Quick Guide to Google Flights and Momondo
Most of the email deals I send out tend to take travellers through a quick progression to identify the exact fare for them. For this I primarily utilise two handy tools: Google Flights and Momondo.
Why and how to use Google flights?
Google flights has the best (and usually most updated) calendar tool to search through flight availability by date and price, as offered by the major airlines and a few select large booking agents (those who can afford to advertise on Google, like Expedia and eDreams).
I tend to use their back-end flight matrix for in-depth searched, but on most fares, I will often send subscribers here to identify the cheapest travel dates to match their schedule, like so:
Using the Google flights calendar tool, you can get a good idea of what dates offer the best value (in green).
Once you’ve decided on and selected the ideal departure and return dates, you will then be taken to a window similar to this one (below) where you can see the various fares for these dates as offered by Google flights:
From here, you may select your preferred airline and route option, and will then be taken to the final window displaying the route you’ve selected:
And the prices as offered directly by the airline and a select few major travel agencies:
At this point, you have two options. Either select one of the options above and book directly with the airline or large OTA (online travel agency) or continue on to check Momondo for a lower price. Here are some pros and cons of booking directly vs Momondo
Advantages of booking directly with the airline:
- More flexibility should your travel plans change (lower change fees and flight cancellation options)
- In special situations, some airlines will look after full fare customers first (rare occurrence)
Advantages of moving onto Momondo.co.uk:
- Momondo’s search engine will almost always find a cheaper fare for the flight dates you have selected (sometimes only £30 cheaper, sometimes over £500 cheaper)
- Momondo will sometime list routes not available on Google Flights
What is Momondo.co.uk and how to use it?
Momondo is a powerful flight fare comparison tool which searches through dozens of online booking agencies for the cheapest possible fare. In this regard, it is not unlike Skyscanner or Kayak. However, they tend to cover many more booking agencies and therefore often come up with better options, so I choose to use their search more often than not.
Here is how to use it:
Once you have chosen your ideal travel dates by using Google Flights, you would come over to Momondo and enter the exact itinerary you selected here:
Press search and within 10-15 seconds, your results will begin to look like this:
Momondo searches through the various OTAs (online booking agents) who have offers on this price and will bring up the absolute cheapest fare. The example I’m using is not a great deal, but you can see even here the price offered by the OTAs is around £40-60 lower at minimum. At this point, I would generally pick the lowest fare and continue to book with whichever agency is offering it. If you prefer not to book with the cheapest agent, in this case Omega Flight Store, you can press ‘See details’ to see which other agents are offering fares on this flight, which will then take you to this window:
Choose the agent you’d like to book and you will be taken to their website to complete check-out. Aaaand done!
Is it safe to book with these smaller travel booking agents?
I’ve received some emails in the last few weeks with questions about whether it is safe to book with some of these less-known agencies. Here are my comments on the subject:
From my experience in using them and speaking with many fellow travellers and gurus in the industry, you will not get scammed for your money in the sense that they will take your payment and refuse to issue a ticket. This does not happen and your bank card is usually there to rescue you if it ever did occur (it won’t!). They are required to issue a ticket for the price you purchased in order to process your payment. That said, on the odd occasion they will call you within minutes to tell you that the price you booked at is “no longer available” and you must accept a refund or accept a higher fare. If that does occur, do not panic, accept the refund, and simply go on to book with another agent.
How can the smaller agents offer cheaper fares than the airlines or Expedia?
These smaller travel agencies (OTAs) are able to offer cheaper fares because they make their money in other ways (and don’t pay for expensive adverts on television!)
If you book through an agent and need to change your fare, they will charge you an additional, often hefty, change fee in addition to what the airline charges for the change. Their customer service is also often lacking and they tend to be less flexible with cancellations and other issues. It’s not pretty, but if your plans are set in stone and you don’t intend on making changes, you should not run into any issues.
If you still have more questions, feel free to send me a note on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer.