I think I speak for a lot of travel bloggers when I say that Skyscanner is one of my favourite hobbies. I have lost hours to that damn ‘Everywhere’ function. I’ve also lost a lot of money to all those times I just had to take advantage of an offer to book cheap flights.
Flight comparison sites like Skyscanner and Kayak are invaluable tools in the early stages of planning a trip somewhere. They’re a great way of finding out who flies where and at what times as well as a rough idea of how much you’re going to have to fork out. You find cheap flights, you book cheap flights then start looking forward to your holiday. What’s not to love?
But honestly my relationship with Skyscanner is often rocky at best. When you work in travel nothing inspires your inner rage quite like the ‘well actually I found these flights on Skyscanner...’ line. Because more often than not, those cheap flights you found don’t actually exist.
Sites like Skyscanner and Kayak don’t show live availability. So while those dirt cheap flights might have been a bargain a few hours, days or even weeks ago, they certainly aren’t anymore. You’ll usually find that by the time you actually come to confirm the flights the price has shot up and is now very close to the price you get booking directly with the airline.
Usually Skyscanner’s checkout page won’t take you directly to the airline’s website. The cheapest deals are usually found on third party websites. Some are pretty well-known like Opodo and Expedia, others not so much. There are plenty of horror stories out there about shady agencies cancelling flights and running off with their customers’ money, but I don’t have any concrete evidence of this. All I do know is that I would never part with my credit card and passport information on a site I wasn’t familiar with, but you might think I’m being over-cautious.
There’s no doubt in my mind that most sites are completely legit and no matter who you book with, things can and do go wrong. I would however always avoid adding an extra party to your transaction unless absolutely necessary. In case of delays, missed connections or cancellations the airline will often refer you to your travel agency to make the necessary changes to your ticket. You may have found a slightly cheaper ticket via a third party, but you might begin to regret your penny-pinching when you find yourself stranded at the airport at 3am. If you’re absolutely set on taking the cheapest deal make sure you check that the agency offers 24/7 support and check out their reviews before handing them your cash.
Ultimately it’s up to you whether or not the reward outweighs the risk. Personally peace of mind is always worth a few extra quid and I’m about as stingy as they come. I’ll stick to letting Skyscanner do the hard work for me, but I’ll always be booking directly with the airline.
This is all just my opinion though, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on flight comparison websites. Would you ever book cheap flights directly with a Skyscanner or do you have any horror stories to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!