Once upon a time, a long, long time ago – like two years ago – there existed a fun mileage running tool on Farecompare.com. It allowed you to plug in a starting city and define regions of the world that you were interested in flying to, then display a long list of flights in order of cpm (cents per mile). This was perfect for the mileage runner who was looking for a fare from thier home city to wherever as long as it was cheap. This site disappeared over a year ago with a promise that it would return, but “soon” has stretched into an eternity. I missed spending free time plugging in my home city and seeing what the possibilities were. To be fair, there were a lot of “false positives”, that is, there were fares advertised which you could then never find on an airlines or other booking site.
Now, finally there is a sort-of replacement. I was tipped off to www.skyscanner.com by Scott McCartney who writes the Middle Seat column for the Wall Street Journal. You can go stright to the site to use it or download an App that has most of the features. The great thing about this App is that allows you to plug in your departing city and then leave the destination as “Everywhere”.
This then lists a list of the chaepest fares they could find to various continental destinations. Click on the continent/ country and it will further list cheapest fares for different cities. Be warned that you will need to have passed high school geography and even then may need some help in recognizing cities in thier native tongue. It will also make you smack your forehead sometimes. I live in Honolulu and started there. I was excited to see a low fare to the U.S. for $115, only to find out the fare was to Molokai! Fair enough, dumb old me.
Find something interesting and then boil it down to a specific month. In this case I chose Aruba in JAN/ FEB
I admit the days which show a little down arrow are annoying. Click on that date and Skyscanner will show you details of fares for that date, but I don’t get why some dates show the fares and other do not. Maybe they will improve this in the future.
One of the things I really like is that you can do all of the above on your iPhone (and presumably other smart phones although I am not going to attempt this on my commander’s BB) and spend idle time looking for good fares wherever you happen to be. On the iPhone app it even has a cool little globe which turns and reveals low fares around the planet although I could not get many of the countries to display a price unless I clicked on thier down arrow symbol. Try this free app and have fun with it.
One last note is back to the original to and the “false positives” that I got on FareCompare. With this app, you can proceed directly to the booking site that Sky Scanner got the fare from. Many times this will be from a flight aggregator site. To explain further, flight aggregators are companies that go out and buy, say 20, seats on a flight from an airline and then try to resell them at a higher price to you or me. Deals can be had when the aggregator cannot sell all their tickets and then dump them at a discount price to the public. What this results in is that the fare displayed on the Sky Scanner site may not match the same flight as shown on your airline’s site. I have found the fares to be both higher and lower than the airline’s site. The warning I have about buying from the aggregator’s site, as opposed to the airline’s, is that you have less recourse should you need to change the flight or encounter other difficulties that require a refund. You also will miss out on some bonuses such as using a United CC on the United.com site where they will give you bonus EQMs equal to the purchase price. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) if using these sites. But get this app and let me know what you think. It is far from perfect, but does give us a tool to use. One of the things that I like most is that it will often come up with a destination that you never even thought of flying to. Lots of interesting destinations out there if you just think of them!