Who and what is Skyscanner?
Skyscanner is a global travel search site which has been around since 2003, in the early days of online travel bookings.
With nearly eight hundred staff spread across offices from Barcelona to Beijing to Singapore. Their financial backers include well known names from a variety of countries and in addition, Skyscanner has formed partnerships with over six hundred providers of travel associated products.
Although Skyscanner is a global company, it feels local as their products are available in over 30 languages and 70 currencies.
They are not a booking site. Once you’ve identified what you want, they send you off to make the booking yourself either directly with the provider, or through a third party offering the price you want.
That they offer
What they do is aggregate all the flights / hotels / car hire options in their data base to match your search criteria and give you the best option so you can save on the essentials of travelling when you book. Even better, it’s free and unbiased – they range your choices starting from the least expensive to make it easier to choose.
You can book your flights, hotels & car hire either on your desktop or by using the appropriate free app.
How do I use it?
- Download the app you require, or all three – they have one each for flights, hotels and car hire, available for Apple or Android, or
- open the Skyscanner website in your browser
- register an account,
- look for the best prices in your preferred category
- if you find a price you like, follow the links and book straight away
- if you don’t find what you want but believe you can get a better deal by waiting, you can set up an alert
Does it work as promised?
As the ET crew are planning to visit Penang at the end of July for the George Town Festival 2016, we decided to catch the ETS train up from Kuala Lumpur and fly back through the KL city airport in Subang. This airport has at least two airlines offering flights on this route, with ticket prices which fluctuate within quite wide margins depending on time of day, day of the week and how far out you’re looking. So it was a good candidate for our test given that the date we want is almost three months away.
Ticket prices the day we first looked ranged upward of MYR129, but it is possibly to find them as low as a third of that, so two of us set up separate flight alerts.
Curiously, one of us received an alert email on 9th May with an offer of MYR50, but this didn’t arrive in the writer’s inbox until the 10th, and by that time, our preferred flight was not still available for that price although the other flight times were. Fortunately, we placed the booking direct with Firefly on the strength of the first alert.
Assessment – apart from the difference in time of receiving the alerts, Skyscanner was easy to use and made life much easier not having to keep checking to get the best price.
What ET liked best
I could choose my local currency, which makes booking so much easier as conversion rates really mess with your calculations.