Having worked for an airline, I understand the cost constraint that scoffs many a trips before they materialize. Wishes whiffed against the ever rising ticket prices. Just do a random search for booking tickets to any destination of your choice and you would be overwhelmed with a string of results across multiple sites. From travel agents to tour operators every middle man vying for his pie of your wallet.
So how does one travel smart in a world of choices and information overload?
It was through a friend who works for Dell that I first came across Skyscanner , the world’s fastest growing travel-search site. My friend at British Airways was equally enthusiastic about the travel search engine receiving a major cash boost after Silicon Valley venture capital group Sequioa Capital took a stake in the business in 2013, valuing the company at £493m.
And what’s even better – it is a free app!
Driven by smart algorithms, Skyscanner limits the role of middleman in flight booking transactions thus passing on the benefits to the passenger. Scouting a plethora of potential carriers, routes and flights, it helps the traveller make a smart choice! The broader search categories allow you to fine tune searches to let you know if it’s economical to book one way tickets on separate airlines rather than a round-trip on single carrier. If you are looking for accommodation and car rentals too then you need not look any further as that feature is also there in Skyscanner. As someone who has a handy knowledge of tourism sector, I would suggest exploring these wonderful free features before you consider buying a tour package from a certain operator. It’s time we play our own tour planner!
Let’s take an example of booking a return trip to Wellington from New Delhi. Why New Zealand? Well, the middle earth has always been a dream destination for me and one of these days I am destined to fly there. From Glowworms at Ruakuri Caves to the home of the Hobbits in Middle earth, I have been fed high on Lonely Planet briefs, it is time I take the plunge.
Now, to travel to New Zealand, an approximate 35 hour apart in a different hemisphere altogether is a tricky task – not in terms of sheer planning but also the best flight deals available.
Step 1: Download Skyscanner on your smartphone/tablet. (Yes, the sheer number of downloads and rave reviews on Android play store and iOS can’t be wrong.) Choose destination and departing airport, Delhi and Wellington in my case.
Opt for multiple stops as direct flights cost more.
Step 2: Under the settings tab, choose country as India and INR for currency.
Step 3: You will receive ticket prices from various carriers – use options to sort on the basis of time or price.
Step 4: Alternatively you may also check for one way ticket(s) from Delhi to Wellington and Wellington to Delhi and see if the aggregated price is lesser than return fare. In our case the return trip is economical.
Let’s also check for some alternate dates: 14th October – 29th October
It can be seen that weekend prices are way too higher than that of weekdays. The ideal time to bag the best-price flights is about five weeks in advance, as per the research done by Skyscanner for flights from Great Britain.
From smart charts that compare day on flight prices to email alerts for prices, the utilities are never ending from Skyscanner.
I am keeping my fingers crossed for flying to Kiwi land, here’s hoping you save on those tickets too with Skyscanner:)