Looking for a cheap flights? Use the information and links below to find cheap scheduled, charter, budget and last minute flights.
The internet is a great place to book cheap flights. You can quickly compare prices of no-frills, charter and scheduled flights, then make the decision that's right for you.
But the best price on your cheap flights is not the end of the story. We'll tell you what to look out for and about some hidden costs. For example, one low cost airline advertising flights to Copenhagen in Denmark actually flies you to Malmo airport in Sweden.
So read on, and then click on the links to find your cheap flights.
Where to find cheap flights
The consolidators and cheap flights specialists generally offer the cheapest flights, but a group of airlines, including BA, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Iberia, have joined together to offer cheaper flights via the Opodo web site (see below) to compete with them.
The airlines themselves sometimes offer cheap flights direct to the public - British Airways, Air France and KLM are worth a quick look, especially during quieter times of the year or if you're travelling within Europe or to New York.
One quick note before we get started looking for those elusive cheap flights - make sure you compare the price of flights including taxes. Opodo quote prices including taxes, all of the others quote pre-tax fares, adding the taxes later in the process. Why? We don't know. But make sure you are comparing the bottom line post tax-prices.
If you want a cheap scheduled flight, check the top 5. If you have more time and / or want a cheap charter flight, check the others too.
Start with a fares comparison website (or aggregator) - we like OpenJet or TravelJungle - to speed up your search. With these you enter your dates once and they compare prices across a range of airlines and websites. But bear in mind that these don't pick up every fare, and they don't include all of the companies we have included below. They do give you a good target to aim at though.
Then go to ebookers - the online store for a 'pre-dot com' telephone based cheap flights specialist - Flightbookers. The website's best feature is the cheap flights search, which is why they are a top pick. They also offer holidays, hotels, car hire and even last minute cruises, if you need anything else.
Opodo - is the web site set up by a number of leading European airlines to sell their cheap seats direct, rather than through the other sites listed here. On the home page, 'Opodo Offers' gives you a target for certain destinations and the quick search lives up to its name.
Note: remember that Opodo quote cheap flights fares including taxes very early on in the process (the 'offers' prices quoted include taxes). None of the other search engines do this, so be sure you are comparing like with like, post-tax with post-tax.
Expedia (uk) - this website gets around one million visitors a month, making expedia one of the UK's biggest online travel companies. As you would expect, it is a very good site that's always worth a look when searching for cheap flights, especially if you want a hotel too (or cheap flights, a hotel and a car). If you book a hotel and flight 'package' with expedia it can work out 20 - 30% cheaper than the cheapest prices elsewhere. They are great for packaged deals.
(But don't buy expedias insurance - which is automatically added into the quote; you have to unclick a box to exclude it. It's up to 4 times more expensive than those on our travel insurance page. Click 'already have insurance' and buy elsewhere - see our travel insurance page).
OTC - are great for long haul flights, especially to America. A favourite of regular travellers and it's easy to see why, they have a quick cheap flights search engine and some excellent prices. As with Expedia, if you need a hotel, check their city breaks section, where you can add a flight and hotel and get a discount on both.
Lastminute.com - are always worth a look if you want flights to a popular destination. A bit hit and miss though, sometimes you find great deals, sometimes you waste 5 minutes of your time.
Skydeals - is owned by Thomson Holidays, this website has a fast and efficient flights search. You can search for flights by airline or by price and the search will give results for both scheduled and charter airlines.
Travelocity - uses the SABRE reservation system used by traditional offline travel agents to search for cheap flights. It's 'Best Fare Finder' tool is great, and its 'Fare Watcher' is also a useful, if addictive, tool.
About cheap scheduled flights
(For cheap 'no frills' flights, see the separate section below).
To get the cheap scheduled flights, our best advice is to shop around and be flexible. Here we give you some advice and tips on how to get cheap flights, together with details on the best web sites to use when looking for cheap flights.
How to book cheap flights