Coolest feature: Flex watch, which allows you to be as vague (or specific) in your flight search as you want. For example, if you’re super flexible with dates and destinations, type in “anytime, anywhere” and wait to see what pops up. Or, if you want to go see your new nephew in Brooklyn -- at some point -- search “New York, next few months.”
We love Hopper because it gives us a heads up about which cities around the world will have dropping airfares in the coming month. It does this with maddening levels of research, analyzing price data from millions of flights to figure out what’ll be cheap in the coming weeks. You can sign up for alerts for your chosen dates and destination, and Hopper lets you know when prices are dropping and whether to book now or wait longer.
Coolest feature: The industrial-fishing-boat-sized net it casts over the world, using more than 600 sources to find flights -- about triple what traditional search engines use.
Momondo is the internet’s friendly local who stands on the corner directing hapless tourists asking for nothing in return. The site actually doesn’t sell anything, and has no affiliation with airlines or other travel partners. Out of its altruistic heart it searches tiny regional airlines, international budget carriers, and other small outlets the big boys don’t. Then it comes up with the cheapest fares a staggering 95% of the time. You can’t book through Momondo, but it does give you a handy booking link. Karafin said that, on average, she finds flights there to be $10-15 cheaper.
Coolest feature: Finding airfare loopholes, including “hidden cities flights," when you book a ticket with a connection in your final destination -- just ditch the back half of that flight. In the Wonka Land that is airfare pricing, it’s often cheaper.
Aktarer Zaman, who developed the technology behind Skiplagged, was actually sued by United Airlines at age 22 for exposing their ludicrous pricing schemes, where a flight from Miami to LA with a stop in Chicago was cheaper than a nonstop from MIA to O’Hare. The suit was thrown out, and the era of “hidden city’ flight shopping was born. Airlines hate it, and if you’re checking a bag or trying to rack up frequent flier miles, it won’t work. But on some routes, savings can literally be hundreds of dollars.