For whatever your airfare needs may be, there is a growing corral of consumer portals for searching available flights and getting deals. Some make the experience less stress-inducing; others make it feel like a game. Search giants Google and Bing are both on the scene amongst scrappy startups with pithy names. No matter where you’re going, the best flight at the best price is at your fingertips.
You might have used Hotwire to book a room at a mystery hotel in your destination, but now GetGoing raises the stakes and applies the psychology to flights — except this time, you pick not one but two locations. The service boasts 40% discounts on airfare and is designed for cost-conscious travelers who are flexible with their destination — worth a shot for your next island escape or ski trip.
The Y-Combinator darling from Reddit’s Steve Huffman (with a cuddly mascot you wish you could take with you on the plane) popularized the idea of searching for flights by “agony,” to optimize your flight for price, length and layovers. The site design is among the best, and along with hotel search, Hipmunk recently added flight deal alerts and the ability to track an airfare by email (if you’re up to holding out on your purchase to see if the price drops).
A mobile app brought to you by the makers of CheapOair, Geneo is a mobile-only experience perfect for someone who frequently needs to book flights on-the-go. The iOS app will keep track of your search history and home airport.
Bing is a step into the future — literally. What makes the site stand out is one simple line, Bing’s “tip,” which will tell you to buy or to wait. For example, on a search today for a flight from New York to San Diego, Bing says fares will rise $50 or more and has 80% confidence. You can also filter by airline, specific airports, duration and “flight quality” — to avoid red eyes, for example.