Thankfully when I was asked to review Skyscanner’s app I was already using the iPhone version to search for flights on the go. It’s also available, free, in Android, Windows 8 and Blackberry flavours.
From its Apple app store page Skyscanner’s flight search app claims to be “the most flexible and powerful flight search app in the world”, I wasn’t holding out much hope as some flight search apps leave a lot to be desired.
Those familiar with Skyscanner will know that they don’t actually sell flights but try to find the cheapest deal via your desired route. Users are redirected to airline or travel agents websites to purchase their flight tickets. It’s a good way to save you from having to trawl around multiple websites trying to find the cheapest flights on offer for a destination.
Let’s face it searching for flights online can often be a painful experience so the thought of using a mobile app isn’t really that appealing. I was looking for an app that would keep it simple whilst retaining enough functionality to get the job done. The first time I used the app I was certainly impressed with the unique way they presented information for the user.
The apps design is pretty slick and you can tell that much thought has been put into the mobile experience; you only have to use the date picker to see that simplicity is key to creating a successful app. You can switch the date picker to a spinner rather than a calendar view within the settings but the default setup is pretty straight forward. The experience is so easy to use, it’s actually preferable to that or most flight search based full-blown websites, which says a lot about the app.
A welcome feature of the app is that it automatically saves your recent searches in order so that you don’t have to populate the search criteria all over again.
On top of this handy feature you can also click the star icon to save searches as your favourites. The difference between the two is that ‘recent searches’ won’t save all of your searches just the latest ones. It’s simple functionality like saving your recent searches that add to the over ease of use and leads to an enjoyable experience rather than a frustrating one that is quite common with search focused sites and apps.
The results display much as you’d expect from Skyscanner, prices are clearly highlighted and the usual sorting options by departure/return takeoff and landing, price, airline and duration are all available.
Filtering flights is a pretty straightforward affair consisting of tweaking the number of stops, duration of the flight, departure and return times and airlines.
You can filter by providers with mobile-optimised booking sites, so that you can easily book straight from your phone. It’s another simple yet effective touch.
Skyscanner’s chart feature is extremely useful. It gives the user a view of prices for days either side of the ones currently selected. This makes it very easy to see if there are any cheaper options for departing or returning on slightly different dates. I tested it out on a few flights to South Africa from London and was surprised to find out how much I could actually save if I booked flights a couple of days either side.
Explore the map
The app also lets you browse for flights via a map selecting your departure location and then selecting your destination. This feature gives you an idea of how much it could cost to flight to an alternative destination in case you are flexible with your journey.
Overall the Skyscanner app is pretty impressive. It’s simple, easy to use and delivers exactly what you’d expect and a little bit more. I was impressed that they managed to retain great usability whilst adding some extra settings and functionality such as the charting feature and mobile optimized site settings. The way the app is presented is simple and effective, advanced functionality is available but only when you need it. This allows the user to find the advanced features when necessary and doesn’t overload them with too many options from the outset. It’s a useful app for searching for cheap flights when you’re away from a computer, stuck in the airport or even on the road.
(Declaration: Travelllll.com is currently working with Skyscanner on other unrelated future projects.)
- 13 November, 2012 @ 19:34 [Current Revision] by Paul Dow
- 13 November, 2012 @ 13:46 by Lezaan Roos