Skyscanner in Review - The Best Flight Engine in the World?

Skyscanner in Review – The Best Flight Engine in the World?

Welcome to your first-hand review of Skyscanner. Skyscanner is one of the most popular flight search engines on this planet. It is one of the first websites in our research on how to find cheap flights. After reading this post, you will know how to use this search engine and how you can identify the cheapest flights available. All it takes is a few, simple tricks.

In this article we want to go into detail about this travel search engine and how to use it to its fullest potential. Also, we add the pros and cons – after all, nothing is perfect, and we want to share both sides.

Skyscanner started as a cool airfare search website. Hence, this is where the name is coming from: you scan the sky for deals, right?! Nowadays, they expanded to more spaces in travel. You can use it to find affordable flights, hotels, and car hire from an endless number of airlines and online travel agencies worldwide. This comprehensive site has been around for over a decade now, so it must have something going for it – right?

Let’s see what all the fuss is about!

We cover:

  1. What is Skyscanner
  2. Flight Search Engine
    • Round-trip
    • One-way
    • Multi-City
  3. How to book with Skyscanner?
  4. Extra Tip: Price Alerts
  5. Benefits
  6. Disadvantages
  7. Other Flight Search Engines we love
    1. Kiwi
    2. Google Flights
    3. Omio
  8. Easy Hotel Bookings with Skyscanner
  9. Hassle-Free Car Rental
  10. Get COVID Travel Info
  11. Get Travel Insurance Quotes
  12. Other Booking Platforms we love
  13. Customer Service
  14. Summary

This article is part of our big travel guides category. Here we cover everything from how to avoid common traveler mistakes to honest reviews for travel products and even airlines like Qatar Airways.

1. What is Skyscanner?

Skyscanner is the world’s best flight, hotel, and car hire search engine. It has everything you need to find your perfect travel deal – whether you’re looking for a last-minute getaway or planning a trip months in advance.

The website does not only offer searching for flights anymore.

With its user-friendly interface, Skyscanner makes it easy to compare hundreds of flights from airlines worldwide at any time of day, so you can quickly find the cheapest fares and grab them before they sell out!

Fact: Skyscanner and Kiwi are the first two websites we open when searching for cheap flights. More on this later.

Today, Skyscanner also makes it simple to compare hotels and car hire from all the major providers. Skyscanner’s “intelligent search” means you’ll only see results that match your specific criteria – no more searching through out-of-date listings or irrelevant options!

In this review of Skyscanner we are more focused on the flights than the other aspects. First, we will cover this part: finding flights from A to B and even to C and D. After this, we go into detail about booking hotels and car deals on Skyscanner – and whether that makes sense or not.

Find cheap Flights with Skyscanner

Skyscanner in Review - The Best Flight Engine in the World?

Skyscanner itself has a big site pointing out their advantages and reason to use them. These are:

  • Get the best price
  • Fare’s fair (“We show you results from a huge number of airlines and online travel agents. Travelers are at the heart of what we do, so we’ll remove providers from Skyscanner if we believe they aren’t doing the right thing by you.”) – original quote from their site
  • Just go (even on the go)
  • See who’s tried and trusted
  • No pressure
  • Find a place to stay
  • Hit the road happy – car rentals
  • Expert tips and tricks
  • Travel with a conscience (‘Greener choice’ label, which highlights the flights that emit less CO2)
  • Your data, your choice

2. One of a kind Flight Searcher

Skyscanner has every kind of travel option available, whether you’re looking for a cheap flight or a five-star hotel in New York City. It is easy to navigate, making it a breeze to find what you want.

Skyscanner really does have everything covered when it comes to finding travel deals online. It doesn’t matter where you are going, either – Skyscanner works with flights coming into over 500 airports around the world. Later in this article, we will tell you how you can use it to get the best possible deals. So, stay right here with us.

 

Skyscanner Review

Looking for flights on Skyscanner, you can search for:

  • Round-trip (most common)
  • One-way trip (very common for digital nomads)
  • Multi-city trip

To use Skyscanner, you need to go to the website and put in your departure or arrival airport. Like any travel website really.

You choose a date or a date range if it is not already selected for you. I usually use the cheapest dates available unless it’s last-minute, then I can change my search parameters accordingly. 

Skyscanner will give you all a massive amount of the airlines that fly out from your place with their prices, flight times and what they offer on food, etc. Keep in mind, great flights are not just about price, but also about what is offered along the way, the service like food and departure time, lay-overs and more.

Want to give it a try? Just type in your city and choose “anywhere” to see first deals.

 

Did you notice we scratched the ALL airlines? It is true: Skyscanner does not cover all airlines in the world. More on our disadvantages.

Let’s check out an example for finding cheap flights.

Multi-City Trip with Skyscanner

I am sure you can already imagine what this feature does. You can plan your route with different destinations.

For instance, I was looking for this trip:

  • Paris > Barcelona (staying 4 days in BCN)
  • Barcelona > Rome (staying 4 days in Rome)
  • Rome > Paris (coming back to Paris)

Instead of doing this research step-by-step, Skyscanner offers me this planning tool.

The site combines for me flights from all the airlines in the world. In the case of my trip, I would fly with Vueling, Ryanair operated by Malta Air. You see, it saves me lots of time to do this research.

The filters show me the following Airlines with prices:

  • Air Europa – $986
  • Air France – $3,550
  • Austrian Airlines – $1,092
  • Brussels Airlines – $1,909
  • Iberia – $698
  • KLM – $566
  • Lufthansa – $908
  • SWISS – $1,089
  • Airline combinations – $382

Multi City Flights with Skyscanner: Paris to Barcelona to Rome

I can use the following filters to narrow down my search:

  • Stops (for instance only direct connections or lay-overs)
  • Flexible Tickets (only show airlines with flexible tickets)
  • COVID-19 Safety rating (this one I personally find odd – not sure what this is based on, I could not find any info here)
  • Departure Times (for each airport you added)
  • Total Duration
  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • Greener Flights (only show flights with lower CO₂ emissions)
Filters on Skyscanner when searching for Flights
Filters on Skyscanner when searching for Flights

Once you set all your filters, you can go deeper and actually check your final rates/ deals. In the screenshot below you see I could start off with Vueling – it only differs in departure time really.

The first deal shows $402 and the 2nd deal is only $12 more. In this case, I would focus more on departure time. The 2nd flight with EasyJet is leaving late at 8.20pm – I prefer this over the super-early-catch-the-bird-flight at 6:45am. I would consider this very good $12 spent…

Comparing Prices for your Flights on Skyscanner

On that note, how about a great explanation video on Skyscanner? Youtuber and Vlogger Road Jess Traveled created her own big review of Sky scanner and how to book with it.

3. How to book with Skyscanner?

Now that I’ve made my choice, how do I book? How do I get this deal sealed?

These are typical questions.

Do I book with Skyscanner, with someone else? Which payment options do they offer?

Simply put: you do not make a booking with Skyscanner. The site is NOT a booking engine, it sends you to other websites to finish your reservation.

When I click on the big, green-ish button that says “Select“, Skyscanner takes me either directy to the booking site or to a summary page (multi-city flights).

Here it shows me the options to book with the following sites:

Important: You can NOT book directly with Skyscanner. Same as Hostelgeeks.com, this site is not a booking platform. They are an aggregator.

Read: our complete review on Kiwi.com – when to use it and when to skip

How to book with Skyscanner?

For two-and one-way flights, it sends me directly to the booking engine. Have a look at the two screenshots below.

The first screenshot shows skyscanner double-checking the rate/ price and if it is still available for you. From a technical perspective, this is very interesting. My assumption is, they do this since many users take actually a long-time to click. This way they have a fallback and can you let know in case the deal has gone or the price went up.

Skyscanner double-checks if your price is still available - interesting!
Skyscanner double-checks if your price is still available – interesting!

Right after this screen, it took me to the following one, see screenshot. This one shows the regular referring page. So basically:

I have found my ticket with Skyscanner >>> They take me to Kiwi.com (in this case) >>> Now I complete my booking with Kiwi.com

Thank you, almost there...Skyscanner sending me over to Kiwi.com

4. Extra Tip: Price Alerts

One of my big money-saver tips is: Create a new Price Alert!

If you are not in a hurry or need a very specific flight, this tool is a massive money-saver.

Simply create an account with your email, facebook, google account or apple and set up your price alert. You can set several price alerts for different destinations. It is completely free!

I do the same actually with my Kiwi account.

Set your Price Alerts with Skyscanner

Extra Tip: Price Alerts with Skyscanner be a huge money-saver

5. What are the benefits of using Skyscanner?

Skyscanner is a website that helps you find the cheapest flights. Just go to Skyscanner.com and try it for 30 seconds. You will notice it’s power immediately.

I booked my flight to New York with the help of Skyscanner and found it was cheaper than other websites like Expedia or Kayak.

Another big plus is the big database of flights. Although it does not cover all, it covers what feels like 99% of flights worldwide.

I absolutely love the multi-city feature. It helps frequent and long-term travelers to simple travel when it is cheaper and connect cities.

Many websites have as well the feature of “cheapest month“. Whilst this is pretty much standard nowadays, it is such a good tool to have.

You could use Skyscanner nowadays as well to book hotels, car rental and even your travel insurance. Personally, I never used Skyscanner to book a hotel or car rental. I find other websites more useful. Useful may not be the right word. Somehow I got used to using skyscanner for my flights – not the accommodation or even insurance quotes.

The websites I usually use and love are Booking.com directly, Hostelworld and even better Hostelz.com. Hostelz.com is a hostel price comparison website.

Since you are reading this review of Skyscanner on Hostelgeeks.com, it is pretty natural that we love and stay at cool hostels. Check out our 5 Star Hostels here.

The best part about using Skyscanner is that they email me when prices drop for my desired destination. This again, is the price alert I highly recommend.

The famous low-budget Airline Ryanair in Europe - you find their flights on Skyscanner
The famous low-budget Airline Ryanair in Europe – you find their flights on Skyscanner

6. Disadvantages of Skyscanner

Ohhhh ohh, we are here: The disadvantages and cons that come with using Skyscanner. Well, no. Fortunately, we are picky here and there is no red flag when it comes to using Skyscanner.

Let us have a closer look:

  1. Not all airlines and flights are covered
  2. Does not work offline
  3. No promo codes
  4. Too many ads
  5. Interface sometimes too full

1. Not all flights and airlines are covered

First things first: Skyscanner does not cover all airlines and all flights in the world!

Even the famous Google Flights does not do this. Why is this? Well, basically Skyscanner is connected through so-called APIs to the airlines and networks. If an airline does not add their flight to the API, it won’t appear in Skyscanner. I know, this is very technical.

Unfortunately, I did not find an official list of what airlines Skyscanner does not cover. Out of my personal experience I know, Skyscanner did not once cover Emirates flights from Mexico to Europe. They also did not cover Lion Air, a low-budget Airline from Indonesia.

2. Does not work offline

This is very obvious, but Skyscanner cannot be used offline. It won’t help you in times of no internet connection (e.g., when flying) if your phone loses signal or the service is unavailable for some other reason. I know, this is a pretty obvious fact. I mean, it literally pulls the data live from the internet for your search. Still, we thought it important to remind you!

3. No Promo Codes

We could also not find any coupons or promo codes. When searching for “Skyscanner discount code”, you won’t find any discounts. It is not a big deal, but we wanted to mention this. Please avoid those sites and discount codes, they will not work. With websites like Kiwi.com there are some promotional codes once in a while. Keep up to date with our newsletter. Here we share special promo codes for travel companies and hostels.

4. Too many ads

When searching for flights, they run ads on the right sidebar. Some of those ads are flashy and distracting.

5. Interface sometimes too full

Last but not least, the interface could be cleaner, more simple. The filters are fantastic, the search engine on top is wonderful. But after this, it gets crowded. I feel it could be a bit cleaner so I have less choices to click on. I am certain they have their layout optimized for the user to find their flights, still it sometimes feels too much.

As you can see, those are not massive no-gos. I am being quite picky here and there is not a single red flag.

And BTW: What would be a red flag to use a website?

A red flag would be no information on the internet about the site you are about to use. If you would like to use any site (for travel or whatsoever), then do a quick research. There are many review-sites that allow users to review anything. Do a quick check before purchasing anything.

Read my tips on how to stay safe online and offline here.

7. Other Flight Search Engines we love and use

As mentioned, there are obiovusly more websites we use to find cheaper flights. I always recommend searching more than one site; whatever happens. There are a lot of bad, scammy websites out there. In case you find a new site, you are not familiar with, check the internet for real reviews.

In our case, here are the other websites we use to find and book flights:

7.1. Kiwi.com – to find and book

Skyscanner also refers you to the famous website Kiwi.com. They are a flight search engine as well as a booking platform. They handle the payments for you. Sign up and you access as well the options to set price alerts.

As said, this is so useful!

In our review about Kiwi, we have received many complaints that Kiwi is a scam. If Kiwi.com is a scam, why do the biggest travel sites in the world link and refer to them?

We personally used Kiwi.com for our own flights. You can read all about it in our complete review of Kiwi.com.

Check out Kiwi.com here

kiwi flight engine search: select an area

7.2. Google Flights

Google Flights covers the biggest range of airlines. While this is great, please remember, even the magical Google Flights does not not cover all airlines in the world. I had to take a flight from Mexico to Spain, Google Flights did not show flights with Emirates.

Why? I do not know this.

But always keep this in mind. Always compare websites!

7.3. Omio

This one is actually the youngest one in this list: Omio.com.

You can compare flights, trains and buses. It is a super fantastic tool to find transport, especially over Europe.

“All your travel options in one place
More than 1,000 trusted travel partners across trains, buses, flights, ferries, and airport transfers, so that you can focus on the journey.”

– Quote from the official website

Omio Travel Planner: Find Buses, Trains and Flights easily

8. Easy Hotel Bookings

Skyscanner gives more than just flights from their extensive database. You can now check hotels and other accommodation. Whether it is just a hotel room in Paris for two nights or an apartment in Barcelona for a week, they will do all of this plus guarantee to show you the lowest price. 

Skyscanner has a handy hotel search feature that you can access directly from their home page, so if you’re looking for hotels in New York, London, or Sydney, Skyscanner will find it for you quickly and easily. 

As with all good travel engines, you’ll then be able to refine your results according to what’s most important to you by specifying things like price range, star rating, etc., right up until you book.

Again, personally, I use other sites for my accommodation. I don’t really feel that Skyscanner is the best fit. Though the website and usability is great, I’d rather go and use other specialized accommodation sites.

9. Hassle-Free Car Rentals

Skyscanner also offers car rentals through Skyscanner Car Hire, which is where you can compare car hire companies like Hertz, Europcar, or Avis easily across the web (or even several at once). 

Yet again, they exanded to actually compare rentals all over the world.

Now, THIS is interesting. The world of renting a car is a pain for travelers. Hidden fees, sneaky fees and ways to make money – awww, after years of traveling, renting cars is still at the bottom of my favorite things to do when traveling.

Whether you’re looking for an airport rental desk close by or just want to rent off-site from home/work – Skyscanner will search among many suppliers so that customers get the best price possible with excellent customer service.

My favorite car rental website is Discover Cars. Here is a big review of Discover Car Rentals.

Best Car Hire in Europe
Renting a car when traveling is awesome – but the car rental services are usually awful.

10. Get COVID Travel Info

I do not like that I have to cover this; it is quite a sad topic for travelers.

We know how scared everyone was and still is when the big Covid wave hit us, but now travel restrictions are lifting all over the world. You will be amazed to know that by using Skyscanner, you can get all the travel information related to Covid.

As soon as you hit the Live Map feature on the website, you will learn about the countries under high restrictions and are not entertaining non-residents or non-nationals and which countries are under lower restrictions but still require negative Covid test proof. 

However, you can register for travel updates and get country-specific email alerts about your favorite travel destination and their Covid registrations and travel guidelines.

Check Covid Travel Restrictions here

Covid Travel Restrictions by Skyscanner - it is so useful to find relevant Corona Virus Information for travelers

11. Get Travel Insurance Quotes

Okay, you know what: travel insurance is right next to car rental on my list. I do not like this topic!

I did the leg-work however already. I wrote two excessive guides on this topic which I urge you to read:

Apart from travel info, you can also get travel insurance quotes for free by using Skyscanner. They have partnered with XCover that offers medical and travel insurance, so you can travel anywhere in the world with total peace of mind. 

Your money and health both are the responsibility of Skyscanner, as all your flight excursions and medical bills will be covered by it and XCover, just in case if you test positive for covid. But I certainly hope that you don’t get sick during your tour.

Personally, I did not test this yet. I usually go with my other favorite options World Nomads and Safetywing Insurance.

Skydiving Insurance? It was a solid idea to get a travel insurance beforehand
Jumping out of the sky on purpose in Switzerland. What a feeling!

12. Skyscanner’s Support Services

Customer service can be tricky. Not so in this case.

If you have any questions or want help booking anything on their site, there’s always someone available via live chat or email who can answer any queries you may have.

The team is friendly, approachable, and professional, so it is safe to say that Skyscanner’s support is always helpful, reliable & informative. They are constantly improving their service by listening to customer feedback, which means that you can rely on great deals and excellent aftercare.

Skyscanner’s research team works hard to ensure that all flight data is accurate, giving customers confidence when booking through them – trust me, they won’t disappoint! When you’re looking for cheap flights, Skyscanner will find them for you as it contains a vast range of flight comparison tools at their disposal, all designed to help customers travel further and cheaper.

In a nutshell, you can count on the customer service.

Important: That being said, keep in mind, you do not book directly with Skyscanner. Therefore, any cancellations or modifications of your reservations need to be done with the airline or travel agency. This is why most likely you won’t need Skyscanner customers service.

13. Other Booking Platforms we love

Before we sum up, I want to share my other favorite travel sites in the world. These sites will help you to travel safely, cheaper, longer, cooler, you name it.

13.1. Hostelworld and Hostelz

Booking hostels is pretty easy. You go to Hostelworld.com, the biggest hostel booking site on the planet and you book.

But did you know, you can actually compare hostel prices beforehand? You can use Hostelz.com to compare every single hostel in the world. You can easily save 20% per night just by using this site.

How does it work?

Hostelz.com compares prices from websites like Hostelsclub.com, Booking.com and Hostelworld. Then you get to pick the best deal and off you go.

You save money and time – basically by using this free site.

Update: You can now sign up with Hostelz.com and create a profile. Seems like they are also planning to offer discounts and special content for users only.

13.2. World Nomads and Safetywing

I have covered this already, my favorite two travel insurances in the world: World Nomads and Safetywing Insurance.

I go into detail for both sites in my articles:

13.3. World Packers

World Packers connects travelers seeking work with local volunteer programs. They list a huge selection of volunteer programs from farms to working in hostels. You can sign up at Worldpackers and find work worldwide.

This is a popular tool for long-term travelers.

Read my full review of Worldpackers here.

13.4. iVisa.com

Getting your Visa is so easy with iVisa.com. It is my first website to visit when I need to check for Visa. The site tells you as well when you do NOT need a visa.

Just type in your nationality and where you want to travel. It will do the rest. You can also get the visa through them.

I use them all the time! Of course I wrote a more detailed article on iVisa and how to use it.

13.5. Onward Ticket

Coming in at #5 is onwardticket.com

What on earth is that, you might ask? An onward ticket is a proof of a booked train, bus or airline ticket that you are leaving the country you are entering.

Meaning, for Colombia we needed to show a ticket that proves we are leaving the country again after 3 months. Onwardticket.com allows you to purchase a cheap ticket – instead of a real flight.

Here is my article explaning what is an onward ticket.

Here is our video about it. It will explain it rapidly.

Important: There are many sketchy websites out there selling scam-tickets. Read my guide before buying!!

14. Summary: Final Destination for Flight Deals

Skyscanner is an awesome site where people can save money, time, and effort when traveling by comparing up to 900 airlines, 1000 hotels & 100 car rental companies all within their website. 

Whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, there’s no need for you to go anywhere else as it helps you find the best prices for your trip.

With all my tips from above, you are now good to go and explore the world with cheaper flights – and hopefully cool hostels.

If you love hostels, check out our guide to best hostels in the world.

Do you hate hostels? Then reconsider and check our 5 Star Hostels for only 20 seconds. Give me 20 seconds to convince you that hostels can be AWESOME!

Not convinced? Than just have a quick look at The Passenger Hostel in Porto, Portugal.

Back to Skyscanner, the site aims to make travel planning easy by providing the cheapest flights out there along with comprehensive information about each airline, including baggage allowance and in-flight meal options so that users know exactly what they’re getting when booking on the search engine – total peace of mind!

Skyscanner is also free to use and does not require any personal information, making it a big hit with passengers who like to save time and money when booking their travel needs.

Over to you: What do you think?

Do you have any more questions? Did I miss something? Do you have your own experience and tips, critique?

Then please use the comment section below. I would love to hear from you and improve this article with your help.

In the meantime, safe travels and happy exploring,
The Hostelgeeks