Want to find cheap flights without having to spend hours searching online? Skyscanner is a flight search engine based in Edinburgh, Scotland that searches thousands of online travel agencies and booking sites for the cheapest flights, hotels, and car rentals.
But is Skyscanner legit, and can you trust it to help you compare flights? Join us for an honest breakdown of what Skyscanner is, how it works, and how it stacks up against similar options.
How Does Skyscanner Work?
First, let’s take a closer look at the different features that Skyscanner brings to the table. The good news is that Skyscanner is incredibly easy to use, whether you want to search flights, book a hotel, or find a great deal on a car rental.
How to Use Skyscanner to Find Flight Deals
When you first arrive on the website, you have the option of creating a free account by clicking on the “log in” tab on the upper right-hand side of the screen. Even if you choose to proceed as a guest, make sure you click on the icon to the left of the login, so you can set your preferred language, home country, and currency.
If you know when and where you want to go, simply fill in the details and select what class of airfare you’d prefer. One thing that makes Skyscanner a cool option for digital nomads and flexible travelers is that you can also find deals using much more open-ended search criteria.
If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, you can search flights to literally everywhere or narrow it down to multi-city travel options. You can also use Skyscanner to search for the best deals on specific dates or during entire months.
Whether you want to fly first-class or save money by booking a flight in economy, simply select your choice from the dropdown menu. Specify the number of travelers who need a ticket for your trip, hit search, and wait for the magic to begin.
If you choose an open-ended search, Skyscanner will present you with a list of options from all over the world. You can then use the filters at the top to arrange your results by cheapest flight, direct flights, recommendations for you, or destinations with the lowest restrictions.
Now, let’s imagine your trip plans are a little more specific and you’ve decided you want to fly from Los Angeles to London, but aren’t quite sure when. Skyscanner has got your back when it comes to finding flight dates with the best deals and highlighting them using a handy color coding system.
Last but not least, let’s check out what happens when you have specific dates in mind. Simply enter them into the Skyscanner search engine and your results will look a little something like this.
You can use the dropdown menu at the top to sort them by cheapest flight, fastest flight, or departure/arrival times. Over on the left-hand side, you’ll find further customization options that allow you to filter your search results by everything from specific airlines to how many stops you are or aren’t willing to endure along the way.
Not quite ready to book your ticket just yet? If you want to stay on the lookout for cheaper flights that pop up during your desired travel dates, then consider creating a price alert.
If Skyscanner spots cheap tickets or great flight deals for your desired dates, they’ll send you an alert to let you know. If you are ready to book, however, then move on to the next option.
Select the deal you’re interested in from the flight search options, and you’ll be taken to a page like this, where you’ll find all your actual booking options. While Skyscanner includes ratings alongside each airline or travel agency, this is where it’s important to do your due diligence.
While you’ll usually find travel deals from sites you’re familiar with, don’t be shy about researching the ones you aren’t. Upon selecting a deal from a reputable third-party booking platform, you’ll be redirected to the platform itself to finalize your ticket purchase.
Simply fill in your contact information, verify your flight details, and fill in the necessary payment information to book your next trip. If you do choose to check out the deals available from booking platforms you’re not familiar with, make sure to check for hidden fees and confirm the cancelation policy of the airline, just in case.
How to Find the Cheapest Month to Fly
If you want to visit a certain city or country, but aren’t sure when the cheapest time to fly may be, then try this fun Skyscanner hack. Click the “explore” tab from the menu at the bottom of the site and make a selection based on the country, city, or airport of your choice.
On the next page, scroll down past the few initial flight deals that will appear. About midway down the page, you’ll discover a handy chart that breaks down the cheapest month to book flights.
Click on the cheapest month and you’ll find a calendar breakdown that lists the cheapest flight on each date. Or select the “chart” option to get an overview of which dates have the best deals overall.
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights
Find Great Deals on Hotels and Car Rentals
After you’ve finalized your round-trip flight details, you can also use Skyscanner to find the best deal on hotels and car rentals during your stay. The entire process is pretty similar to finding flights but less open-ended, so you’ll need to enter where you’re going and when.
You’ll then be presented with a list of hotels that you can filter using options such as price, star rating, reviews, cancellation policy, and more. Once you’ve narrowed it down, use the menu at the top to arrange your hotel results by price, review, star rating, or proximity to nearby airports or landmarks.
You’ll also find an interactive map on the right-hand side that gives you an idea of where each hotel is located, along with its price. Simply click on any options that interest you to jump to them in the search results.
Much like when searching for flights, when you click on the option of your choice, you’ll be redirected to the website with the lowest rate. If you look closely at each listing, you’ll see you can also choose from various booking platforms at the bottom by clicking the one you prefer.
Using Skyscanner to Find a Cheap Car Rental
Skyscanner has everything you need to find flights, hotels, and car hire options all in one place. Just select the car rentals tab, type in when and where you want to pick up your rental, and the date and time you want to return it.
On the next page, you’ll be able to use the map or filters to narrow down your options based on nearby airports, the number of seats, and more. Yet again, you’ll be directed to a third-party site to make the actual booking, so stay on the alert for scammy websites.
The cool thing about Skyscanner is that you can even use it to find the best deals on rental cars in your hometown, even if you don’t plan on taking a flight anytime soon. On the car rental homepage, you can choose your hometown from a selection of cities to get a look at the best deals on car rentals near you.
Is Skyscanner Reliable?
The truth is, it’s possible to get two completely different opinions on Skyscanner, depending on who you ask. And given that the site is now used by 100 million people each month and available in 30 languages, you’ll find plenty of differing responses regarding who you ask.
In order to understand the difference in opinions, you first need to understand exactly what Skyscanner is and isn’t. As we’ve tried to lay out, Skyscanner is a meta-search engine that constantly combs the internet in search of the best deals on travel.
Skyscanner isn’t an airline website in itself, but a travel fare aggregator that pulls together the best deals from other online travel agencies and presents them for your perusal. In other words, they don’t actually come up with the prices; they just help you find the right ones.
You might find flights from larger online travel agencies like Expedia or Kiwi, but also from smaller, more questionable agencies like MyTrip.com or GotoGate.com. Many of the least flattering Skyscanner reviews come from travelers who have ended up attempting to take advantage of the “deals” offered by less-reputable online travel agents, only to discover the terrible truth about them firsthand.
The bottom line is that while Skyscanner itself is a totally legit company, its search engine doesn’t always filter out less-than-stellar third-party agents. While it can be a great way to find cheap flights and more, it’s essential to do your own due diligence and check out the companies behind its search results before booking.
Pros and Cons
Much like other platforms, Skyscanner has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Based on our experiences and reviews, here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons you can expect when you use Skyscanner.
- Skyscanner combs through thousands of flights worldwide to present you with the best options at the best prices.
- You can use the multi-city flight search options to find the best booking option for various destinations in the same time frame.
- The “Everywhere” search option is a cool way to check out prices on sites all over the world during a specific time frame.
- You can also use Skyscanner to book hotels and rental cars for your trip, complete with search options that include proximity to different airports or landmarks.
- When you take the time to learn how to best use the website, Skyscanner can genuinely save you a great deal of money on travel.
- Much like Google Flights, Skyscanner is a flight search engine that redirects you to a third-party site to complete your actual booking.
- Some of the third-party booking sites it suggests are much more reputable than others, so be sure to do your own due diligence.
- Given that you can’t make a booking directly through Skyscanner, it has very few customer service options. That said, it does offer helpful information that can help you contact the airline or booking agent you used.
Now that you’ve got a feel for how Skyscanner works, let’s see how it stacks up in a number of categories. While we ultimately encourage you to decide for yourself whether or not Skyscanner is right for you, here are our opinions based on user reviews and personal experience.
The Final Verdict: Is Skyscanner Legit?
Yes, very much so – there’s a reason so many of us at ViaTravelers regularly use Skyscanner. Overall, we gave Skyscanner a 4.5 out of 5 based on various factors. Not only is the website completely free to use, but it also makes it incredibly easy to find great prices on flights from airlines all over the world.
As mentioned, your experience with Skyscanner will likely come down to how well you understand what it is and what it’s intended to do. Think of it less as a booking site and more as the Amazon of travel – while you can use it to find great deals, it’s important to be aware that you may also come across a few less scrupulous sellers along the way.