In preparation for my trip to Eastern Europe, I have been figuring out roughly how much it’s going to cost for airfare, before fees. I’m landing in mid to late May, so I’ll be just missing the highest-peak of airline prices, but I’m not quit close enough to get any of the low-peak cost benefits. So I wasn’t expecting to find any killer prices.
I decided to test three main factors, which were cities, airport, and most important for this article, search engines. I wanted to share my results with you for each search, to show you how big of a price difference that you can get from engine to engine,and why it’s important to use as many as possible.
I then tested three different airports. Since I live in Traverse City, which is huddled far into northern Michigan, I’m not close to many airports. So two of the three would take a few hours of driving and a price difference of a 100 USD doesn’t help me much for the headache and price of gas.
Then for the search engines I tested, I ran all the ones in the travel resources page and clicked the search engines ‘compare with’ options, to reach as many search engines as possible. When I did this, I always started on a Monday and ended on either a Wednesday or Friday, said that my hours were flexible, and on the ones that I was allowed to, I said my dates were flexible as well. I did this as a control factor for my experiment, plus it’s much cheaper to fly during the week and early morning than any other time.
Here were the results for Traverse City:
Now bear with me for the colors (I’m color blind), so if I get them wrong, don’t hate me! The blue color signals the best value for the search with the specific city versus each search engine. The green (I think?) is the best value out of all three airports.
If you look at the price, I’ll use Warsaw as an example, it would cost over 3,600 USD for a flight through Airfare and Kayak, but only 1,209 USD through Orbitz. The price is even more drastic when you look at the difference between Airfare’s price of 5,970 USD compared to Momondo’s 1,269 USD. It’s pretty obvious who won this overall, Momondo.
If I wanted to fly through Flint, this is what it would cost me:
I would just like to start by saying that once again, Momondo has won. The prices are looking pretty good overall, but for driving four hours southeast, it’s not really worth it. Again, we see some big price variations, but nothing compared to Traverse because Flint has a larger airport.
Lastly, let’s take a look at Detroit:
Again, Momondo wins all the brownie points and if you didn’t guess, the yellow means the best deal. Overall, the prices are a little bit better than Flint, but not by much. I think that Detroit may be the best value and save me about a 150 USD after gas and may even have fewer fees than Traverse.
The obvious winner here is Momondo with a knockout punch. There are many things that I love about Momondo, but the biggest is that it tells you the cheapest days to fly for each flight and that is priceless. If I would have played around with that feature, these prices may have even dropped another 100 USD – if not more.
I still advocate that you test every search engines you can find for the best deal, since there were some variations, especially at the smaller airport. If you would like to try it out, you can head to my Travel Resources page and click on all the search engines and type in a random destination to see the variations for yourself and how they stack up with other places than Eastern Europe.
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