The reason why finding the best airfare price might require using more than one flight search engine is because although many of the best flight search engines are owned by the same parent companies, they don’t all incorporate the same airlines in their searches. If the airline with the cheapest airfare isn’t being included in the airfare comparison search, then naturally the cheapest airfare won’t be returned in the results. This is why using more than one flight comparison site when looking for the best price is always advised as one of the ways to get the most out of your travel dollars.
Below are my search results for the flight I wanted from Bangkok, Thailand to Shenzhen, China.
And finally, the best flight search engine price of $282 Canadian. Of course, if I would have booked my flight from Winnipeg to Thailand with this flight in mind, I could have gotten a flight to Shenzhen for under $200 earlier in November (now gone), but as my booking dates to Thailand were not changeable without a huge fee, this was the best I could find for my dates.
Not to be deterred, I started looking into flights from other cities that I wanted to visit on my trip to Asia, like Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam. Since I hadn’t planned on going to China for at least a few more years, and only recently booked this trip to Thailand as a result of a “airline error fare” I saw a few days ago, I wasn’t aware of how close Hong Kong was to Shenzhen. They are basically the same city, only separated by different border controls, a fact a friend pointed out when I was telling him about my trip and my plans to head to Shenzhen for a weekend. So, with that information in mind, I began looking into flight prices to Hong Kong.
Under $200, this looks like the clear winner. Of course I’d still need to get to Saigon, and timing could be tight considering I arrive in Bangkok on Tuesday, I want to leave Friday for Hong Kong, and a no complications overland trip from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City takes 2 days and a night according to seat61.com (www.seat61.com/Cambodia.htm#Bangkok-Saigon)
So in the end I booked a flight to Ho Chi Minh City from Bangkok for $75 as well. This still ends up cheaper than the original cheap ticket of $282, and I get to save a couple days travel and roughly $40 to $60+ in overland travel expenses. After all buses and food for 2 days aren’t free.
Another point to take note of is that even though one travel site may offer the cheapest overall flight, you may not like the schedule of the flight. In the pics above for example, while momondo offers a cheaper overall flight than Google of $300 vs $302 for the flight departing at 3:30 am. If you wanted to take the flight departing at 7:05pm you would be better off booking through the Google Flights link as it is only $318 at Google compared to $330 at momondo. Something to think about when booking your flight.
In closing, the money you pay the airlines for your flight is money you won’t have to spend on your vacation. As cheap a deal as you may believe you are already getting on your trip, it’s important as a frugal traveler to check more than one of the best flight search engines to make sure you are squeezing all the money you can out of your airline ticket price. The more cash you save on your airfare, means more cash to spend on your actual vacation or backpacking adventure, and that’s a good thing!