search results will tell you what the cheapest, second and third cheapest, shortest and second and third shortest flights are. A rating number with a smiley face next to it ranks the flight from worst to best (1-10) based on flight duration, number of stops and price.
Another option for flights is the ‘everywhere’ destination option, which shows you a map with red and green dots which then give you the cheapest price for that destination when you scan or click over them. This would be a great tool for someone trying to decide where to go on vacation at the last minute, or just comparing possible destinations. Skyscanner gives it’s own rating- both a number rating from 1-10, and good, very good or excellent- based on user ratings.
The rental car option gives price and car details, such as size, make and designates certain options with ‘good rating’ and ‘cheapest’. Clicking on each result will take you to the rental providers which are also ranked with numbers and corresponding happy or sad faces.
After finding the options that sound best for you, Skyscanner sends you to the site offering the price to complete the booking process. Or you can log on to the provider’s site at your own convenience. As always, it is necessary to use judgement and take care with third party booking. The negative ratings I read about Skyscanner were all just regarding problems with relatively unknown, non mainstream providers. What impressed me favorably was that Skyscanner responds to these and shows a willingness to get involved and sort out any problems with these providers. The user reviews for Skyscanner are mostly 5 star and very enthusiastic.
Skyscanner tracks 100s of airlines, hotels, car rentals and travel agents. All booking is made through those providers and Skyscanner does not take payments or make bookings.
There is an option to track a flight or deal that you want to follow, by signing up for daily price update emails. There is a free weekly newsletter and the website has helpful information such as a guide to finding last minute deals.
The site is multilingual, offering information in 30 languages.
Skyscanner has received multiple awards from the travel industry and in an experiment ran by the newspaper The Guardian for finding cheap flights, Skyscanner beat larger rivals Expedia and Travelocity.