When searching for cheap flights, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Thanks to its ease of use, broad search capability, and track record of finding great flight deals, it ranks right up there with some of our other favorite flight search engines.
Here's how we make the most out of searching with Skyscanner.
How does Skyscanner work?
Similar to Google Flights and Momondo, Skyscanner aggregates the results from hundreds of other OTAs (online travel agencies) and airlines to find the best results. Once you find a flight that you like, you will book directly with the specific airline or OTA. It is another great tool for being able to search many flight options at one time to meet your needs best.
Why we like Skyscanner
Flexible destination searches
You're able to search for both broad and specific results, whether it be flying to an entire country, a specific city, or a particular airport.
Fly to "everywhere" option
If you just need to get away and aren’t picky about where you travel to, you can use Skyscanner's “Everywhere” button to pull flight results from anywhere in the world within your budget.
Cheapest month search
Similarly, if you aren’t picky about when you travel, you can search by entire months, or choose Skyscanner's “Cheapest Month” option to search for the cheapest month for flights based on the locations chosen.
Lack of a calendar view
Unlike flight search engines like Google Flights, Skyscanner doesn't have a calendar option that allows you to easily compare prices across different dates if you have flexible dates
Lacks flexibility when searching
Skyscanner isn't capable of showing fares across multiple dates or multiple destinations at one time. So if you want to search flights departing from New York and Philadelphia, you'd have to perform searches.
Heavy use of smaller OTAs
This one is mostly based on personal preference and research. Like Momondo, Skyscanner pulls results from smaller travel agencies that you've probably never heard of. This isn't inherently a bad thing, as these tiny agencies can sometimes offer rock bottom deals. However, they can also be less reliable or more of a pain to deal with if your travel plans were to change.
Fortunately, Skyscanner assigns star ratings to OTAs based on user feedback, making your research a bit easier.
How to use Skyscanner
To use Skyscanner, you can start your search on the open-ended side of things without needing exact dates or locations. This is one of the great things about Skyscanner. However, for the purposes of this exercise, we'll do a specific search for flights from Dallas (any airport) to Lisbon, Portugal.
STEP 1: Start with the basics
Begin on Skyscanner by entering your desired dates and a destination option in the search bar. As mentioned above, you can select a specific airport, city, country, or you can use the “Everywhere” option.
In addition to your dates, you'll also select the desired cabin and number of tickets. If you're unsure of the dates, you can choose an entire month or the “Cheapest Month” option. All of these initial options give you a ton of flexibility in searching for the best and/or cheapest flights.
STEP 2: Review and sort your results by preference
From here, you will see all the available flight results. They'll automatically be sorted initially by “Best”. However, you can choose to sort the results by other factors such as “Cheapest first” or “Fastest first.”
You can also filter results further via the filter options on the left-hand side by factors such as the number of stops, departure times, specific airlines, and more.
STEP 3: Buying flights through Skyscanner
Once you see a flight that works for you, click “Select” and you will be taken to the checkout page, either on an OTA or airline's website, where the specific flight was found. Skyscanner will quickly check to make sure the deal is still available. From there, you can continue booking your cheap flight. Simple as that!
Skyscanner features and tips
Skyscanner also has a few other features you can use while searching to help you narrow down your options even more to find the very best flights to suit your needs.
Calendar + Cheapest Month options
Before you begin your search, decide if you are flexible with dates. If so, you can search across entire months or select the “Cheapest Month” option that we mentioned above to widen your search results for the cheapest options for your desired destination.
Another option, after you've begun your search results, is to use Skyscanner's calendar option to find the cheapest dates. To do this, click the “Show whole month” option in the upper left-hand corner. A colorful calendar will appear with estimated price ranges for specific dates on the calendar. While these prices are not exact like Google Flights, you can easily get an idea of what dates might be cheaper options for your flight.
One of our favorite unique features of Skyscanner is the “Explore everywhere” feature. You can choose this from the main screen where you first enter your search criteria. It will pull up a list of destinations all over the world that you can fly to from the “From” location you originally chose.
For example, if I live in Los Angeles, I can input “Los Angeles” in the “From” box and “Everywhere” in the “To” box and the list will show me the prices of flights to locations all over the world from Los Angeles. You can click the “down arrow” next to any option to see more specific cities or airports.
Skyscanner allows you to set up price alerts with any desired email address to get notifications when new flight options pop up or when cheaper pricing becomes available for your desired flight path.
When you click the “Price Alerts” button you will be prompted to enter the email address where you want to receive alerts. This is a solid bonus feature with Skyscanner that keeps you from having to manually search every single day for your desired trip.
BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.