Skyscanner Review: The Flight Comparison Engine That Could

This post was brought to you in partnership with Skyscanner, who asked me to review their website and service. This is something I was more than happy to do, as Skyscanner is actually a service I use a lot. Please note I’ll ONLY ever do a review or recommend a product that I use and have used myself in the past. All the opinions of this review, as always, are completely my own. is a solid flight aggregator search engine, and is one of the good ones I recommend in my Travel Resources section here on Active Backpacker, in fact I recently used them to help book my flights to the glorious Oktoberfest.

Let’s dive into the review…


The Concept…

In a nutshell, Skyscanner acts first and foremost as a flight comparison engine. It allows you to put in your flight route and then have them search hundreds of flights so you can find the one that best suits your needs. Essentially, it’s an excellent starting point for flight research of any kind and will give you a quick rundown on what you can expect to pay and what carriers are available on your chosen route.

Skyscanner obviously makes money by referring you, the valuable customer, directly to the airline or booking company. They do not handle the physical booking of the flights itself.

I just like to think of them as a modern age phone book specifically for flights.

The Website…

I like their homepage, it’s simple and smooth. Simple makes important things pop.

You’re met with a search box so you can start your flight research straight away.

Although, a good place to start is actually with the “Change” link along the top, where you can choose your relevant language and currency.


How To Book: Showcasing My Own Flight Booking

So Trudy and I want to book some flights from our upcoming trip to New York into t’eh‘ (see what I did there) lands of Canada, Ottawa (did you know it was the capital?) to be precise.

So of course once I input the basic information like New York to Ottawa for 2 people on the 19th December, we get to the meaty stuff. A plethora of flighty options will start populating your screen as it searches loads of flight providers for you:

Once this has completed, you can begin looking for the flight that is best going to suit your needs.

There are a number of options to help you narrow this down, price being the most important for backpackers like us, obviously!

However, whilst I do like a low price, for a flight that equates to under an hour and a half, I don’t want to be switching planes and making a stop over to save $50.

Therefore the first thing I do is untick the 1 stop and 2 stops + buttons so I’m only looking at direct flights, then I can compare the prices between stopping over and flying direct. If it’s only going to be $30 – $50 difference then I’ll generally go for the direct route.

The list will sort by price lowest to highest by default, but there are other ways to sort the list. You can sort by operator, journey time, route, stops and more.

In our scenario booking a flight between NYC and Ottawa, once I sorted the flights by direct, the lowest option was offered by United for $199 per person. The next best option price wise was for AirCanada at $219.

Obviously we went for the United option! Once we chose the time and the flight we wanted (there were three leaving that day), SkyScanner’s job was almost done.

Once you hit the book button it will pop up a window with extra flight details. Then you hit “Book” once more and Skyscanner redirects you to the company or booking engine that is offering the deal.

Now we landed on the official website of United airlines where we could complete our booking. The price quotes by Skyscanner didn’t change and there were no surprises.

However, it is important to remember Skyscanner is just a comparison engine. They don’t do any actual bookings or handle customer service for the flights. All they do is re-direct you to the website where you can physically make the booking. Now the advantages of this is that it allows them to have a huge directory of carriers and flight routes.

We encountered no problems using Skyscanner when booking our flight from NYC to Ottawa, it does what it is meant to do very well and I absolutely recommend the service as a first port of call when it comes to flight research.

4 Responses to “Skyscanner Review: The Flight Comparison Engine That Could”

  1. We (well…Jason… he does all our flight bookings) use Skyscanner exclusively to search for flights. It is the best aggregator out there. I love how it can graph the cost of flights over a number of days – it’s how we pick when to fly as we can see exactly when prices are going to rise, or fall.

  2. Chantal says:

    I found Skyscanner was one of the few English language engines that could decently handle flights within Asia, including more “obscure” airports and low-cost airlines there. If you use bigger websites like Expedia, they may not be able to get you to that smaller airport or only show you the high-price full-service airlines. I don’t want to even see the option of paying 300 euros for a one-way between Hong Kong and Xiamen (a one-hour flight) with China Airlines when I know the regular fare price is 120 with the local low-cost Dragon Airlines, and potentially even cheaper if I can get a deal. And that’s what I’m looking for after all, a deal!

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