Skyscanner and Google Flights are household names, with the former established in 2004 while the latter was founded in 2011. Apart from birthdates, is there a difference between them and which should you make your go-to when on the hunt for cheap flights?
Use the handy table below to see how they compare.
TL;DR: Our verdict
The winner: Skyscanner. There's so little between these two worldwide travel search engines but Skyscanner compares more travel element, such as car hire prices, and overall pulled up a cheaper fare in our like-for-like price search. It also sends deals newsletters and owns a blog which provides you with tips and tricks for getting the most out of your trip.
Skyscanner vs Google Flights
|Feature||Skyscanner||Google Flights||The winner|
|What can I book?|
- Car hire
- Train tickets (app only)
- Train tickets
|Can I price match?||No.||No.||Both|
|Is there lay-by or a payment plan?||No.||No.||Both|
|Any booking fees?||No.||No.||Both|
|Is there online chat?||No.||No.||Both|
|Is there a loyalty scheme?||No.||No.||Both|
|What are my payment options?||Skyscanner doesn't accept direct bookings.|
It forwards you onto a third-party website where payment options vary.
|Google Flights doesn't take bookings direct.|
It forwards you onto a third-party website with various payment options.
|Can I book round the world fares?||No.||No.||Both|
|Can I book multi-city fares?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|Any features to find the best price?|
- Price alerts
- Ability to view the cheapest prices of the month
- Search for flights to "everywhere" at best-priced fares
- Price alerts
- Destination map with flight price updates in real time
- Price graph
|Book||Search for your flight with Skyscanner||Search for your flight with Google Flights||-|
Which finds you the cheapest fare?
Skyscanner and Google Flights are both aggregators, but they can pull up different fares depending on which sites they draw their prices from. To see which hunts out the cheaper fares we make a like-for-like search with both.
We chose the same flight route and dates and hit the search button. Here's what we found:
The verdict: In this sample flight-price test, Skyscanner listed the lowest price for the same return flight $35 cheaper.
This is due to the wider breath of sources Skyscanner drew from compared to Google Flights.
You can see this in the second screenshot for each with Skyscanner listing 22 booking sites - of which the screenshot details the first few - while Google Flights only looked at two. Curious to see how much your next trip can cost?
Search for fares through Skyscanner below:
Which offers a wider range of airlines?
Both Skyscanner and Google Flights compare the prices of thousands of airlines worldwide.
The verdict: Both are neck-and-neck in this department.
Any other differences worth noting?
Google Flights has a reputation for being super-fast and while using the sites ourselves the speed at which it returns flight options is phenomenal compared to Skyscanner.
Google Flights also offers information such as how often certain flights are delayed and whether taxes or baggage are included in the displayed price. It also offers real-time data search while Skyscanner's data is cached so the price you see initially might not be the current price when you get to the booking page.
What are deals like?
Google Flights doesn't have its own deals section, it relies on its search functionality to show users the cheapest deals from third parties.
On the other hand, Skyscanner goes further to tell its customers the lowest prices from third parties, either by search or by newsletter. It also owns a blog which provides you with hot tips on how to score cheap flights and travel.
The verdict: Skyscanner publicises the deals of third parties better than Google Flights.
Who won: Skyscanner or Google Flights?
Skyscanner takes out this round with its ability to compare more travel elements, including car hire which Google Flights does not. It also came up cheaper in a like-for-like search.
Google Flights' strengths lie in its faster search and ability to deliver real-time flight prices so there are no surprises from search to the booking page.
Top Skyscanner and Google Flights deals
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